RSK – Rootstock Open-Source Smart Contract Bitcoin Technology?
RSK is a way to introduce Ethereum-style smart contracts to the bitcoin blockchain. Find out everything you need to know about RSK today in our review.
What Is RSK?
Ethereum has quickly become one of the world’s most popular digital currencies. A lot of Ethereum’s rise is related to its smart contract technology. Thanks to RSK, smart contract technology can be added to the bitcoin blockchain.
The project was first announced earlier in 2017. In an interview, RSK’s co-founder, Gabriel Kurman, described that RSK’s private testnet would become a public testnet on May 22 at the 2017 Consensus conference. RSK launched on bitcoin’s mainnet a month later.
The name “RSK”, by the way, comes from the word “rootstock”, described as “a horizontal, usually underground stem that often sends off roots and shoots from its nodes”.
Overall, RSK is the first open-source smart contract platform with “a 2-way peg to bitcoin” that also rewards the bitcoin miners via merge-mining, allowing them to actively participate in the Smart Contract revolution.
How Does RSK Work?
Essentially, RSK enables the execution of smart contracts. Smart contracts are computerized transaction protocols that execute the terms of a contract.
Ethereum – and now RSK – are attractive to developers because they provide additional scripting opportunities through the use of smart contracts. Bitcoin’s scripting system is limited on purpose (for security reasons). With RSK and Ethereum’s smart contract systems, users can create more expressive scripting systems.
Essentially, that makes Ethereum a programmable blockchain. Instead of giving users a set of predefined operations – like how bitcoin can only be used for transactions – smart contracts allow companies to use the Ethereum blockchain for a wide range of purposes.
This is why Ethereum serves as a platform for many different types of decentralized blockchain applications – like cryptocurrencies and other DApps.
RSK saw all of these Ethereum advantages and decided to implement a solution for bitcoin’s blockchain.
In layman’s terms, that means developers could release an app onto Ethereum and RSK similar to the way developers release an app onto iOS and Android. The platforms are different, but work in a similar way overall.
Advantages Of RSK
One of the most important advantages of RSK is scalability, which could be the biggest bitcoin buzzword of 2017.
Ginger, the public release of RSK’s open source testnet network, can run smart contracts in a platform capable of scaling up to 2000 transactions per second on chain and 20,000 transactions per second off chain. As the RSK.co official website explains, that’s how RSK is “providing the scalability needed for global financial solutions.”
The other advantage of RSK is that it doesn’t force users to choose between Ethereum and bitcoin when they want to take advantage of smart contracts: RSK allows developers to implement smart contract solutions onto the bitcoin blockchain.
Here are some of the advertised features of RSK.
RSK believes in bitcoin and supports the community. However, they acknowledge that the lack of Turing-complete smart-contract capabilities may hamstring bitcoin before it fully achieves its potential. RSK provides the missing technical needs.
Doesn’t Compete With Bitcoin
RSK does not mint coins, nor does it have pre-mined coins. It has no speculative value, and does not compete with bitcoin. Instead, it complements bitcoin.
The security of RSK is the developers’ main priority. RSK’s blockchain is secured by “merge-mining”, which means that the blockchain can achieve the same security as bitcoin in terms of double-spend prevention and settlement finality. At first, the 2-way peg security relies in a federation holding custody of bitcoins. Later, it will switch to an automatic peg, when the community accepts the security trade-offs of the automatic peg.
RSK can scale far beyond bitcoin in its current state. RSK scales to 100 transactions per second (the same level as PayPal) without sacrificing decentralization and reducing storage and bandwidth usage using probabilistic verification and fraud proofs, as well as blockchain sharding techniques.
Instant payments help bitcoin compete in a crucial area: transaction speed. Ever since bitcoin was created, there has been a race to provide faster transaction confirmations. The instant payments in RSK allow for new use cases, like retail store payments and online gaming transactions.
vRSK’s instant payments are facilitated by carefully chosen parameters and new theoretical protocols (with names like DECOR+GHOST) that allows for the creation of blocks at 10 seconds on average interval, with low stale block rates and no additional centralization incentives.
RSK’s founders, also known as the original rootstockers, include Sergio Demián Lerner, Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar, Rubén Ariel Altman, Adrián Eidelman, Gabriel Kurman, and Adrián Garelik.
The organization has partnered with some of the biggest names in the bitcoin community, including Coinsilium, Bitmain, Digital Currency Group, BitPay, and WINGS.
RSK could change the future of bitcoin as we know it. In fact, it’s already changing the cryptocurrency world as we know it. You can view the latest stats and transaction data for RSK at their official stats page.