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is to advance itself beyond the wild west of digital finance, while remaining true to its core tenets we will need sidechains. By using bitcoin as an assest for debt-financing in fiat values, bitcoin banks will be able to create loans for Binance people, while still remaining free from the hands of the state–if they choose to do so. This will help bitcoiners resolve some of the security issues that have plagued the coin-based bitcoin economy, but more importantly, it will help financialize the bitcoin economy. This will allow for a revolution that will be similar to the scale and scope of the one William the III ushered in when he created the BOE.
But as long as the miners are honest (and unless there’s a miner that controls the blockchain completely, miners have to be), it generally is a reliable technology that lets you engage in transactions safely and quickly. It’s not quite as trustworthy as a full check. To learn more about how wallets work and why it matters, read more on the Bitcoin Market Journal blog and crypto subscribe to the Bitcoin Market Journal newsletter!
Remember that we gave you the sole power to create new blocks. What happens if you stop producing blocks altogether? Or even worse, what happens if you stop allowing anyone to withdraw funds from the sidechain? If you think about the thing we just described, you might see some flaws.
When you buy something from somebody online, to some degree you are engaging in trust. As credit card payment systems have caught up with modern shopping, the need for trust has receded slightly since you can contest credit card charges to an extent if needed. That becomes doubly true when you use systems like PayPal, or even go the old-school route and send somebody a check in the mail. However, the Wild West of consumerism lives on, in a way, in the form of the SPV wallet. You’re trusting that you’re getting what you paid for (as opposed to a box with a brick in it), that it works, that it is exactly what you bought, and so on.
SPV, on the other hand, just checks to see if the transaction has been verified by a miner and it turns up on a block in the chain. To understand it, let’s look at a full payment verification. You have the full blockchain of an altcoin in your wallet, the person you are buying from or selling to also has it, and you compare the two chains to ensure they match exactly. One look at bitcoin’s blockchain will tell you this is a process that can take a while, and it’s expensive to boot. SPV is short for simplified payment verification, which is usually how smartphone altcoin wallets function.
All of this means that, in general, if a sidechain is cheaper than Ethereum then it’s going to be (proportionally) less secure than Ethereum. So it’s all about the amount of risk you’re willing to take. You might feel comfortable putting 1 ETH on a sidechain but not 100 ETH. If the sidechain fails (meaning the consensus mechanism gets compromised), you could lose all of your funds.
William the III could not raise the funds at the time, and so he developed something very, very sneaky: The Bank of England. At this time, lending and banking was not a concern of the Sovereign–He had the power of taxation, and war–this was how he would raise funds if need be. England had been crippeled by france at the Battle of Beachy Head where the Royal Navy was decimated. Of intersting note, this bank was built physically on top of a Roman temple of Mithras–how fitting. However, war economies don’t work if you are on the losing side, and this is where the english crown found itself at the conclusion of the Nine Year’s War.
Banks from their earliest origins have functioned quite autonomously of the state. I highly recommend reading Nick Szabo’s two essays, "Origins of the Joint-Stock Company" and "The Birth of Insurance" for an in-depth look how this process occurred. Developing out of the rise of italian merchant class in Italy during the 11th century, banking evolved far beyond the meager protection of precious metals into financialization.
Attempting to move from a coinbase economy to a fractional reserve one does have some appeal, but we all know how problematic, and antithetical this is to bitcoin. However, with the developments going on over at Blockstream, I think there is real hope to create something that will straddle the lines between a coinbased economy, and a fiat economy: transparent reserve banking.
And this was all thanks to the seditious revolution of banking. This allowed for lenders to give cash bullion to the bank, who could then give a loan based upon a promise of repayment from the Crown in the future. As a private corporation, the BOE was given the sole power to issue bank notes in england on behalf of the crown. The Crown essentially invented war bonds to raise funds for the transformation of england into the naval superpower it would later become.