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Sidechains Project Pushes Ahead with Bitcoin BIP Submission

One of the developers behind the Drivechain project for bringing sidechains to bitcoin is seeking feedback on the project’s code as well as two improvement proposals related to the tech.

In a message on the bitcoin development email thread, Paul Sztorc posted links for two proposed Bitcoin Improvement Protocols (BIPs), both of which were dated Nov. 17, in an effort to begin getting feedback on the code developed thus far. The release comes just over two years after Sztorc first introduced Drivechain, marking one of several ongoing efforts to develop applications around the concept.

Sidechains concepts, including Drivechain, have been positioned as a way to test new functionalities for bitcoin without actually integrating them within the cryptocurrency’s code.

If implemented, they would effectively constitute interoperable blockchains that are pegged to the bitcoin blockchain. For example, a sidechain based on the transaction anonymity project Mimblewimble could allow for experimentation in that area that avoids the long and potentially contentious process of making changes to the bitcoin software.

At the same time, some developers have criticized the sidechains concepts, arguing that they, if introduced, could create new vulnerabilities in the system and lead to a less secure network.

For now, the BIPs put forward by the Drivechain developers are now available for review – “The most helpful review will probably take place on GitHub,” Sztorc wrote in the email thread – and as he indicated, neither have been granted formal BIP status.

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Staking Sidechains? New Paper Proposes Twist on Bitcoin Tech

A pseudonymous developer is seeking to refresh an old idea for boosting bitcoin’s functionality.

Named ‘proof-of-mainstake,’ the paper proposes an incentive system for the mining of sidechains, blockchains with alternative rulesets that developers believe could one day be “attached” to bitcoin. At its core, the idea proposes securing sidechains, designed to boost the functionality of bitcoin, by entering miners into a kind of lottery system.

In this way, the proof-of-mainstake proposal aims to solve the issue of miner incentives by allowing traders to bet on a sidechain with real bitcoin, an incentive scheme similar to what’s being used in ethereum’s still-in-development proof-of-stake protocol, Casper.

With proof-of-mainstake, miners would put coins aside on the bitcoin blockchain for the specific purpose of using outputs from those coins as a kind of lottery ticket. The winner of that lottery would then create a block and bribe miners to accept that block in the main bitcoin blockchain.

The innovation claimed is that the proposal encourages miners to better maintain the sidechains, without discouraging or hindering their ability to compete for bitcoin’s lucrative rewards.

The proposal follows years of debate on a concept that, over the years, has been proposed as a solution to nearly every perceived bitcoin problem, including privacy, scalability and the diversity of developer opinion). But while promising, the idea has struggled to come to life, mostly over the issue of how to incentivize miners to secure transactions on the alternative chains.

Whether this new idea will be able to win favor from developers remains to be seen, however, given that it takes aim at drivechain, a well-regarded idea with an emerging developer community, the paper will likely add to the discussion.

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