I don’t know when, but believe that we will see Bitcoin side-chains being implemented, launched and adopted by the overall Bitcoin community. Why? Because really motivated and experienced people are funded to work on it.
Though bitcoins are virtual tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain (one could compare this to tokens in Maidsafe where, if I’m not mistaken, the tokens are actually real tokens), they will most likely be spendable back and forth between the chains. The implications are huge.
All of these coins that have been able to compete with Bitcoin by introducing features that Bitcoin, for one or the other reason have not implemented, will suddenly be competing with Bitcoin side-chains that will be able to offer the very same thing. Do you want anonymous tokens, probably a side-chain will be able to offer that and since Bitcoin has the network effect going for it, resistance is likely futile.
One way to think of the crypto currency landscape, is to view it as a purchasing power sink. So much money is being spent on betting on the coins that offers that which Bitcoin does not. Think of all of these coins as a big pool to which money is flowing. When Bitcoin suddenly offers these very same features, there will be little point holding these other coins and the purchasing power will flow to bitcoins instead. Everyone holding coins that no longer has anything to offer, will sell and buy bitcoins.
One has to remember, while a plethora of new side-chains will spring up from nowhere, the bitcoins themselves will move between the side-chains, so even though there will be more chains there will not be more bitcoins.
This is going to push bitcoins to even greater heights, which will make speculators even more eager to sell their coins and join the bitcoins rally. Fundamentally it will be the sound thing to do and since the AltCoins will be crashing in value, it will make perfectly sense to do so from a purely speculative point of view.
What about Peercoin?
Well, one feature that Peercoin offers that Bitcoin does not, is Proof-of-Stake. I don’t expect to see a Bitcoin side-chain offering PoS of stake, at least not as implemented in Peercoin. I could be wrong, but I simply don’t see it right now. Bitcoin believers and devs are against it and well, that’s a bad argument because someone else could do it but if the side-chains are implemented in such a way that Bitcoin requires Proof-of-Work to move then coins, the odds of it happening even less so.
If (and only if the above is true) then suddenly Bitcoin might out compete every other coins besides the PoS coins. This will eliminate much of the Peercoin competition which should push up the price of peercoins, because Peercoin is in my view the best hedge/bet against PoW.