Structure Side chains are independent blockchains that have a kind of "pegging mechanism", where at least one of the chains (main chain and side chain) is "aware" of the other chain and both tokens are pegged at a set ratio. Side chains need their own network security and block processing. "Child Chains" of the Ardor platform are tightly integrated into the main Ardor parent chain. All transactions are processed and secured by the parent chain forgers. This makes cross-chain transactions possible. Pruning will be enabled on child chain transactions in order to significantly reduce blockchain bloat by pruning the transactions on regular basis from the blockchain.
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Third option is to write your own blockchain protocol according to your needs. You will be able to answer all your what if questions if you design it by yourself. Ripple, Hyperledger projects (Fabric, Burrow, Indy), Corda, Multichain and most flexible and popular one Ethereum can be examples of that option. That option is the most costly and risky one. You have to invest a lot, and after you create your blockchain, you have to find people & companies to use it. Also you need to attract community of developers to upgrade, enhance your blockchain for coming requirements in the future. Above blockchains are the ones I remember immediately, also there are others.
^ Jump up to: a b c d Bhaskar, Nirupama Devi; Chuen, David Lee Kuo (2015). "3 – Bitcoin Mining Technology". In Cheun, David Lee Kuo. Handbook of Digital Currency: Bitcoin, Innovation, Financial Instruments, and Big Data. Academic Press. pp. 47–51. ISBN 978-0-12-802117-0. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016 – via ScienceDirect.

Given all of this, it may seem like private blockchains are unquestionably a better choice for institutions. However, even in an institutional context, public blockchains still have a lot of value, and in fact this value lies to a substantial degree in the philosophical virtues that advocates of public blockchains have been promoting all along, among the chief of which are freedom, neutrality and openness. The advantages of public blockchains generally fall into two major categories:
“We believe that public blockchains with censorship resistance have the potential to disrupt society, when private blockchains are merely a cost-efficiency tool for banking back offices. One can measure its potential in trillions of dollars, the other in billions. But as they are totally orthogonal, both can coexist in the same time, and therefore there is no need to oppose them as we can often see it.” 

Write permissions are kept centralized to one organization. Read permissions may be public or restricted to an arbitrary extent. Example applications include database management, auditing, etc. which are internal to a single company, and so public readability may in many cases not be necessary at all. In other cases public audit ability is desired. Private blockchains are a way of taking advantage of blockchain technology by setting up groups and participants who can verify transactions internally. This puts you at the risk of security breaches just like in a centralized system, as opposed to public blockchain secured by game theoretic incentive mechanisms. However, private blockchains have their use case, especially when it comes to scalability and state compliance of data privacy rules and other regulatory issues. They have certain security advantages, and other security disadvantages (as stated before).
Developers and Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been looking at expanding Bitcoins functionality as mainstream adoption increases. Side chains would increase the resilience of Bitcoin: If one of the sidechains was to be compromised, only the Bitcoins on that chain would be lost, while other sidechains and the Blockchain would continue like normal. This would further stabilize the Bitcoin network and increase security.
As RSK plans to host all types of clients and smart contracts: financial industry players, educational institutions, large importing companies, government and individuals, which means they are full on attack mode on Ethereum’s business model. There are endless opportunities within a market with unlimited potential and we could now see a first real competitor for Ethereum, that has a big hashrate, secure network, safer environment for developers, much higher throughput and solved scalability issues.
@gendal I am discussing private chains with prospects, so my interest is not superficial and theoretical. I see the benefits for the organization in using the private chain as another form of internal database, with better security properties. It can also be used where a service bus product would be today, to facilitate integration, conformance, monitoring, audit. Private chain can also, via a two way peg, be connected to the main chain, achieving a form of public/private network divide that routers created for us in the early stages of the Internet development. Anything else on the benefits side that I missed?
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In simple terms, public blockchains can receive and send transactions from anybody in the world. They can also be audited by anybody, and every node has as much transmission power as any other. Before a transaction is considered valid, it must be authorized by each of its constituent nodes via the chain’s consensus process. As long as each node abides by the specific stipulations of the protocol, their transactions can be validated, and thus add to the chain

Private blockchains, or as I like to call them, shared databases, have a place in improving efficiency for financial institution for back-office settlement processes. They should not be seen as controversial, or part of some dialectic struggle between punks and police. To the extent that the identifying shroud of AML/KYC can be placed into public blockchain metadata (possible in Omni Layer transactions over the Bitcoin blockchain) there may even be interoperability between these two sides of the train tracks. Right now, due to state-granted monopolies to issue credit, most of the world's liquidity is still in banks. However, we believe that in the long-term, public blockchains, especially those based on work, will come to take a more significant part in the ‘System D’ informal economy, which is where most of the global economic growth will originate.” 


@Tradle. Thanks for elaborating. I’m also thinking about these things – and hear lots of other people talk about them – but I *really* struggle with the concept. It all comes down to the table I drew in this post: https://gendal.me/2014/12/19/a-simple-model-to-make-sense-of-the-proliferation-of-distributed-ledger-smart-contract-and-cryptocurrency-projects/

This is what, at its core, state channels are. Imagine we wanted to play a game of Starcraft and have a smart contract that pays 1 ETH to the winner. It would be ridiculous for each participant to have to write on the main Ethereum network each time a Zergling was killed by a Zealot, or when a Command Center was upgraded to an Orbital Command. The gas cost (Ethereum gas, not Starcraft gas) and time for each transaction would be prohibitive.
However, even this would have its own separate value and wouldn't necessarily solve any issue especially if a market is deemed to be, well, worthless. The two-way peg isn't perfect however. Especially since SPV can theoretically be tricked into crediting more coins than were originally deposited. If the attack will then transfer those coins back onto the parent it would take coins from another user on the Sidechain to fund the imbalance. And in the process create a permanent dissilience between the two chains. In order to strengthen the security of a Sidechain beyond just SPV, it would require the parent to soft fork and upgrade its core wallet software so that both chains can then validate transfers between them.
A typical use case for a private blockchain is intra-business: when a company decides to implement blockchain as a business solution, they may opt for a chain to which only company members have access. This is useful if there’s no need for anybody outside of the company to become part of the chain, because private blockchains are more efficient than public and consortium chains. Also, because they are smaller and contained, it is easier for a consensus process or other technical stipulation to be altered on a blockchain. So, for example, if the developers or proprietors want to change the cryptographic method which runs its consensus process, it is much easier to do this on a private blockchain than a public or consortium chain.
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The good thing about sidechains is that they are independent of their main chain. Sidechains take care of their own security. Problems occurring on the sidechain can, therefore, be controlled without affecting the main chain. Likewise, a security problem on the main chain does not affect the sidechain although the value of the peg is greatly reduced.
Because decentralization has been viewed by many as intrinsic to the revolutionary potential of blockchain, the point of private blockchains might be called into question. However, blockchains offer much more than a structure that accommodates decentralization. Among other features, their strong cryptography and auditability offers them more security than traditional protocols (although not bulletproof, as noted), and they allow for the development of new cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, voting platforms, accounting systems, and any type of data archive can arguably be optimized with blockchain technology. We are still in the early days of blockchain technology, and the power it has to reshape older systems has yet to be seen.
Fully private blockchains: a fully private blockchain is a blockchain where write permissions are kept centralized to one organization. Read permissions may be public or restricted to an arbitrary extent. Likely applications include database management, auditing, etc internal to a single company, and so public readability may not be necessary in many cases at all, though in other cases public auditability is desired.
“Blockchain offers a possible solution to these challenges with its decentralized ledger that can store a history of transactions across a shared database,” Cohen said in the report. “By making the record accessible and verifiable from anywhere in the world, blockchain can enable the authentication of goods and eradicate the criminal element of counterfeit goods in the retail supply chain. By pairing hardware chips with blockchain technology, a product can take on a digital history, going as far back as the raw materials that were used to make the product. This allows retailers and consumers to verify their purchased products are genuine.”
Necessity is the answer to that question, well for the short term anyway. Currently public & private blockchains still have a lot of challenging technological problems that need to be sorted out, with privacy and scalability being foremost. Gallactic’s blockchain can certainly help with scalability due to its multi-chain architecture that allows for massive scaling to rival and in most cases surpass other blockchains in the market with transactions at 300 per second on mainchain with the ability to scale up to hundreds of thousands per second when the multi-chain model is configured for speed.
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