Paper Outlines Proof-of-Stake Sidechains for Cardano Ouroboros, Beyond

Paper Outlines Proof-of-Stake Sidechains for Cardano Ouroboros, Beyond

A team of researchers have published a paper outlining a formal structure for proof-of-stake sidechains via a “rigorous cryptographic definition.” Said to be the first of its kind, the outline covers sidechain constructions compatible with Cardano Ouroboros and other PoS systems like Algorand and Snow White. 

Also read: Five New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Crypto Life in 2019

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Formalizing Sidechains: ‘The First … to the Best of Our Knowledge’

On December 31st, a team comprised of IOHK researchers Peter Gaži, Aggelos Kiayias, and Dionysis Zindros published a paper titled “Proof-of-Stake Sidechains.”

Therein, the researchers provided an unprecedented formalization of sidechain constructions for PoS blockchains, namely Cardano’s Ouroboros but also for later renditions like Ouroboros Praos and Ouroboros Genesis.

In effect, sidechains are blockchains that can interact with other “parent” blockchains via a two-way peg. They offer interoperability and scaling benefits and can serve as testing grounds for parent-chain upgrades.

Accordingly, the researchers’ paper is notable insofar as it provides numerous inaugural technical advancements in the sidechain arena, including:

  • “a new ‘firewall’ security property which safeguards each blockchain from its sidechains”
  • formally outlined sidechain constructions for epoch-based PoS systems
  • a merged staking feature to mitigate sidechain attacks
  • a pegging technique via “a novel cryptographic primitive we introduce called ad-hoc threshold multisignatures (ATMS)”
Researchers: “We formalize the notion of sidechains by proposing a rigorous cryptographic definition, the first one to the best of our knowledge.”

Each of these advancements are respectively notable and taken collectively represent a significant plotting forth not only for the technical path of Cardano but potentially for compatible PoS blockchains in general.

“We prove our construction secure using standard cryptographic assumptions,” the IOHK team said.

“We show that our construction (i) supports safe cross-chain value transfers when the security assumptions of both chains are satisfied, namely that a majority of honest stake exists in both chains, and (ii) in case of a one-sided failure, maintains the firewall property, thus containing the damage to the chains whose security conditions have been violated.”

In Preparing to Look Ahead, Hoskinson Looks Back on Cardano’s 2018

In another year-end release, IOHK CEO Charles Hoskinson offered his thoughts on Cardano’s past 12 months in a video review of 2018.

“How do you translate this open document that’s mostly aspirational into execution?” Hoskinson said.

“That’s what 2017 and 2018 have been about … in the early days we decided that it would take three to five years to conclude a research agenda that covers most of the things that we want to do with the Cardano project.”

Yet while Cardano may still be in its early stages, its backers have done the early moves necessary to carve out a wider future. What that future precisely looks like remains to be seen, but there’s sure to be competition all along the way.

The grand question for now is how will the smoke settle, and how will Cardano look and stand after it does?

IOHK moved to America, the so-called “land of opportunity,” in 2018. Indeed, extrapolating from that, “opportunity” might as well be a keyword for Cardano on several levels in the years ahead, wherever that may lead.

What’s your take? Will proof-of-stake sidechains have a major future in the cryptoeconomy? Let us know in the comments section. 


Images via Pixabay

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