A Simple Explanation of Bitcoin "Sidechains"

Originally posted October 2014 on Richard Gendal Brown:

Could sidechains be the enabler of “semi-decentralised” Bitcoin products and services?
An important paper was published this week:
Sidechains
If you’ve followed Bitcoin for any time, you’ll know this is a seriously eminent group of authors
It describes a way to build “pegged sidechains”. Sidechains themselves are not new – the idea, and how to build them, has been discussed for some time and the key breakthrough was outlined earlier in the year. But this paper gives more detail on the concept and has attracted a lot of comment.
But what are they? And why should anybody care?

A MENTAL MODEL FOR BITCOIN

The key to understanding most innovations in the Bitcoin space is to make sure you have the right mental model for how Bitcoin itself works. It turns out that most people I speak to don’t really understand how it works and, as a result, have a faulty mental model.
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