You’ve heard of proof of work, but what about proofs of proofs of work?
A complex notion, the research on “Non-Interactive Proofs of Proofs of Work,” or NiPoPoW, released in October, has received very little attention so far but is heralded as breaking through one of the major roadblocks that has stalled the widely anticipated sidechain technology.
In the paper, researchers from IOHK, IC3 and the University of Athens describe a mechanism for proving that data exists in the bitcoin blockchain in a more efficient way.
Though the idea can be useful in more than one context, it’s perhaps most exciting in the way the researchers describe the proofs’ benefits for sidechains, a technology that pegs other blockchains to bitcoin, which some, because of its obstacles, have called vaporware, but that others refer to as the “altcoin killer.”
Sidechains seek to solve a vexing problem – that adding features to bitcoin is a dangerous process since $230 billion of value is at risk if the new feature doesn’t work or malfunctions in practice.
Instead of adding new features directly to the bitcoin blockchain, sidechains allow developers to attach new features to a separate chain. Since the chains are still attached to the bitcoin blockchain, the features can take advantage of the cryptocurrency’s network effects and test those applications, without harming the main network should vulnerabilities arise.
Because of this, sidechains were met with excitement initially, but has faced contention since many have concerns about the security of the technology.