If you want a deeper look at Proof of Stake check out our detailed POS post. In short, while Proof of Work is an effective mechanism to secure the blockchain and provides a trustless consensus paradigm, it’s extremely energy intensive because of all the computing power required to solve hash problems. Also, while it was meant to be decentralized, it’s actually becoming more centralized as miners consolidate and massive mining setups eat up larger shares of winning blocks.

@tradles – thanks for taking the time to explain this. OK – so I get the debate around blockchain bloat and the (grudging) inclusion of OP_RETURN, etc., but what I’m missing is that I can only really see one scenario where embedding any identity data into the blockchain makes sense…. and that’s when I want to *associate* an identity with a transaction I’m performing.
– A consensus much faster: the fact that the consensus mechanism is centralized makes it much quicker. In fact, the term “consensus” is no longer adapted since it is rather a recording of transactions on the blockchain. Note that the entity responsible for managing the blockchain can decide to change the parameters of the blockchain and in particular to increase the size of the blocks to be able to add more transactions.
In general, so far there has been little emphasis on the distinction between consortium blockchains and fully private blockchains, although it is important: the former provides a hybrid between the “low-trust” provided by public blockchains and the “single highly-trusted entity” model of private blockchains, whereas the latter can be more accurately described as a traditional centralized system with a degree of cryptographic auditability attached. However, to some degree there is good reason for the focus on consortium over private: the fundamental value of blockchains in a fully private context, aside from the replicated state machine functionality, is cryptographic authentication, and there is no reason to believe that the optimal format of such authentication provision should consist of a series of hash-linked data packets containing Merkle tree roots; generalized zero knowledge proof technology provides a much broader array of exciting possibilities about the kinds of cryptographic assurances that applications can provide their users. In general, I would even argue that generalized zero-knowledge-proofs are, in the corporate financial world, greatly underhyped compared to private blockchains.

Bitcoin’s block interval is ten minutes so it takes about five ten minutes on average for a new transaction to find its way into a block, even if it pays a high fee. This is too slow for some people so they have experimented with alternative cryptocurrencies, based on the Bitcoin code-base, which employ quicker block intervals   [UPDATED 2014-10-27 to correct my embarrassing misunderstanding of mathematics…]
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.

By contrast, the Bitcoin blockchain is not Turing complete since it has little to no ability for data manipulation. It has no ability for a user to deploy if else or goto statements. This is a bit of a simplification but anytime you hear someone say something is “Turing complete” you can do a quick check to see if there is functionality for data changes, memory changes and if/else statements. If there is, that’s usually what they mean.
LeewayHertz provides end to end solution to build enterprise-grade blockchain applications.  Experienced in developing multiple blockchain applications for Global Supply Chain, Identity Solution on blockchain and utility bill generation using blockchain.  LeewayHertz has experience working with distributed ledger technology including Hyperledger, Ethereum, R3Corda, and Hashgraph. The team also includes Hedera Hashgraph ambassadors ... Read more
A blockchain is a distributed computing architecture where every node runs in a peer-to-peer topology, where each node executes and records the same transactions. These transactions are grouped into blocks. Each block contains a one-way hash value. Each new block is verified independently by peer nodes and added to the chain when a consensus is reached. These blocks are linked to their predecessor blocks by the unique hash values, forming a chain. In this way, the blockchain’s distributed dataset (a.k.a. distributed ledger) is kept in consensus across all nodes in the network. Individual user interactions (transactions) with the ledger are append-only, immutable, and secured by strong cryptography. Nodes in the network, in particular the public network, that maintain and verify the transactions (a.k.a. mining) are incentivized by mathematically enforced economic incentives coded into the protocol. All mining nodes will eventually have the same dataset throughout.
As you know, we at LTP have been doing a lot of research to understand other use cases of blockchain apart from Bitcoin-based payments. Recently we had released a comprehensive analysis of 50+ startups and 20 use-cases of blockchain. Though there have been news of large companies accepting bitcoin (Ex.: Amazon, Microsoft, Dell) and the overall acceptance reaching a 100,000+ merchants figure, upon deeper examination we realize that large corporations do not store the Bitcoin payments. They generally partner with a Bitcoin payment processor who converts the Bitcoins to cash as and when they receive a payment and this converted amount is what the corporates take into their account. What a bummer!
Sidechains, just like any other Blockchain, need their own miners to help protect them from nefarious actors and attacks which people would like to leverage against the network. However, since wealth isn't actually created on the Sidechain there is far less incentive for miners to actually work on it and help protect it. Because of this, transaction fees are the basic reward that is offered to miners. However, these often equate to mere pennies.
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