A new ‘side’ to sidechains is emerging, one with considerably broader reach than anything technical.
As the Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, developers Austin Hill and Adam Beck are working on a method of increasing Bitcoin functionality by allowing off-blockchain ‘add-ons’ to fulfill roles currently played by the various altcoins.
As the concept becomes more consolidated, however, possible capabilities of blockchain innovation, which, depending on one’s point of view, enter either the realm of the fantastical or revolutionary, are being discussed.
“Can’t be evil”
In an interview with LetsTalkBitcoin.com, Hill says, “I want to build a blockchain that could support a nation-state putting its national currency and phasing out paper dollars.” Or, as Techcrunch reports, the concept of “blockchain-backed crypto-currencies could become the substrate of entire economies”.
Such economies would require decentralization to be the norm and considerably disempower the government. The effects on developing nations, for example, especially those with fledgling economies marred by corruption, will be all-pervasive.
Not only is Hill thus talking about complete voluntary acceptance of the crypto-currency model as a beneficial force for governance, but he simultaneously imagines its organizations being limited to their remit by the blockchain and which are unable to engage in any immoral behavior for the benefit of a particular party. As Hill told Techcrunch, “Never mind ‘don’t be evil’; we want to build a company that actually can’t be evil.”
User reactions to Hill’s vision were mixed. One comment noted the need for extreme testing to rule out the kind of attacks which have so far brought major crypto-currency components to their knees, including fraud by companies themselves.
Another deemed autonomous organizations an “unrealistic dream […] because the problem is not the technology, the problem is the egotistical mind”, citing Mt. Gox as the reason why decentralization involving the need for humans to forfeit their agency will never be accepted.
All this, however, is somewhat beyond sidechains’ initial remit, and as Techcrunch notes, “all highly speculative verging on cloud-cuckoo-land until people actually start shipping code which turns these notions into reality”.
It is the people who will need the most convincing, and the task now, ahead of the completion of Hill and Beck’s innovation, is to develop the techniques to do so, experts believe.