Rootstock

The first general purpose smart contract platform secured by the Bitcoin Network.

Its been more than a week since the last article, the biggest pause so far. Unlike here, the things were not quiet at all with so many new projects emerging on a daily basis. A lot of time was spent to stay up to date with all of the new projects, but we stayed uncertain which one is way better than the others to be covered in the more detailed way. We stopped for a minute and from the sea of new promising projects we decided to go back to one that is out there for a while and wants to improve the chain that matters the most — Bitcoin.

Rootstock is in short a combination of the following features:

  • A two-way pegged Bitcoin sidechain (for BTC denominated trade);
  • A Turing-complete virtual machine (for smart contracts);
  • A dynamic hybrid merge-mining/federated consensus protocol (for consensus security), and a low-latency network (for fast payments)

A 2-way peg

Rootstock (RSK) is a smart contract platform that is connected to the Bitcoin blockchain through the sidechain. RSK uses a 2-way peg to allow users to send Bitcoin directly to the Rootstock chain which are than converted into smart Bitcoins on the Rootstock blockchain. These RSK coins can be used to deploy or to interact with smart contracts and dApps on the RSK blockchain.

A 2-way peg (2WP) allows the transfer of bitcoins from the Bitcoin blockchain to a Secondary blockchain and vice-versa. The “transfer” is in fact an illusion: bitcoins are not transferred, but temporarily locked on the Bitcoin blockchain while the same amount of equivalent tokens are unlocked in a secondary blockchain. The original bitcoins can be unlocked when the equivalent amount of tokens on the second blockchain are locked again (in the secondary blockchain). This is essentially the 2WP promise.

Smarter Bitcoin

While Bitcoin already allows users to create simple smart contracts (multisig wallets), RSK Turing-complete VM smart contract will provide capabilities similar to ethereum. Rootstock connection to the most popular, secure and oldest blockchain gives it an advantage over other smart contract platforms.

RSK allows the creation of smart escrow services in which the oracles sign a transactions defining whether it should be executed (or not) without having any contact with the funds under escrow. This means that similar to Ethereum, RSK will allow the creation of crypto-assets (or altcoins) that will be secured by the Bitcoin network.

By introducing the smart contract technology to the Bitcoin network, Rootstock is creating an extremely powerful use case scenario for Bitcoin. Bitcoin is not just a payment system, it is also a development tool that can be used by anyone to deploy decentralized applications and smart contracts.

Merged mining

Merge-mining is a process in which Bitcoin miners can mine both Bitcoin and RSK at the same time, with the same hardware and consuming the same electricity. RSK merge-mining uses the same cryptographic hash function as Bitcoin (SHA256). However there is an important difference: Bitcoin always uses double SHA256, while RSK merge-mining security is of single SHA256.

The RSK blockchain is secured by proof-of-work based on SHA256D algorithm (same algorithm that Bitcoin uses). This enables Bitcoin miners to mine on both chains at the same time with exactly the same resources and with no performance harm on Bitcoin mining.

Tokens

When Bitcoins are transferred onto the RSK platform, they are converted into SmartBitcoins (SBTC) and they will have the same value as normal BTC and their quantity will not exceed the quantity of BTC. SBTC can be used to deploy or to interact with smart contracts and dApps on the RSK blockchain.

The RIF Token is intended to be a utility token allowing any token holder to consume most of the services that are compatible with the architecture of and integrated to the RIFOS. Such services may include third party-developed infrastructure services, and any other apps that might be deployed on RSK protocol that agrees to accept RIF Tokens as a means of accessing/consuming the service or app.

The integration with RIFOS will require such service providers to accept RIF Tokens. Having a common consumption token option across all services will benefit developers by simplifying their setup and avoiding distortions around pricing for the multiple infrastructure services that will be required to develop Blockchain-based applications.

The RIFOS may also integrate tools and mechanisms to allow for incentive programmes (think bonus points or loyalty programmes) for companies and developers that choose to allow the consumption of or access to their services through the use of RIF Tokens. Such incentive programmes will be aimed at generating a positive network effect for the use of RIF Tokens within the ecosystem

Timeline

Rootstock was introduced in December 2015. and soon after the company RSK Labs was founded in order to implement the proposed platform. RSK is an evolution of QixCoin, a turing-complete cryptocurrency created back in 2013 by the same development team.

In March 2016, $1 million was raised by the company and again in May 2017, another $3,5 millions were raised from private investors and improved RSK Testnet, code-named Ginger was launched. List of investors include Bitmain, Bitfury and Anthony Di Iorio, CEO of Decentral and Jaxx .

Production-ready network, code-named Bamboo is active with latest V0.4.4 release from July 11th.

Whitepaper

The original whitepaper is dated from November, 2015. and is followed by technical papers released in following years.

RSK team is very active on their blog and they are often releasing data about progress and details of project. You can check it out at https://media.rsk.co/

Team

Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar, CEO & Co-Founder

Ruben Altman, co-founder

Adrián Eidelman, co-founder

Sergio Demian Lerner, co-founder & Chief Scientist at RSK Labs

Adrian Garelik, co-founder

Social media

Webpage: https://www.rsk.co/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RSKsmart

Telegram: https://t.me/RSKsmartcontracts

RSK Blog: https://media.rsk.co/

Verdict

By introducing the smart contract technology to the Bitcoin network, Rootstock is creating an extremely powerful use case scenario for Bitcoin by using all the advantages of the Bitcoin blockchain — proven security, wide distribution and awareness, strong hashing power and enabling at the same time ability to execute ethereum smart contracts on a bitcoin blockchain.

While there is not an official date, the rumour is that mainnet 1.0 will go live in 6–9 months from now in Q4 2018. Current beta version of mainnet is able to provide 100 TPS with a promise of 1000 TPS in a future.

We are interested in this project because of the close connection to the Bitcoin blockchain. Is this the thing we need to improve the use case for Bitcoin and trigger the next crypto bull run?


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