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What are Multichains and Sidechains?

Navigating the Complex Landscape of Blockchain Sub-Structures

Blockchain technology has revolutionized the way we handle digital assets. In its most recognizable form, it enables cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. But the blockchain world is vast and complex, with unique systems known as multichains and sidechains playing critical roles. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of these systems.

Unravelling Sidechains

Sidechains, a specialized form of blockchain, facilitate asset transfer from the main blockchain, allowing those assets to be returned at a future date. To comprehend the function of sidechains, it's crucial to grasp the basics of blockchain technology, which comprises interconnected computers that function as nodes in a decentralized consensus network. All transactions involving digital assets on a blockchain are validated and recorded on that chain.

However, when assets are shifted to another chain with different protocols designed to suit the users' requirements, this secondary chain is known as a sidechain. Imagine these assets as buried treasure that can be unearthed and reintroduced into circulation at any point.

Notably, sidechains aren't idle repositories; they are buzzing with activity. Market makers and arbitrageurs utilize sidechains to find the best prices for their digital currencies. While this incessant trading takes place, the primary blockchain quietly records the sporadic moments when the asset reemerges.

The Emergence of Sidechain Technologies

Blockstream's protocol, Liquid, was the first official sidechain technology. Introduced in 2015, Liquid primarily offers a sidechain for major cryptocurrency exchanges. Others, like Drivechain, use sidechains as experimental platforms, functioning as silent forks that exist without influencing the main blockchain.

Sidechains have gained popularity, particularly in reference to Bitcoin. As institutions like banks are embracing Bitcoin's longevity, they are exploring ways to incorporate it into their private blockchains. This is where companies like Multichain come into play, facilitating such functionality.

Interoperability and Sidechains

While Bitcoin's adaptability to sidechains is notable, some platforms like Ethereum and Ripple, already have the flexibility to interface with different blockchains. Many sidechains utilize Ethereum's code to establish a Bitcoin sidechain, highlighting Ethereum's versatility.

Ripple is gaining momentum in the banking sector, not because it claims to be the "best" cryptocurrency, but because of its capacity to act as an interledger protocol, enhancing the speed and liquidity of all currencies and transactions.

Bitcoin, Sidechains, and Scalability

Bitcoin's challenges with speed, scalability, and mining centralization are well-documented. The Lightning Network, used successfully by Litecoin in tests, is a potential solution. However, it differs from sidechains as it remains public and open, while sidechains are typically permissioned and primarily developed for corporate clients.

The Future of Multichains and Sidechains

Sidechains and multichains represent significant advancements in blockchain technology. With their ability to facilitate faster transactions, ensure scalability, and allow for cross-platform interactions, they are shaping the future of digital currencies. As the blockchain landscape continues to evolve, the relevance of these systems is set to rise, heralding a new era in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Multichains: Bridging the Interoperability Gap

In addition to sidechains, another innovation that's crucial to understanding the blockchain landscape is multichains. In the past, each blockchain operated in its own unique ecosystem, resulting in isolated silos of data and assets. The advent of Multichain technology is changing this by providing a framework for multiple blockchains to interact with one another.

Multichain enables institutions that are comfortable with Bitcoin's stability to deploy their private blockchains. Companies like Multichain have developed platforms that allow for the creation of multiple blockchains within a network, enhancing the scalability and diversity of applications.

Ethereum, Ripple, and the Role of Multichains

Platforms such as Ethereum and Ripple have incorporated multichain technology to increase their flexibility. Ethereum's versatile code enables the creation of sidechains linked to Bitcoin, demonstrating the power of multichain technology. On the other hand, Ripple has made significant strides in the banking world, thanks to its interledger protocol. By facilitating cross-chain transactions, Ripple exemplifies the potential of multichains for fostering interoperability among different blockchains.

Sidechains, Multichains, and Future Blockchain Innovations

While the concepts of sidechains and multichains might seem complex, they represent fundamental shifts in the blockchain technology landscape. Sidechains have emerged as a solution to speed and scalability issues, enabling digital assets to traverse between different blockchains. Meanwhile, multichains are closing the interoperability gap, allowing different blockchains to interact seamlessly.

As the industry continues to evolve, these innovations pave the way for more robust, efficient, and interconnected blockchain networks. Technologies like Blockstream's Liquid, Drivechain, and Lightning Network are just the beginning.

Embracing the Future of Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with new innovations constantly emerging. Sidechains and multichains are two such advancements that are transforming the way we view and interact with blockchains. As digital currencies become increasingly integral to our financial systems, understanding these concepts will be key to navigating the future of finance.

These developments promise to enhance the performance, efficiency, and interoperability of blockchains, leading to broader acceptance and integration into everyday financial systems. As we step into the future, these technologies will undoubtedly play an increasingly critical role in shaping the trajectory of digital currencies and blockchain technology.


Sidechains are blockchains which handle assets off of the main blockchain and are able to return them to the main blockchain at a future date.

As you understand by now, blockchains are comprised of interconnected computers serving as nodes in a decentralized consensus network. Everything that happens to assets on that blockchain is validated and recorded on that blockchain. If assets are taken to another chain, however, where different protocols may apply to suit the needs of the parties using the assets, this may be called a sidechain.

The assets are able to be returned to their original blockchain at any point as if they were buried in the backyard and one day were dug up and put back into circulation. In reality, the activity in sidechains is anything but sedentary. Market makers and arbitrageurs can use sidechains to find the best prices for their currencies, trading bots clicking and whirring away ceaselessly while the main blockchain records only the tick...tick...tick of the brief moments when the asset reappears on the surface.

What is Ethereum?

What is Ripple?

What is Bitcoin?

What is a Market Maker?

How Do Ethereum Smart Contracts Work?

 Disclaimers and Limitations

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