WHAT DO THEY ENABLE?
Cloud 3.0 Services, Smart Contracts, and Scalability.
Cloud 3.0 Services
Cloud computing is an efficient solution for consumers and businesses. Cloud services offer on-demand compute power, data storage, and many other applications. With sub-chains, the next generation of cloud computing will be Chains-as-a-Service (CaaS). Cloud 3.0 services, such as Namecoin, are decentralized networks, secured by the Bitcoin network, that opens up a new world of decentralized databases and ledgers to users and businesses.
Data storage is one of the most widely used cloud services. It is possible to create a CaaS with a data storage sub-chain. This data storage chain will offer the same benefits as the Bitcoin blockchain, such as immutability and time-stamping. Drivechains make decentralized, ever-lasting data storage solutions feasible.
Smart contracts are fully programmable, self-executing computer agreements between two or more parties. Smart contracts are considered one of the most exciting applications of blockchain technology. Smart contracts serve as a complement to legal contracts and eliminate many of the intermediaries necessary for everyday processes. This technology is not easily applied using the current Bitcoin blockchain protocol.
Drivechains make it easier to implement a smart contract sub-chain. A smart contract sub-chain will open the door to bold, innovative ideas such as ownership of property (aka smart property) and prediction markets, as described in the Hivemind project. A smart contract can also interact with the outside world and act based on real world data (e.g., stock prices, currency exchange rates, weather conditions, etc.) In addition, drivechains help enable projects designed to program smart contracts. BloqOra is one example. Smart contracts will be programmable using standard computer programming languages (e.g., C++).
Extra Blockchain Capacity
Drivechains technology allows users to opt into using sub-chains with added features, without the need for the entire network upgrading their Bitcoin software to support these additional features. In many circumstances, users may want a blockchain that supports higher throughput and transaction capacity. With drivechains, there is potential for a sub-chain that supports larger block sizes and more transactions per second. Users may also wish to access features that may or may not eventually be added to the parent chain (e.g., Schnorr signatures, zero-knowledge proofs, etc.).