Drivechain Developers Hold First Meeting on Future of Sidechains Project

The developers behind a sidechain project that has the potential to boost bitcoin's functionality just held their first major meeting.

AccessTimeIconAug 24, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:51 a.m. UTC
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While other sidechain proposals seem to be running into hurdles, Drivechain is shifting into gear.

The disparate open-source developer group behind the project came together for the first time last week to organize and plan how it will evolve a proposal to upgrade the bitcoin blockchain with new technology that could increase its functionality.

And while it still requires an update at the protocol level, Drivechain has recently emerged as the favorite sidechain proposal among some bitcoin developers for its supposed ability to link multiple blockchains and offer a way to test new features – say, MimbleWimble for anonymous transactions – with real bitcoin, but before those features are integrated into bitcoin itself.

During the meeting last week, a few of the project's contributors, including Drivechain inventor Paul Sztorc, pseudonymous developer CryptAxe, Bitcoin Core contributor Chris Stewart and BitPay head of design Jason Dreyzehner, discussed the half a dozen documents Stewart and Sztorc have written, sketching out possible technical details of Drivechain.

While Sztorc, Stewart and other developers have already been contributing to the Drivechain project, they're now formally and publicly coming together to combine resources. Sztorc has published documentation about how the process might work, and Stewart has proposed a bitcoin improvement proposal (BIP) for the same.

Describing the meeting, Stewart told CoinDesk: "We discussed the pros and cons of the various proposals."

He further explained that there are two components that a sidechain implementation needs: 1) how sidechains will be mined in relation to the main chain, and 2) how money will be moved from the sidechain back to the bitcoin blockchain, when users want to do so.

And deciding how best to accomplish these technical elements is arguably the hardest part of getting any proposal to primetime.

But Drivechain's developers are determined, agreeing to meet each Wednesday from here on out, with any and all open-source developers invited to participate or listen in.

While this is potentially a step forward for the project, as it shows increased interest in formalizing the proposals, the results of these discussions are not necessarily set in stone. Further, since the meetings have been small so far, Drivechain's developers will also request feedback from the broader developer community.

And that's an important factor, as Drivechain remains a controversial idea, with some bitcoin developers indifferent about the technology, and others worried it could negatively impact the main bitcoin network.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in BitPay.

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