Bringing BTC to Polkadot: Acala x Ren

Ruitao Su
Published in
4 min readJul 22, 2020


In collaboration with Ren, we are bringing Bitcoin — and in future other currently isolated asset classes — onto the Acala Network and into the wider Polkadot multi-chain universe!

This is a key step in the cross chain DeFi journey as it enables permissionless transfers of value between blockchains. Through its RenVM, the protocol has so far been enabling BTC, BCH and ZEC to fuel Ethereum DeFi use cases. Since Acala is a Polkadot finance hub offering a suite of DeFi primitives — multi-collateralized stablecoin, staking derivative and decentralized exchange to enable cross-chain DeFi — the collaboration with Ren was a natural fit. Providing a high performance, highly liquid, and easily accessible DeFi experience for the broader web3 community is a goal both teams share.

The Ren team have been working closely with Acala for the past couple of months and we are thrilled to release the integration on Acala’s Mandala testnet. We hope it will launch a new age of cross chain DeFi activity and will become a key step towards powerful web3 finance.

Ren x Acala Flow

Ren built with Acala by deploying its RenVM bridge module on the Acala Network. The BTC gateway is provided by RenVM, while minting and burning of renBTC on Acala are provided by this gateway module. This collaboration will boost the asset classes available on Acala and bring brand new use cases for Bitcoin:

  • renBTC can be used as collateral for aUSD credit facility
  • renBTC can be traded on Acala DeX for other assets like DOT, LDOT, ACA, aUSD, XBTC
  • Users can now take part in Polkadot Proof-of-Stake validation and earn staking returns by trading DOT and using the staking derivative protocol
  • Providing liquidity to DeX and earning additional yields is now a smooth flow
  • aUSD can be transferred to the Laminar Chain for margin trading synthetic forex pairs e.g. EURUSD, gold and stocks, and synthetic BTC & ETH.

The renBTC Opportunities

We have also integrated renBTC as a native transaction fee token. A new user account only holding renBTC can transact on Acala from the very start using renBTC to pay fees. Initially, the transaction fees for minting renBTC on Acala will be waived without compromising on security. This essentially makes renBTC on Acala a powerful cross-chain DeFi steroid propelling the space forward.

For projects like Ren, looking to gain access to Polkadot’s multi-chain ecosystem, building on Acala is a technically and economically superior alternative to building a separate blockchain (or so-called parachain). As RenVM was released to Mainnet, a new era of cross-chain interoperability could begin and we are delighted Acala is one of the first integrations the Ren team decided to complete.

“The Ren team is very excited to be working with Acala on this initiative. This is a key step in Ren’s larger vision of enabling permissionless transfers of value between any blockchain. Fluid interoperability for the crypto ecosystem is coming to fruition and we couldn’t be more thrilled to take the first step.” — Taiyang Zhang, Ren CEO

Your first opportunity to test drive the integration will be the Acala Mandala Festival Season #3, starting Monday, July 27th. We’ll run a cross-chain trading competition co-hosted with Ren and Laminar where you’ll get to mint renBTC, swap tokens and provide liquidity via DeX. There will be a lot of exciting things to get involved with for three full weeks so make sure you join our community channels and keep your eyes on Twitter.

About Ren

Ren is an open protocol that enables the permissionless and private transfer of value between any blockchain.

Website | Docs | Telegram | Announcements | Twitter | Reddit | Github

About Acala

Acala is a first-of-its-kind decentralized finance consortium with a vision to bring financial stability, liquidity and accessibility to the mainstream. The Acala Network is a cross-chain finance hub for the Polkadot ecosystem and beyond. It offers a suite of financial primitives: a multi-collateralized stablecoin backed by cross-chain assets like Bitcoin, a trustless staking derivative and a decentralized exchange to unleash liquidity and power financial innovations. It is the go-to open platform for finance-oriented dApps to deploy to using smart contracts or built-in protocols with out-of-box cross-chain capabilities, security and financial optimizations.

Join Us

Learn more about Acala on, Medium, Twitter, GitHub and Acala Wiki. You can join our community on Discord, Telegram and Riot Chat. Any inquiries, please email or DM us.

To keep up to date with progress on the Acala launch, subscribe to the Acala Newsletter.