Crypto Guides

Can ‘Discreet Log Contracts’ Potentially Gear Bitcoin for DeFi?


The term “DeFi” has gained significant popularity in the cryptocurrency space since the beginning of 2020. Over hundreds of projects have already been implemented on Ethereum based on the intersection of blockchain and decentralized financial systems. The appealing ones being collateralized stablecoins and derivatives products.

Given that the ecosystem can be feasibly built on a smart contract using Ethereum, the concept of open finance cannot be excluded from Bitcoin. For instance, sidechains like RSK (rootstock) can upgrade their smart contract capabilities, enabling more advanced financial products to build on Bitcoin.

That said, there are some other enthralling ideas on extending the Bitcoin’s structure to more sophisticated financial applications. Out of which, one exciting proposal that is in the talks over a few years is the discreet log contracts.

Bitcoin for DeFi – A Sustainable Approach?

Developers are uncertain about bringing in DeFi applications on Bitcoin. People believe that the reason for its significant value to date is due to its simple, stripped-down reliable design.

Contrariwise, ideas such as the lightning network for Bitcoin has resulted in an entirely new design for it. With the feature of layered scaling, applications can be still be created without hindering the security model of bitcoin’s core protocol.

The success has hence opened doors for exploring applications that help leverage bitcoin without having to compromise on its existing design.

But limitations exist…

The most significant trade-off is the complexity of DeFi applications. RSK could no doubt prove to be a valuable sidechain for Bitcoin, but federated peg sidechain essentially requires trust in controlling the chain.

Additional improvements in the underlying technology can reduce trust even further. The compelling DeFi projects on the Ethereum protocol is not possible to incorporate on Bitcoin’s protocol without compromising trust.

Cutting through the interesting project ideas, let’s get our feet wet to understand and generalize the concept of Discreet Log Contracts.

What are Discreet Log Contracts?

Proposed by Thaddeus Dryja, discreet log contracts are an ecosystem for minimizing the trust in blockchain oracles – assimilating data from external sources to the blockchain. Discreet log contracts pivot using Schnorr signatures to disguise the agreed upon contract information from the oracles.

This creates a scenario where payouts on data (public) are possible between three parties. The advantages of it being better security and flexible contracts without having to compromise on the trust.

Useful Ecosystem?

When applied to DeFi, the two parties can maximize their discreet log contracts and unleash the potential of derivatives, futures, and several other financial instruments. More advanced financial products when knotted to bitcoin, institutional practices like hedging risk on assets can become viable through the Bitcoin’s network. With the reliance on oracle-sourced data for payouts, micro-insurance contracts are possible using the discreet log contracts.


The prevalence of DeFi systems built on the Ethereum is hindering the notion of open financial products for Bitcoin. But considering the robust security model and consensus rules, the Bitcoin network does put forth a captivating medium for decentralized finance. And discreet lot contracts are an appealing tool that can help developers develop a more advanced open finance ecosystem with Bitcoin.


What is Aelf (ELF) And How Is It Solving Blockchain Scalability Challenge?

Blockchain technology has been around for more than ten years now. It has powered thousands of cryptocurrencies, which have grown into a force to be reckoned with. Today, industries are scrambling for a share of this revolutionary network premised on a belief that blockchain can effect faster, trustless, and fraud-free processes. 

The integration of blockchain into the business sector has, however, proven an uphill battle. This is due to the issue of scalability that’s inherent in the current iteration of blockchain. 

Take the example of Ethereum and Bitcoin that handle an average of 15 and 7 transactions per second, respectively. Such a scale doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the scalability/speed needed for the business world. The other two significant problems with the tech are the possibility for interference while executing smart contracts and the lack of clear protocols for onboarding new technology/updates (due the highly contentious Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash’s hard forks). 

So where do we go from here? Blockchain is a revolutionary tech that could fundamentally change how we do a lot of things. For industries, it could help optimize processes at an unprecedented level. There needs to be a way to bridge the gap between the tech and the enterprise space. 

Aelf is a project that proposes to help accomplish this. This guide is an exploration of that promise, plus an in-depth look into how it works and everything in between. But first, we look at what Aelf entails.

What is Aelf? 

Initially launched as a testnet in August 2018, Aelf is a blockchain-based, customizable platform operating system (OS) intended to serve as the central hub for blockchains. The Aelf team designed the platform to act as the “Linux system” of blockchains. Since the introduction of Bitcoin, blockchain technology has evolved in profound ways. 

Bitcoin made the concept of a decentralized and peer-to-peer currency mainstream and disrupted the finance industry forever. Then came Ethereum, which expanded on that idea with the introduction of ‘smart contracts’ and ‘decentralized applications (DApps), unleashing the potential of blockchain beyond internet money. Dozens of industries are now experimenting with blockchain and looking to optimize their processes. 

But there remains a chasm between blockchain and the business world that is not easy to bridge. The Aelf team believes that the next face of blockchain should be an integration of these two worlds. For that to happen, however, there has to be an operating system designed for blockchains that will allow them to meet commercial needs. And for that to happen, blockchain needs to deal with three main challenges: 

  • The scalability challenge – the current blockchains are not equipped to handle enterprise-level transactions.
  • Lack of resources segregation – the current blockchains do not segregate resources for various smart contracts, resulting in interference in their execution.
  • Lack of a predefined consensus protocol allowing for the smooth integration of updates or the adoption of new technology

Aelf proposes to solve these problems.

The Aelf Team

Aelf is the brainchild of Ma Haobo, who is also the founder/CEO of blockchain as a service company Hoopox, and the CTO of GemPay and AllCoin. Founder and CEO of TechCrunch with Michael Arrington and FGB Capital Zhou Shouji, serving as advisors. 

It’s worth noting the venture capital support that the project received. Companies like Draper Dragon, Bitmain, Huobi Global, DHVC, Blockchain Ventures, Chain Funder, FGB Capital, and other notable investment firms participated in the ICO. Indeed, the project proved so popular that they had to turn down interested investors after hitting their 55, 000 goal just two weeks after the sale began. This testifies to the potential of Aelf.

How Does Aelf Work?

To address the three problems we previously mentioned, Aelf employs two major innovations: 

  • Sidechains
  • A unique governance system

The platform utilizes sidechain technology to segregate resources among various smart contracts, and a Delegated proof-of-stake consensus algorithm to achieve a more dynamic system of governance. 

Side Chains

Aelf features one main chain and a multitude of side chains to handle various commercial tasks. The main chain is responsible for distributing different tasks to the multilayer side chains, improving efficiency. Sidechains communicate with the main chain via a ‘sidechain index system.’ The index system categorizes the chains as follows: 

  • External blockchain systems to expand the boundary of Aelf, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum 
  • Internal side chains on the Aelf ecosystem, which contribute economically to it using the ELF token

The side chains can branch off further into subchains. Dividing the ecosystem into side chains ensures that downtime or failure in one part does not affect the entire network.

Aelf’s Token Ecosystem

The Aelf token (ELF) incentivizes honest behavior within the ecosystem. All side chains accept ELF as a store of value and as a means of transferring value. Hence, the token can be transferred across any chain that recognizes it is as such. When a side chain receives transaction fees, it has to give a fraction of this revenue to the miners on the main chain.

If the main chain finds that indexing a side chain is not economically favorable, it (main chain) is entitled to terminate the indexing or allow two side chains to offer the same services to compete. Sidechains can also charge fees to their sub-chains. 

What is the Aelf Consensus Protocol?

The running and maintenance of Aelf are more complicated than that of Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains because Aelf’s involves recording information from various side chains on the main chain. Plus, miners must update information from all the parallel side chains. As such, proof-of-work and basic proof-of-stake consensus algorithms will not suffice. 

Instead, Aelf employs delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) to run the network more efficiently and ensure the predictability of block formation, which enhances user experience. 

The process is as follows:- holders of the ELF token vote on who will become the mining nodes. Then the elected nodes decide how to distribute mining rewards among the rest of the nodes, plus stakeholders. This equation determines the number of miners: 

Miners = 2N+ 1, with N starting at eight and increasing by one every year. Just like in other blockchains, mining nodes are responsible for relaying and verifying transactions, packaging blocks, and transferring information. 

How are ELF Tokens Distributed?

Aelf held its pre-sale in December 2017. The distribution of the 1 billion tokens was as follows. 

  • 25% (250 million) went to investors
  • 25% went to the Aelf foundation, a 3-year vesting period
  • 16% went to the Aelf team, a 2-year vesting period
  • 12% went to the marketing and airdrops
  • 12% went to mining over a 100-year period 
  • 10% went to advisors and partnerships, a 2-year vesting period

What is ELF’s Market Standing?

As of May 30, 2020, Aelf is trading at $0.092932, while ranking at #105. It has a market cap of $50, 599, 793, a 24-hour volume of $24, 971, 816, a circulating supply of 544, 480, 200, a total supply of 880, 000, 000, and a maximum supply of 1, 000, 000, 000. ELF’s all-time high was $2. 77 (January 07, 2018), and its all-time low was $0.035013 (March 13, 2020). 

Where to buy ELF

ELF is traded on several major exchanges, including Huobi, Binance, Coinswitch, Cointree, KuCoin, YoBitNet, and IDEX. Most of the platforms require you to exchange such cryptos as BTC, ETH, or USDT for ELF. This means you will have first to purchase any of the proxy coins with Fiat.

Aelf also has a reward system known as Candy. Through this system, you get to earn points that you can convert for ELF by carrying out simple tasks such as interacting with Aelf tweets, inviting more users into the Aelf Telegram channel, among other promotional activities. However, a quick check online reveals the Candy program does not seem to be active currently.

Aelf supports a web wallet but recently introduced beta versions of both Android and iOS wallet apps. However, you can use a third-party compatible wallet such as Ledger, KeepKey, Exodus, Coinomi, Trezor, and MyEtherWallet. 


Aelf is a relatively young project, but still holds a ton of potential. The enthusiasm displayed by big-time venture financiers is a testament to how big it could become, and its implications for the blockchain and business spaces. Its strategy to separate resources through side chains and a unique governance model should help propel it to significant heights, both as a blockchain project and as a business model. 

Crypto Guides

What are Sidechains & What is their Purpose?


Sidechains are mechanisms that enable the transfer of existing tokens or digital assets from a blockchain platform to another blockchain platform. The tokens or digital assets can be transferred back to the original blockchain if required. The primary platform from which we transfer the assets is called the parent chain or main chain, while the other platform is called sidechain. Ardor blockchain calls the sidechain as childchain.

Sidechains have enormous potential to transform the existing issues of scalability in the blockchain platforms. The transfer need not be only digital assets or tokens, but we may transfer computing or for speeding purposes as well, depending on the processing requirements. We can have many sidechains for a single parent chain.

How do they work?

Sidechain is indeed a separate blockchain platform connected with the leading blockchain platform using a two-way peg. The two-way peg is a method to convert one digital token to another type of token like BTC to ETH. The two-way peg facilitates the transfer of digital assets at a predetermined rate. A user on the parent chain first sends coins to an output address so that they can be blocked.

To ensure that these coins aren’t spent elsewhere, a protocol is followed. Once the transaction is complete, the information is sent to all the chains. Some extra period is used to wait as well to increase security. Once this is done, the same number of coins are released in the sidechain for user access and spending. The same process can be repeated when the tokens are to be sent from sidechain to the main chain. Some other entities come into the picture to run the sidechains seamlessly. They are as below.


A federation can be called as a group or server which acts between the main chain and a side chain. The sidechain creators can decide federation members. They decide on when to lock the coins and release the coins for spending and vice versa.


The core reason for anyone to move to the blockchain platform is security. So, one may question what about the security aspects in the sidechains. Even though they are connected, they are on their own in terms of security. Both platforms are individual blockchain platforms and are very secure individually.

Further, if there is any disturbance in one platform, the disturbance will not be carried out to the other. The sidechains use separate miners from the main chain. They are incentivized using merged mining. Merged mining refers to the mechanism of mining two or more cryptocurrencies at the same time based on the same algorithm.

Platforms using Sidechains 

Rootstock or RSK

RSK has two-way peg connectivity with the Bitcoin platform. RSK’s vision is to enable smart contracts functionality for bitcoin blockchain, increase scalability, thus faster transactions. Miners are rewarded through merged mining. As of now, the platform supports 100 TPS.


Liquid sidechain proposes instant movement of funds between exchanges without waiting for the delay in confirmation from the bitcoin blockchain. This is the first commercial sidechain developed by Blockstream.

Advantages of Sidechains

  • Enhances the scalability of the mainchain, thus increasing the number of transactions per second.
  • Need not create a sidechain again and again; once created, they can be used for any purpose.
  • They enable the communication between two different coins, which helps in the testing of beta coins in the sidechain before the official launch.


The scalability issues of blockchain technology are addressed in different ways, but sidechains are very promising. The communication between two different cryptocurrencies paves ways to multiple features. Transactions costs and time will be reduced as the burden is less for the mainchain. The concept is going to create a massive change in the blockchain technology in the upcoming future.