Ripple’s development team is launching an engineering preview for a massive upgrade to the XRP Ledger (XRPL).
The upgrade, first announced in June, will enable “federated sidechains.” Ripple says these sidechains could unleash decentralized finance (DeFi) and smart contracts across the broader XRP ecosystem without decreasing XRPL’s efficiency.
The engineering preview lets developers view and comment on the technology, as well as experiment with it, according to an announcement from RippleX, the company’s investment and development arm.
David Schwartz, Ripple’s chief technology officer, tells his 281,200 Twitter followers that sidechains will expand the use cases of the XRPL.
Features that are successful on sidechains may eventually be adopted by the XRPL mainnet, according to RippleX.
The sidechains would be connected to the XRPL by “federators,” which are pieces of software run by parties who operate validators on at least one sidechain, as Schwartz has previously explained via blog post. The sidechains would operate like they were their own blockchains, but XRP and issued tokens could move between them and the XRPL.