Ripple is proposing Federated Sidechains for the XRP Ledger as a way to balance the needs of user requests for smart contract features with the blockchain company’s desire to keep the XRP Ledger lean, according to a post from Ripple.
Ripple CTO David Schwartz said in the post that smart contract functionalities are one of the “most requested” features the company has received from programmers and contributors to the XRP Ledger. However, Schwartz said the company has “long advocated against features that would compromise the XRP Ledger’s highly efficient focus on payments.”
The Federated Sidechains strategy, Schwartz said, “enables the best of both worlds.” Programmers can use it to put new functionalities into place, like native smart contracts that smoothly interoperate with XRP and the XRP ledger. At the same time, the strategy will allow XRP Ledger keep its current “lean and efficient” collection of functionalities.
More specifically, Schwartz said the vision is that each sidechain would work as its own blockchain. To that end, all sidechains would possess a distinct ledger and transactions, as is the case with the XRP Ledger. However, the distinctive feature of sidechains is that the federation system lets XRP and issued tokens migrate between chains.
“We invite developers and contributors to the community to head to our Dev To community page to review and provide feedback. Let’s build a roadmap for innovative, new use cases together,” Schwartz said in the announcement.
As previously reported, blockchain technology can be used in the execution of what are referred to as smart contracts, which are essentially “if/then” statements kept on a blockchain that run when specific conditions are satisfied by both parties involved in a transaction. For example, Mediachain, which Spotify purchased in 2017, harnesses this feature to help artists attach themselves to their music for royalty purposes.
In addition, real estate company Propy is harnessing smart contracts in an effort to automate the home-buying process, and BurstIQ uses the technology to allow for the transfer of medical information between patients and healthcare professionals.