NXT is transitioning into a child-chain or sidechain type of blockchain as a service model. I know Bitcoin has the ability to issue colored coins on counterparty and colorcoins, but is there something similar to what NXT's Ardor platform is doing? Where by you can copy the existing blockchain features, but spawn your own while using the parent chain to secure it. Is there development going into this child-chain / side-chain arena in either Bitcoin or another Altcoin?

3 Answers 3


With special transactions, Bitcoin has the capability of supporting sidechains. This is different from childchains in that the sidechain itself is a different blockchain and is not extended from the main blockchain. The paper describing sidechains can be found here: https://blockstream.com/technology/sidechains.pdf and an implementation of those sidechains can be found here: https://github.com/ElementsProject/elements.

  • Are you Satoshi Nakamoto? I feel so
    – Tailer
    Feb 7, 2018 at 21:33
  • I think so too... ;) Feb 7, 2018 at 22:01

A (maybe biased) comparison of sidechains and childchains can be found here. The main differentiation is who is securing the 'chains'. Sidechains are responsible for their own security but childchains depend on the security of the main chain.

I am not aware of any other system using the childchains approach.

As was already mentioned a sidechain implementation for Bitcoin can be found in the Elements project.

Another interesting take on sidechains is Lisk where each Dapp is implemented in each own sidechain.

  • Is elements project similiar to lightning network that has to do with payment channels to provide instant transactions in btc? Feb 9, 2018 at 16:49
  • No. Briefly: It is effectively a new blockchain with a two-way peg relationship to the main chain. It allows users to exchange assets (native coins) between the chains under some predefined conditions/rates etc. Each sidechain can have its own rules completely independent of the main chain.
    – karask
    Feb 9, 2018 at 21:55

Ethereum has similar functionality

In ethereum, token contracts work by initializing the total token supply to a given address, presumably the smart contract owner's address.

If a transfer is to occur a person A, the smart contract moves a given amount from the owner's address to person A's account within the smart contract itself. The gas cost is used to operate the steps in the smart contract and perform the account change.

This database in the dAPP is similar to a dictionary, but uses the ethereum blockchain to maintain previous state over time.

Ethereum tokens have all the same features as ether, but are logged a bit differently which gives them a different market value and decouples them from the ether price.

  • Ethereum does not have similar functionality by default. When you send a ethereum token to a user, that user is required to have ether in order to send this token to another User. Hence, they are stuck with this token unless they have Ether. This parent / childchain relationship gives the ability to pay the fees in child chain tokens. Maybe you should read up on how a parent / childchain works on Ardor. Feb 13, 2018 at 18:13

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