FAQ and other interesting comments

Questions and answers from various channels, Discord, Telegram…

I will try to collect here some interesting questions and answers regarding sidechains and nodes.

  1. Are sidechains operated exclusively by their creator and team? What works, if any, do supernodes perform in sidechains?

Once a sidechain is launched it’s thrown into the wild just like any other decentralized blockchain; the creator(s) can do hard forks to change things in the future, but the original version is always available for the community to run if they so choose (just like Zend). The system is entirely decentralized meaning that anyone can choose to run a sidechain node once the software is made public (not every sidechain need be public!). One bit of confusion is that you don’t technically have to be a secure or super node operator to run a sidechain, but we’ve built a 30k+ node network of staked operators so they can easily do so; remember, our first gen sidechains will be proof of stake and having a ready staked network to run sidechains is an enormous advantage for Horizen

  1. Sidechains have the private key to operate within the mainchain. Is compromised private key of the sidechain critical?

You’ll soon hear more about our “extended” sidechain model, which will use a sophisticated zero knowledge system initiated similarly to the way Sprout and Sapling had key ceremonies with toxic waste; extreme measures will be taken to safely destroy such waste, but it’s possible that some sidechains end up created by parties not quite well verse in the tech and do so sloppily. I imagine serious businesses will use sidechain proving systems created by professionals like Horizen Labs

  1. Sidechain client doesn’t have access to the consensus mechanism? Isn’t that an issue for external audit, which is required for security in an array of projects (like ICOs)?

Here I meant whether the executable code of any Sidechain will be available to the public or not. An analogy with smart contracts or embracing consensus rules in the warhead as a whole (their code or logic is available to all participants)
But this question was answered in 1

  1. Making sure that sidechain works securely is completely shifted to sidechains’ developers? Does the Horizen team provide any mechanics to provide security in underlying architecture?

Yes absolutely, we’ll have extensive Software Development Kits (SDKs) that abstract complexities of consensus and blockchain mechanics. The goal is to make deploying blockchains simple so that app devs can focus purely on app-specific logic

  1. How scalable is the node network of the specific sidechain? How will they interact with one another?

Completely scalable and the sidechain system, itself, is as scalable as the network of nodes willing to run any number of sidechains. This will all depend on the economic value of the system and the chains competing for resources. This creates a dynamic feedback system in which our network size ought to scale to what’s needed to run valuable services for which people are willing to pay.

  1. How will made client access to sidechains? Does the client search for sidechain nodes and interact with them directly?

Sidechains are initialized by broadcasting a special transaction in the mainchain, this alerts the core client to all sidechains that exist and gives a unique ID for any transactions that are broadcast back from any sidechain

  1. What’s the role of supernodes and secure nodes in current environment?

In the current environment (pre-production sidechains, we’re currently in Alpha), both secure and super nodes function as full nodes with TLS/SSL certs for node-to-node encryption; from a blockchain perspective, they’re just relaying txs to keep the network perpetually up. Once sidechains go to production, these nodes will be a ready asset of staked certifies and/or forgers, so setting up the network was always a precursor to actually using them to do more than simply staking ZEN

  1. Why were was a shift to move away from group validation of sidechains with public code? It’s considered to be core mechanic in the industry, which makes this decision even more obscure.

Do you mean why did we choose to dev the sidechain system in private up until the Alpha release? We built the system from scratch, taking an invention from R&D to Alpha…there’s a ton of revision along the way, some design paths need to be changed entirely and we wanted to get the system at least to a stable Alpha before going public. Now it’s public and you’ll be able to track the progress to Beta
*at least the extension of Alpha…we have some fun surprises in store for Beta that aren’t yet public!

  1. Will Zend network be used or somehow engaged for p2p packet transport in sidechains?

No, sidechains won’t use Zend, they’ll have their own client software and the resulting network

  1. What’s the current status of BlockDAG and switch to BlockDAG?

We prototyped a blockDAG version

All thanks to @finpunk

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  1. Who runs the sidechain application logic? Is it the whole Horizen network (all the nodes), or a subset of nodes, and how do you agree to participate in a sidechain?

Supernodes will be running the sidechains, hence the reason for the additional system requirements

  1. Can a sidechain work similar to chainlink?

Side-chains as detailed in the new white-paper allow business logic to run independently from the main Horizen chain whilst still employing our main chain to facilitate the end to end immutability and proof. The side-chains can use whatever business logic they want and the main chain can verify that the logic was followed without actually having to know what the business logic rules were. Chainlink is similar but we are building out a Software Development Kit, to allow any developer to build whatever they want atop of our tech.

Chainlink seems to have already built out and set their path from what i am reading whereas we are building an SDK to encourage a competitive ecosystem where many people hopefully will build excellent systems we didn’t even think of.

We hope many ISV’s and organizations make use of our unique approach and the tools we are developing. Rather than just focussing on building our own products/solutions.

Thanks, @UX Team

wow thanks for compiling and presenting all that @MedaR! super helpful and hopefully good content for others they come to the project over time.

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