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Sidechain in Blockchain: What Does It Mean in Crypto?

Updated 2023-11-02 18:15:19

Blockchain technology's growth has resulted in incredible advancements and disruptive potential. During the exciting cryptocurrency world, one notion has garnered excellent traction for overcoming some of the primary difficulties standard blockchain networks face: sidechains. As the crypto ecosystem grows, the need for scalability, interoperability, and expanded functionality becomes increasingly apparent. This article will explore the difficulties of sidechains in blockchain technology, learning about their fundamental nature and analyzing their dynamic impact on the world of cryptocurrencies.

This article will focus on a fascinating examination of sidechains, where parallel chains cross with the blockchain cosmos, paving the way for increased scalability, dynamic functionality, and a more linked decentralized landscape.

What is a sidechain?

A sidechain is a secondary blockchain that functions alongside the main blockchain

A sidechain is a secondary blockchain that functions alongside the main blockchain, providing unique functionalities and capabilities. This novel solution transfers assets, data, and value between the main chain and the sidechain while retaining interoperability. Unlike regular blockchains, sidechains are extensions of the parent blockchain network rather than autonomous entities.

A sidechain is intended to overcome various issues that traditional blockchains encounter, including scalability, transaction speed, and flexibility. Sidechains open up new options for innovation and improvement by allowing certain use cases to operate on a separate chain.

Interoperability and Agreement

Interoperability is a crucial feature of sidechains, allowing assets and data to flow seamlessly between the main and side chains. To accomplish this, both chains must communicate effectively and consistently validate transactions. This necessitates the establishment of a link between the two chains' consensus mechanisms.

The main chain's consensus technique may differ from that of the sidechain. As a result, protocols and bridges are being created to allow for safe communication and validation between the two chains. Cryptographic proofs and cross-chain communication protocols maintain transaction integrity when assets are transferred back and forth.

The Advantages of Sidechain Architecture

Sidechain architecture provides various advantages that add to the overall efficiency and versatility of the blockchain ecosystem:

Scalability: By shifting specialized use cases to sidechains, congestion on the main chain is reduced, resulting in increased scalability and faster transaction rates. This is especially important as blockchain technology strives towards mass acceptance and a more significant volume of transactions.

Flexibility and Customization: Sidechains enable the development of purpose-driven chains suited for specific purposes. Developers can create chains with distinct consensus techniques, features, and functionalities, customizing them to the needs of particular sectors or use cases.

Security and Experimentation: Sidechains provide a safe environment for developers to test new protocols and features. Because sidechains are interoperable while remaining independent of the main chain, any experiments undertaken on a sidechain do not affect the main chain's security or stability.

How Does Sidechain Work in Blockchain?

How Does Sidechain Work in Blockchain?

The two-way pegging process is at the heart of sidechain functionality. This technique transfers assets back and forth between the main chain and the sidechain while preserving their value and security. Let's go over the steps:

Locking Assets: When a user wishes to transfer assets from the main chain to a sidechain, these assets are "locked" on the main chain. This locking entails momentarily immobilizing the assets to prevent them from being double-spent or manipulated while the equivalent assets are generated on the sidechain.

Asset Creation: When assets are locked on the main chain, an equal number of assets are created on the sidechain. These assets on the sidechain are a mirror version of those on the main chain. This ensures that the asset value is consistent across both chains.

Cross-Chain Movement: With assets on the sidechain, they can be utilized, transferred, or engaged in various sidechain-specific activities. Users can engage with these sidechain assets in real time.

Returning to the Main Chain: The process is reversed if a user desires to return assets to the main chain. The sidechain assets are locked on the sidechain, while an equal quantity of main chain assets is unlocked, making them available for usage on the main chain again.

The Potential of Sidechains

The Potential of Sidechains

As we continue to investigate sidechains in the blockchain world, it is critical to understand their enormous potential for fixing difficulties and unleashing new possibilities. In this section, we will look at some of the significant characteristics of sidechain potential, such as atomic swaps and layer two scaling solutions.

Atomic Swaps: Transactions Across the Chain

The concept of atomic swaps is one of the outstanding potentials of sidechains. Atomic swaps are peer-to-peer transactions that enable users to transfer assets directly between blockchains without the involvement of intermediaries. This is accomplished by creatively applying cryptographic algorithms that ensure the swap's fairness and security.

Atomic swaps allow for secure cross-chain transfers, creating new opportunities for liquidity provision, trading, and decentralized exchanges. They eliminate the need for trusted third parties, lowering counterparty risk and boosting blockchain transactions' decentralized character.

Layer 2 Scaling: Improved Efficiency

Blockchain scalability has been a persistent issue, mainly as user use develops. Through layer 2 scaling, sidechains provide a unique alternative. The capacity of the main chain is increased by redirecting certain use cases or applications to sidechains, leading to faster transaction speeds and lower costs.

This method solves the congestion problem by increasing transaction throughput. Layer 2 scalability, aided by sidechains, enables mass adoption without jeopardizing the essential concepts of blockchain decentralization and security.

Sidechain vs Childchain

Sidechain vs Childchain

Let's compare sidechains and childchains in different dimensions.

Mechanism for Interoperability

Sidechains: Sidechains are linked to the main chain via a two-way peg mechanism, allowing assets to travel securely and verifiably between the main chain and the sidechain.

Childchains: Childchains are sub-blockchains linked to the main chain hierarchically, relying on the parent chain's security and frequently leveraging methods such as Plasma to simplify transactions and scalability.


Sidechains: Sidechains can be more self-contained, with their consensus processes, regulations, and, in some instances, native tokens. They can play around with various features and designs.

Childchains: Childchains are more tightly linked to the security of the parent chain and may lack independence. They have specific functions inside the more extensive blockchain network.


Sidechains: While scalability is an objective of sidechains, it is not their only focus. They are helpful for more than just dumping transactions from the main chain.

Childchains: Childchains are intended to improve scalability by processing large transactions and calculations, relieving congestion on the main chain.


Sidechains: Because they can use different consensus processes than the main chain, the security of sidechains may differ from that of the main chain. Mechanisms to protect security and prevent malicious activity may be required.

Childchains: Childchains rely on the primary chain's security. Users can exit the main chain to protect their assets if there are security breaches or concerns about the child chain.


Sidechains: Sidechains can be used for various purposes, such as testing new features, developing bespoke consensus processes, experimenting with different token models, and exploring novel applications.

Childchains: Childchains are generally focused on specialized use cases or businesses, such as gaming, decentralized applications, quick payments, or other niche applications.

Connection to the Main Chain

Sidechains: Sidechains are linked to the main chain but lack the same level of security and transaction processing. They provide greater flexibility and opportunity for innovation.

Childchains: Childchains are sub-blockchains of the main chain that are designed to supplement it by tackling specific scalability difficulties while benefiting from the parent chain's security.

Examples of Sidechains

Examples of Sidechains

When we look at real-world instances of sidechains in operation, the theoretical notions we've been exploring become even more palpable. In this part, we will look at two prominent examples of sidechains in the blockchain ecosystem: the Polygon and Plasma chains.

Polygon Chain: Increasing the Scalability of Ethereum

Polygon, known initially as Matic Network, has emerged as a formidable solution to Ethereum's scaling issues. It is a sidechain framework for creating and connecting multiple chains, each optimized for specific use cases. Polygon uses a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus method, which improves transaction speed and lowers costs over Ethereum's Proof-of-Work (PoW) system.

Polygon's ecosystem is made up of several sidechains called "Polygon PoS chains," each with its own set of validators and consensus criteria. These chains offer quick and low-cost transactions, making them ideal for usages such as decentralized finance (DeFi) systems and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces. Users can move assets from the Ethereum main chain to Polygon's sidechains with ease, resulting in increased efficiency and affordability.

Plasma Chain: Cutting-Edge Scalability Solutions

The Plasma framework, created by Ethereum co-founders Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Poon, is yet another new method for improving blockchain scalability. Plasma works on the premise of building scalable and independent sidechains, known as "Plasma chains," that are linked to a main chain.

Each Plasma chain in the Plasma architecture is designed to manage a specific type of transaction or application. Because of this specialization, the main chain is less congested, resulting in speedier and more cost-effective transactions. Plasma chains employ their own consensus processes to provide a customized environment for distinct use cases.


Continuous innovation has characterized the evolution of blockchain technology, and sidechains stand out as a prime example of this innovation's transformational ability. We've learned about sidechains' mechanics, prospective applications, and the specific advantages they provide to the blockchain ecosystem as a result of our research.

We are embracing a future in which blockchain technology will be more adaptive, scalable, and versatile by adopting sidechains. By using the potential of sidechains, developers, entrepreneurs, and consumers may usher in a new era of innovation with the ability to alter sectors and revolutionize how we interact with digital assets and decentralized applications. As we negotiate this changing terrain, one thing is clear: sidechains are more than just a notion; they are a driving force for advancement in the blockchain world.