What is Rootstock (RSK)? DeFi built on Bitcoin

Rootstock is a platform that helps boost the functionality of the Bitcoin network by allowing for smart contracts, apps, and quicker transactions, all while upholding high-level security.

It's compatible with Ethereum, allowing for easy migration or integration of Ethereum-based applications. Rootstock aims to foster a more decentralized financial ecosystem through Bitcoin's security and adding features like smart contracts and merged mining.


  • Rootstock overview: RSK is a secure platform connected to Bitcoin that enables smart contracts and fast transactions. It also supports Ethereum, promoting decentralized finance.

  • Merged mining: RSK and Bitcoin work together when mining, saving power and making the process smoother. Using Bitcoin's security, RSK is protected, and the network stays strong.

  • Ethereum compatibility: RSK enables the use of Ethereum's smart contracts on its platform. This links Bitcoin and Ethereum, combining the strong security of Bitcoin with the smart contract capabilities of Ethereum.

  • DeFi and scalability: RSK is great at decentralized finance (DeFi). It has many applications and stablecoins. It's faster and can handle more transactions than Bitcoin.

  • Community and development: RSK has a thriving community and offers developers a variety of resources, such as a developer portal, documentation, and funding programs, to support growth in the ecosystem.

What is Rootstock (RSK) and how does it work?

Rootstock (RSK) is a sophisticated smart contract platform integrated with the Bitcoin network, providing additional functionality and scalability to Bitcoin's capabilities. It's built on top of Bitcoin, leveraging its security and network effects while introducing the flexibility and advantages of smart contracts.

The RSK network uses merged mining with Bitcoin, allowing miners to mine two cryptocurrencies simultaneously without needing extra computing power. This method increases efficiency and guarantees that RSK can take advantage of the strong security measures built into the Bitcoin platform.

One notable aspect of RSK is its ability to facilitate smart contracts and its compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This feature enables the implementation of self-executing programs that follow predetermined rules, expanding the capabilities of Bitcoin. Additionally, the EVM compatibility allows developers who are familiar with Ethereum tools and languages like Solidity to build decentralized applications (DApps) effortlessly on the RSK platform. This effectively bridges the gap between the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities.

RSK employs a two-way pegging method called Powpeg to transfer Bitcoin to and from its blockchain. This involves locking BTC on the Bitcoin network and unlocking an equal amount of RBTC on the RSK chain. RBTC acts as the primary token for transaction fees on the RSK network. The pegging procedure maintains a 1:1 value ratio between BTC and RBTC, guaranteeing a steady and reliable transfer of value between the two chains.

The platform also offers the RSK Infrastructure Framework (RIF) services, which provide a range of infrastructure solutions to support the development of DApps. These services include payment options, identity verification, and marketplace functionalities aimed at effectively reducing development time and scaling projects.

RSK surpasses the Bitcoin network in both scalability and transaction speed. Its block time is considerably shorter and it can handle a greater number of transactions per second, tackling the scalability challenges Bitcoin faces. This advancement is vital in enabling a broader array of applications and accommodating higher transaction volumes on the network.

RSK also plays a pivotal role in the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector and supports various stablecoins. It hosts numerous DeFi applications, including platforms for lending, borrowing, and trading, as well as stablecoins pegged to different fiat currencies. These applications are secured by the Bitcoin network, offering a robust foundation for financial innovation.

In addition, RSK has a robust community supporting it and provides abundant resources for developers. These include a specialized developer portal, thorough documentation, and a bounty initiative to foster continuous progress and growth within the RSK ecosystem.

What is merged mining and how does it benefit Rootstock?

Merged mining involves a miner solving cryptographic puzzles for two blockchains simultaneously. This requires creating blocks for both networks simultaneously. If a miner successfully solves a block, the solution is applied to both the primary chain (Bitcoin) and the secondary chain (Rootstock). This allows for the protection of both networks with the same amount of computational power from miners.

Enhanced security

Using merged mining, RSK can leverage the robust and well-established hashing power of Bitcoin, which is among the strongest and most trustworthy in cryptocurrency. This integration enables RSK to have a level of protection comparable to Bitcoin, safeguarding it from potential threats and increasing its durability and dependability.

Efficiency for miners

Merged mining is efficient since it doesn't require them to split their hashing power or buy additional hardware. Miners can mine both Bitcoin and RSK simultaneously, maximizing their potential earnings and contributing to the security of both networks without incurring additional costs.

Network stability

Merged mining contributes to the stability of the RSK network. With a large group of miners from Bitcoin also securing RSK, the network becomes less susceptible to fluctuations in miner participation, which can affect smaller, less established blockchains. This stability is crucial for maintaining consistent block times and network performance.

Incentives for Bitcoin miners

Through merged mining, Bitcoin miners can receive transaction fees from both the Bitcoin and RSK networks. This added benefit may entice more miners to join the RSK network, strengthening its security and wellbeing.

How does Rootstock's compatibility with Ethereum work?

This compatibility primarily stems from RSK's design to support the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) — the core of Ethereum's smart contract capabilities. This means that smart contracts made for Ethereum can easily transition to RSK. As a result, projects developed on Ethereum can smoothly move to RSK, taking advantage of Bitcoin's worth and the robust computing capabilities of the Bitcoin network through merge mining.

RSK differentiates itself by being a Bitcoin sidechain rather than a competing chain. It bolsters the security and development of the Bitcoin network through merge-mining, a process wherein miners can simultaneously mine on both Bitcoin and RSK without requiring additional resources.

This process allows RSK to validate transactions, create blocks, and send them to the Bitcoin blockchain, all while benefiting from Bitcoin's renowned security. In contrast to Ethereum's proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, RSK uses proof-of-work, which is known for its advantages in security and decentralization.

Regarding interoperability, RSK supports seamless asset and data transfers between Bitcoin and Ethereum networks. This expands the possibilities for DApps and cross-chain transactions. The ecosystem of RSK includes various projects and DApps, like decentralized exchanges, stablecoins, and identity solutions, showcasing its real-world applications and growing adoption.

RSK offers several advantages over other smart contract platforms, including enhanced security (being secured by the Bitcoin network), higher scalability (with faster transaction processing than Bitcoin), and developer-friendliness (owing to its compatibility with EVM smart contracts). The smart contracts on RSK are autonomous, removing the need for intermediaries and offering Ethereum-style computation and scripting backed by Bitcoin's hash rate.

RSK solves the restrictions of Ethereum by providing quicker block intervals (approximately 34 seconds, in contrast to Bitcoin's longer time) and enabling Ethereum-like smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain. By connecting Ethereum and Bitcoin, this link removes the requirement for centralized exchanges and allows the transfer of DApps from Ethereum to RSK, enhancing the platform's practicality.

How does Rootstock provide security?

Rootstock (RSK) stands out with its unique security features, which are heavily intertwined with the Bitcoin network. Here's an analysis of how Rootstock provides security:

Merged mining with Bitcoin

Merged mining is a robust security measure that allows miners to mine Bitcoin and Rootstock simultaneously, using over fifty percent of Bitcoin's computational resources. This makes it easy for miners to support both Bitcoin and Rootstock without using extra effort or resources. This is possible because RSK uses the same powerful security system as Bitcoin, called proof-of-work.

Federated sidechain model

RSK employs a hybrid Federated sidechain model. This model involves semi-trusted third parties (STTPs), known as the Federation, responsible for securing locked funds during cross-chain transfers. The Federation's role is crucial in maintaining the integrity and security of the two-way peg process between RSK and Bitcoin.

Although this introduces a degree of trust, the process is highly automated, and the Federation's actions are auditable, enhancing the security of the pegging process.

Transition to drivechain model

RSK is evolving towards a drivechain model, where the custody of locked bitcoins is shifted to merge-miners instead of the Federation. This reduces the need for trust and simplifies the pegging process. The transition to a drivechain model, pending a soft-fork Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP), will further decentralize and secure the platform.

SmartBitcoin (SBTC) pegging

RSK uses SmartBitcoin (SBTC), pegged to Bitcoin. This system makes sure that BTC is locked on the primary Bitcoin blockchain and an equivalent amount of SBTC is unlocked on RSK during transfers, and vice versa. This pegging mechanism plays a crucial role in maintaining the security of cross-chain asset transfers

Smart contract functionality and EVM compatibility

RSK adds smart contract functionality to the Bitcoin ecosystem, and its RSK Virtual Machine (RVM) allows for Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible smart contracts. This compatibility not only expands the use cases for RSK but also maintains the security standards set by established platforms like Ethereum.

How can developers and users get involved with Rootstock?

Rootstock (RSK) offers many opportunities for developers and users to engage with its ecosystem and deploy Ethereum-compatible smart contracts on the Bitcoin network.

For developers

  • Developer Portal: Rootstock's Developer Portal is a comprehensive resource that provides documentation and tools for building on the Rootstock blockchain. The portal allows developers to embrace the vast Bitcoin network.

  • Contribute and innovate: Developers can participate in the Rootstock network, implement intelligent contracts, and bring fresh ideas. The platform promotes the use of familiar solidity resources and libraries, making it easily attainable for those with prior experience in Ethereum development.

  • Grants program: Rootstock has a strategic grants program, offering funding up to $2.5 million for developers to build DeFi projects and DApps on the Rootstock ecosystem. This program includes mentorship and marketing support for successful applicants.

For users

  • Engaging with DApps: Rootstock allows users to discover and engage with various DApps like Sovryn, Money on Chain, and Liquality, all of which provide creative financial solutions.

  • Community participation: You can join the Rootstock community through Discord and Telegram. Here, followers can contribute to discussions, AMAs, and stay up to date on developments.

  • Ambassador program: Enthusiasts can become ambassadors, promoting Rootstock and fostering greater adoption and understanding of the platform.

The final word

RSK improves the Bitcoin network by incorporating smart contracts and increasing transaction speed without sacrificing security. It also supports Ethereum, making it simple to incorporate Ethereum-based applications and promoting a decentralized financial environment. Merged mining is used to secure both Bitcoin and RSK by miners effectively.

By being compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), RSK allows developers familiar with Ethereum to effortlessly create on the RSK platform, connecting the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities. Its Powpeg system, which allows for two-way pegging, guarantees smooth Bitcoin transactions using RBTC as the main token. With its ability to handle more transactions than Bitcoin, RSK plays a crucial role in DeFi.

RSK offers a platform for DeFi projects and backing for multiple stablecoins, creating a solid base for financial advancement on the Bitcoin blockchain. Its active community and abundant resources, such as a Developer Portal and funding opportunities, make RSK a dynamic hub for developers and individuals seeking to discover the possibilities of smart contracts and applications on Bitcoin.

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