They rely on a technology called SPV (simplified payment verification) proofs, which work like this: in order to send money to a sidechain and back to the main bitcoin network again, users need to attach a proof that they really have the funds. Without these proofs, when users or miners move their money back to the main chain, under certain conditions, they could take more money than they really have.
As an engineer and an entrepreneur, I truly believe blockchain technology is going to revolutionize the world. One of the biggest hurdles we need to tackle in the blockchain industry is scalability. Ethereum can only handle 15 transactions per second. I previously wrote about why that will prevent blockchain from going mainstream and how DAG could potentially be a winner.
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Setting up an environment to test and research blockchain requires an ecosystem with multiple systems to be able to develop research and test. The big players in the cloud industry like Amazon(AWS), Microsoft(Azure), IBM(BlueMix) have seen the potential benefits of offering blockchain services in the cloud and started providing some level of BaaS to their customers. Users will benefit from not having to face the problem of configuring and setting up a working blockchain. Hardware investments won’t be needed as well. Microsoft has partnered with ConsenSys to offer Ethereum Blockchain as a Service (EBaaS) on Microsoft Azure. IBM(BueMix) has partnered with Hyperledger to offer BaaS to its customers. Amazon announced they would be offering the service in collaboration with the Digital Currency Group. Developers will have a single-click cloud-based blockchain developer environment, that will allow for rapid development of smart contracts.
Cabe destacar el papel de la gente de Blockstream, una de las compañías centradas en la búsqueda de este objetivo (con un extremeño en sus filas, Jorge Timón). Blockstream está trabajando actualmente en el desarrollo de un protocolo que permita crear sidechains. Son los responsables de uno de los papers más conocidos sobre el tema, publicado en Octubre del 2014:
Saying that, Interoperability has been the missing link in conquering the obstacles faced by both private and public blockchains by empowering them to interact and exchange values across platforms seamlessly. Developers use of the Gallactic blockchain technology, that allow for private and public blockchains within its eco-system, will drive the potential to combine both public and private blockchains with innovative new solutions, designed to accomplish cross-chain exchange and greater compatibility is the way forward for all parties and their concerns.
@mowliv I think a good way to think about it is by looking at our economy. The Federal Reserve prints US dollars for the US Government (the main blockchain) to boost the US economy. However, US dollars can be exported to other countries (a side chain) that could have a completely independent economy but still use a currency backed by the US government. – Olshansk May 30 '17 at 0:56
Jump up ^ Redrup, Yolanda (29 June 2016). "ANZ backs private blockchain, but won't go public". Australia Financial Review. Archived from the original on 3 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016. Blockchain networks can be either public or private. Public blockchains have many users and there are no controls over who can read, upload or delete the data and there are an unknown number of pseudonymous participants. In comparison, private blockchains also have multiple data sets, but there are controls in place over who can edit data and there are a known number of participants.
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.
“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.”
Over the last year the concept of “private blockchains” has become very popular in the broader blockchain technology discussion. Essentially, instead of having a fully public and uncontrolled network and state machine secured by cryptoeconomics (eg. proof of work, proof of stake), it is also possible to create a system where access permissions are more tightly controlled, with rights to modify or even read the blockchain state restricted to a few users, while still maintaining many kinds of partial guarantees of authenticity and decentralization that blockchains provide. Such systems have been a primary focus of interest from financial institutions, and have in part led to a backlash from those who see such developments as either compromising the whole point of decentralization or being a desperate act of dinosaurish middlemen trying to stay relevant (or simply committing the crime of using a blockchain other than Bitcoin). However, for those who are in this fight simply because they want to figure out how to best serve humanity, or even pursue the more modest goal of serving their customers, what are the practical differences between the two styles?
Decentralized web. The sidechain technology holds premises to expand one of the main values of the blockchains – the decentralization of confidence. There is no need for central structure behind the transactions - the holders of cryptocurrencies are free to use their assets the way they want. The sidechains make their deals even more protected and reliable.
@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?

Jump up ^ Epstein, Jim (6 May 2016). "Is Blockchain Technology a Trojan Horse Behind Wall Street's Walled Garden?". Reason. Archived from the original on 8 July 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. mainstream misgivings about working with a system that's open for anyone to use. Many banks are partnering with companies building so-called private blockchains that mimic some aspects of Bitcoin's architecture except they're designed to be closed off and accessible only to chosen parties. ... [but some believe] that open and permission-less blockchains will ultimately prevail even in the banking sector simply because they're more efficient.
Smart contracts are immutable pieces of code and their outcomes are irreversible. Hence, formal verification of their code is very important before deploying them. It’s very hard to verify smart contracts in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). A business can’t afford to deploy faulty but immutable smart contracts and suffer the consequences of their irreversible outcome. This article details the challanges: “Fundamental challenges with public blockchains”.
Blockchain-based smart contracts are proposed contracts that could be partially or fully executed or enforced without human interaction.[55] One of the main objectives of a smart contract is automated escrow. An IMF staff discussion reported that smart contracts based on blockchain technology might reduce moral hazards and optimize the use of contracts in general. But "no viable smart contract systems have yet emerged." Due to the lack of widespread use their legal status is unclear.[56]
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