Bitcoin developer and Director of Research at Tierion, Paul Sztorc had announced on September 24, the launch of the first version of Drivechain. The Drivechain is a protocol that allows different alternative blockchains to work in unison with the BTC network. However, it is not just an exclusive project for BTC. Drivechain could also be integrated to work with the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network.
A Drivechain is similar to the sidechain concept initiated in 2014, but Drivechain works with other blockchain networks, so they all agree with Nakamoto consensus and share the same 21 million bitcoin ruleset. Unlike the Liquid sidechain that uses a federation of exchange participants for consensus, the Drivechain security model uses a miner-based escrow system.
Sztorc’s Drivechain system claims to allow permissionless innovation without diluting the value of the main cryptocurrency. Because a Drivechain is aligned with Nakamoto consensus, it offers the security of the network but with an expanded set of services like smart contracts.
The Drivechain project has gone through massive development since its official launch in September. A wide array of new features and extension applications have been incorporated into the platform.
Sztorc explained that the software allows for an unlimited number of safe, optional, and ignorable blocksize increases. “It also makes substantial progress on the ‘Bitcoin’s long run hash rate security without inflation’ problem, and it even makes it easier to run a competitive pool,” the Bitcoin developer added.
Developers from various blockchain projects have been contributing and discussing the Drivechain project with Sztorc on the official Github repository or via Drivechain Telegram channel. For instance, Andreas Brekken, the owner of Shitcoin.com, has developed a toolkit for people getting started with Drivechain.
Soon after the launch of the toolkit on October 22, Brekken explained, “Drivenet now has two sidechains. Sidechain One, a boring copy of Bitcoin Core, for testing purposes only, and Paychain, a Bitcoin ABC-like chain, to compete with BCH.
“ABC describes where the BCH are — This sidechain software, ‘Paynet,’ describes where its paynet-Bitcoin are — And it does so following [mostly] the same consensus rules as ABC,” Sztorc further detailed.
Brekken’s toolkit comes with the following features:
— A faucet which disperses free Drivenet coins which users can use to test the Drivechain system.
— A protocol called ‘Sideshift.ai’ which allows Drivenet coins to be swapped between any chains. For a 1 percent fee, Sideshift will convert a specific sidechain coin to Drivechain mainnet coins without waiting.
— An auto-installer which automatically installs Drivechain with sidechains on Ubuntu Linux operating systems.
— A transaction replayer called ‘Driveby,’ that replays BTC transactions on to the main chain. Then there’s a set of block explorers for the Drivenet (mainchain), sidechain one, and the payments sidechain.
Brekken further added that Drivechain was in its preliminary stages of development and had to sort out a lot many things before the mainnet work began.
Looking satisfied with the way Drivechain was progressing, Sztorc stated, “It has been really great. I never thought we would have all of this stuff — faucet, block explorer, and the ‘Sideshift’ service — so quickly. This software was produced by basically one guy, working from mid-2016 to mid-2018. In that time we’ve managed to solve the industry’s key problem: consensus disputes. These disputes led to consensus-disabling phenomena such as Altcoins or hard forks. And these disputes are the key driver of the blocksize debate, the extreme polarization and nasty debate, the rise of misguided projects (such as Ethereum and private blockchains).”
He concluded saying, “The only new security assumption is that: what is true of the one popular chain will also be true of a few smaller chains — That’s almost as good as it gets.”