Blockstream has been busy as of late with a brace of announcements including the release of the Liquid Full Node binaries alongside a new block explorer that lets you track transactions on the Liquid sidechain.
Exploring The Possibilities
The Blockstream Block Explorer enables users to view requested data from the Bitcoin blockchain and Liquid sidechain. The original intention was to allow Liquid sidechain users to cross-check transactions and monitor the network activity. This developed to include Bitcoin blockchain support, and the combined explorer is now available online.
As a Bitcoin explorer, it offers native support of SegWit and bech32 and draws data real-time from a fully updated Bitcoin Core full-node. It also offers Tor support, no analytics or tracking, and monitoring of peg-ins and peg-outs between Bitcoin and Liquid.
Blockstream plans to add more unique features while retaining ease-of-use for the casual user.
The release of the Liquid full node binaries and source code allows any user to join the P2P Liquid Network by operating a full node. It comes complete with wallet support, letting users manage L-BTC and other Liquid assets.
Node operators can also take advantage of Liquid’s advanced confidentiality features. ‘Confidential Transactions’ hides transaction amounts to protect privacy, whilst still being fully verifiable. And ‘Confidential Assets’ maintains the same verifiability whilst masking asset types.
Liquid is an inter-exchange settlement network, built on and compatible with Blockstream’s Elements platform.
But is it Trustless?
One part of the announcement raised some eyebrows; a questionable use of the word trustlessly.
Now any user can join the P2P Liquid Network by operating a full node, in order to trustlessly self-validate the chain just like they can with the Bitcoin network.
Bitcoin Core developer, Matt Corallo, tweeted that perhaps Blockstream was trying to redefine the word. Bitcoin developer Peter Todd, meanwhile, said that “there’s no way in hell that Blockstream should be calling Liquid trustless.”
“It’s just a fancy bank,” he added.
Blockstream CEO Adam Back acknowledged the inaccuracy, noting the trade-offs that come with using a sidechain like Liquid. While it is possible to validate transactions trustlessly (running a full node), there is no “trustless use in general,” conceded Back, who listed the IOU peg and claim risk from the issuer as potential downsides.
yah the tweet diverged from the blog. trustlessly validate yes. trustless use in general? ofc not – peg IOU trust, weaker/different censorship trade-off (fixed signers but more fungibility via CA/CT) & liquid assets have inherent claim risk from issuer (not from functionaries).
— Adam Back (@adam3us) November 7, 2018