History

Cognitos
2 min readDec 12, 2022

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Nick Szabo, an American computer scientist and cryptographer was the first to introduce Smart contracts — back in 1994. However, smart contracts gained popularity with the introduction of Ethereum, which uses the Solidity language to program the contracts. Bitcoin also supports smart contracts, but one must know opcode programming to use it. This makes smart contracts usage in Bitcoin very limited, not to mention that its capabilities are less too.

To offer full smart contract support on the Bitcoin network, Rootstock was developed. Like Ethereum, Rootstock (or RSK) uses the Solidity language, but it can achieve 100 transactions per second and adds news blocks at 10 seconds average interval, which is lower than the current Ethereum block with an average block interval of 16 seconds.

Nick Szabo

Achievements and expectations

Smart contracts are open-source, self-executing code that runs when certain conditions have been met: have all involved parties signed the transaction? Has the 30 days limit passed and the tokens can be liquidated? Did the ICO reach its soft cap or should the funds be reversed?

The Ethereum platform has been used for many projects, as it lets anyone easily create their own tokens on top of it. Due to its open nature, and due to the fact that the contract code is known in advance and it cannot be changed or altered by malicious actors, many suggest that smart contracts could replace traditional contracts. Smart contracts are fast, they execute immediately and autonomously and there is no way any party could influence it.

However, there is also resistance to this belief: instead of reading a contract written in plain English, the user now has to study the code and understand programming language. Few users have the knowledge to do so and fewer spend the time to go through it. Thus, those who reject smart contracts argue that this system is not “trustless” after all; the users must still trust in the developers and the community — and there have been cases where they failed us.

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Cognitos

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