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Sidechains: A technical and historical overview of what works where we’re going

by Arjun Balaji

February 19, 2019, 11:00AM EDT  ·  14 min read
The Block/Benjamin Friedrich

Quick Take

  • Sidechains simply enable users to send bitcoins to other blockchains to use and return them when finished
  • Sidechains can address trade-offs between cost and security, allow for experimentation on public blockchains, and open up use-cases for new audiences like enterprise customers
  • While there are dozens of different sidechain projects in development and many that were historically launched (and abandoned), we detail some of the most compelling offerings

by Arjun Balaji

February 19, 2019, 11:00AM EDT  ·  14 min read

A Historical Overview of Sidechains

Sidechain experiments have been around for years, dating back to 2012 and 2013-era experiments proposed on BitcoinTalk to enable “BTC-backed alternative cryptocurrencies” or ideas like Fidelity-bonded ledgers proposed by Peter Todd on the bitcoin-development mailing list. A number of different developments came to head and the current iteration of sidechains were advanced in a 2014 paper Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains written by Blockstream developers.