If blockchain technology is to live up to its promise, then it must be possible to conduct atomic transactions that span multiple blockchains. Different institutions will require different blockchains to manage different resources, and even within a single institution it may make sense to split a blockchain into multiple shards (distinct co-operating chains) for load balancing, administrative ease, and security. Simple examples of atomic cross-chain transactions include swapping one currency for another, exchanging currency for tokenized goods, or transfer of custody in a supply chain. Atomic cross-chain transactions are central to digital rights management, allowing payments in return for access to digital content.
Professor, Computer Science
PhD Student, Computer Science