Bitcoin Core Developer Greg Maxwell revealed the potential for a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) to add two-way peg sidechain functionality to be ready in as little as a few months. Since being raised as a potential development last year, this possibility has gained interest for the opportunity it would provide to implement and test new ideas on blockchains without creating a whole new system to run them with.
Speaking at the Bitcoin Foundation DevCore Workshop at Draper University, Maxwell compared decentralized two-way peg functionality to Elements Alpha – a test version of sidechain currently available via a peg with Bitcoin’s testnet token. On the development of code to support this, he stated:
“The change to allow Bitcoin to do the verification of the decentralized peg is code that’s in Elements Alpha because we use it in that one direction. So, you can look at that and get an idea of how complicated it is. It’s not very complicated; it’s on the order of fifty lines of code and script functionality.”
According to Maxwell, the reason for BIP for sidechains being delayed is the debate on bitcoin’s scalability issues has held up the process as the focus has been on scalability. It has been suggested that it could take time to build consensus for a sidechain BIP but Adam Black, President of Blockstream, has previously noted that generally, technical people have supported the idea.
Maxwell also commented that the delays they were experiencing weren’t unexpected and that the process of implementing sidechains has panned out very much as he had anticipated. There are many applications and projects being worked on that would find a huge benefit in this technology being developed but, currently, it looks like they will have to wait until 2016 to gain access to it.