This week Blockstream released an open source codebase and testing environment for their much hyped sidechain project. Specifically, they released what they call ‘Sidechain Elements’ – a set of components that developers can use to create and test sidechain applications.
At a talk this week Blockstream’s CTO and Bitcoin Core Dev, Greg Maxwell, discussed some interesting implementations of Elements (See HERE for a video). The ‘element’ which has received the most interest is ‘confidential transactions.’ Many have noted that it’s a highly elegant way to solve the issue of transactions being pseudonymous on the blockchain while still ensuring their integrity.
The possibility of extending the Bitcoin blockchain and solving some of the core issues that have been identified as barriers to its ongoing utility (e.g. the lack of a rich scripting language and faster block confirmation times) is very exciting. However, the most important aspect of this release is that it has taken the idea from being a ‘white paper’ to actual code – which many doubted would happen.
Overall, the release of Elements has started the process of answering how sidechains might actually be used. Now it’s just a matter of seeing what people build on the platform and, more importantly, whether the Bitcoin Core Dev team accept Blockstream’s BIP proposal – which may in fact prove to be a major stumbling block (pun intended).