Blockstream Buys Bitcoin Wallet to Boost Sidechains Development

Blockstream has acquired wallet provider GreenAddress in a move the startup says could impact the development of sidechains.

AccessTimeIconJul 27, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:23 p.m. UTC
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Bitcoin infrastructure architect Blockstream has acquired wallet provider GreenAddress in a move the startup says could impact the development of its signature, still in-development sidechains solution.

Following the acquisition, GreenAddress Wallet's team of three developers will continue to work on privacy and security bolstering features for the wallet as well as compatibility for sidechains, a bitcoin infrastructure component that Blockstream has raised $76m in two investment rounds to engineer.

In interview, former GreenAddress founder and CEO Lawrence Nahum, now senior architect at Blockstream, said that the goal is to shape the wallet into a something like a portal for sidechains, a technology meant to enable a new wave of interoperable blockchains that could be anchored to the bitcoin blockchain.

Nahum told CoinDesk:

"Blockstream is not just going to need some node service that provides some functionality, but it's also going to need an interface, a wallet. It will provide an integrated solution for Blockstream customers."

The move is perhaps not surprising, as the two teams have been working closely for two years.

Launched in 2014, GreenAddress Wallet was early to support innovative wallet features, such as deterministic wallets that allow for improved key creation and multi-signature security.

Sidechains compatibility

But, more than absorbing GreenAddress, the two companies plan to merge their technologies.

Nahum explained that GreenAddress already supports Blockstream’s sidechains alpha functionality, which doesn't appear to be publicly supported by other wallets, and the plan is to further integrate the two.

One way for the wallet to integrate the technology is by supporting Sidechain Elements, the open-source tool that allows developers to mix and match features, such as Segregated Witness or new scripting opcodes expanding bitcoin’s functionality, to create customizable sidechains.

"Schnorr transactions and confidential transactions, these are all things we’re providing support for," Nahum said.

Current sidechains in-progress include the alpha testnet and the first commercial sidechain, Liquid, geared toward enabling the faster movement of funds between exchanges.

Incorporating the technology into the wallet could mean further exploration of these interoperable blockchains for GreenAddress users, with the wallet eventually supporting a wide array of assets and innovations.

Future plans

Looking into the future, the team hopes to continue working on other privacy and security features, including support for smart contract upgrades made to bitcoin, as well as updates to the core bitcoin code such as checklocktimeverify and checksequenceverify.

While bitcoin offers trustless transactions, these features offer "more trustless" transactions, according to Nahum.

The team is also working on a multi-platform wallet library, eventually to be open sourced, which will be available across platforms and programming languages.

Overall, Nahum thinks the new ownership will bode well for the wallet’s development.

He concluded:

"I couldn't wait for the acquisition. I think GreenAddress will flourish better, faster and more robustly than it could ever."

GreenAddress image via GreenAddress


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