23 Nov
Opinion , Technology

Rootstock: innovation returns to Bitcoin?

Gavin Knight

The stability and performance of Bitcoin price has solidified its dominance as a currency and soon developers may flock to Bitcoin to form sidechains, or extensions, bringing unification to developer innovation and stable economics.

The functionality of 2-Way Peg’s (2WP) creates a bridge for projects like Rootstock enabling developers to use the Ethereum Virtual Machine while tapping into the market of Bitcoin directly. A 2-Way Peg allows users to move Bitcoin into other Blockchains and back enabling sidechain technology. Rootstock’s(RSK) sidechain is merged mined with the Bitcoin network. While there are many models for implementing a 2WP, utilizing merge mining, taps the security of the Bitcoin network, and allows miners to determine the validity of the peg. This does require coordination with mining pools but if the economics are beneficial for miners to merge mine ultimately miners will add the minimal code required to compete for blocks on both chains.

I believe this is the model that brings the best of both Bitcoins PoW and decentralization, and the utility of a 2WP.

Rootstock passed their testnet launch called Turmeric recently and is slated for livenet release in mid-2017. Developers can already start experimenting and deploying testnet applications. In addition, RSK uses the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), giving developers nearly all of the same functionalities as Ethereum, and the familiar Solidity compiler. In some cases, developers will need to modify code, so it’s not identical, but enough so, that most existing Ethereum applications will run without extreme modifications. Let’s see what Rootstock says about the potential in their own words:

“RootStock represents the culmination of 4 years of blockchain technology improvements and it will allow the cryptocurrency ecosystem to make use of the best features of programmable money and payments while increasing bitcoin (the currency) value.

It will allow developers around the globe to create personal and corporate decentralized solutions that run in the most secure network worldwide with low transaction cost that fit an ample range of needs.

It will allow Bitcoin miners to participate in the Smart Contract market adding significant value to the mining industry and ensuring its long term sustainability.

It will contribute to the creation of a broader base of miners strengthening Bitcoin network's security.

It will enable the development of a decentralized, instant and inexpensive financial system that will create inclusion and opportunities for three thousand million people who remain unbanked and financially impaired in our world.”

-Rootstock Whitepaper

Currently RSK is seeking out projects to kickstart Rootstock. One such project is the Wings DAO, who I recently interviewed on our podcast.

Wings chose Rootstock for the benefit of using Bitcoin. As a platform for funding companies, Bitcoin is simply the most practical unit to raise, and the Wings approach may prove to unite the Bitcoin market and crowdfunding, rather than segregate it.