Scaling Bitcoin is still a very talked-about topic in the developer community. On-chain scaling isn’t the approach most people are willing to explore right now. Instead, we see initiatives such as Drivechain focus on bringing sidechain technology to Bitcoin in the future. Two new proposals have been submitted to make this change occur sooner rather than later.
Will Bitcoin Ever get Sidechains?
The big question is, as it has always been, how Bitcoin will scale in the future. The integration of Segregated Witness hasn’t introduced many positive changes so far. This is mainly due to so few service providers having integrated this scaling solution so far. It is doubtful any major improvements will happen in this regard, although one never knows for sure what the future holds.
Regardless, there are still a few other options waiting to be explored. The Drivechain project has been of great interest to a lot of Bitcoin community members. This project aims to introduce sidechains, which can solve the majority of Bitcoin’s scaling problems and even introduce some innovative features to the ecosystem as a whole.
Two new BIPs proposed by the Drivechain team relate to sidechain technology and mainly focus on gathering feedback for the code in its current form. After all, the project has been in development for nearly two full years, yet very few people had actually seen any of its code until a few weeks ago. With things finally heading in the right direction, we may finally see Bitcoin integrate sidechains.
One of these proposals focuses on a concept known as hashrate escrow. This is somewhat similar to 2-of-3 multisignature escrow, where the third party is a set of Bitcoin miners. However, miners can only sign transactions by directing hashpower to them for a specific amount of time. It’s an interesting approach which may be of great use to the Bitcoin ecosystem as a whole.
The second proposal involves something known as blind merged mining, which allows for the mining of extension blocks or sidechains. Miners would not have to perform any validations on the blocks themselves, which is rather interesting. As its name suggests, this process spans two or more blockchains, which is an interesting way to reuse hashpower to secure other chains. This proposal is well worth checking out, as it solves some of the more common problems associated with merged mining as we know it today.
Whether or not Bitcoin’s developers will approve the concept of sidechains remains to be seen, though. So far, this concept has received a lot of pushback, as it may eventually introduce new vulnerabilities to the Bitcoin network. This is why we need reviews of all the code written to date, which is exactly why the Drivechain team has shared these BIPs with the rest of the community.