A long-proposed bitcoin feature called ‘sidechains’ may soon take a big step forward thanks to a pair of proposals.
The idea behind sidechains, most associated with the startup Blockstream (whose team boasts its originators), is to make it easier to add new features to bitcoin, something that’s proven difficult in the past due to bitcoin’s design.
In short, sidechains are supposed to make it possible for users to move bitcoins between different bitcoin-based blockchains with different rule sets. For example, in this way, new techniques for preserving the privacy of transactions or a smart contract system similar to ethereum’s could be added to a bitcoin blockchain, without changing the bitcoin blockchain.
Bitcoin security consultant Sergio Demian Lerner, who is spearheading one effort to add sidechain functionality to bitcoin, explained that sidechains would broadly remove the difficulty developers today face in expanding bitcoin’s capabilities.
He told CoinDesk:
“Improving bitcoin the network has been compared to repairing a plane during flight.”
But in addition to Lerner’s team, another group is working on proposals that could potentially put sidechains into the official bitcoin codebase.
In late September, Lerner revealed a proposal for code that could add this functionality to bitcoin, and Bloq economist Paul Sztorc told CoinDesk