1- An introduction to the RSK ecosystem.
Bitcoin was, and will forever be, the greatest discovery of recent times. Comparable only to the Internet itself, the wheel and fire. It cannot help to completely revolutionize the way we interact with each other, the way we organise, and even the way we think.
At first we were all united under one mission, one goal, to decentralise money, and create a fair future for all.
However, many people have figured out that it is not difficult to launch a new cryptocurrency, and make it work similar to Bitcoin. Even some believed you could create something better. Something that wouldn’t allow only for peer to peer trading and exchanging value, but rather a complete decentralised financial system or DEFI for short.
This attracted many people to the space and it has grown massively since then. However there was always a crowd who hesitated to do all this. While the innovation and technology had real use cases, and could in fact work to make individuals more resilient and independent (Some of Bitcoin’s core values). The fact that you needed to abandon the original BTC chain to participate in this new ecosystem, and move to another with a different set of rules, and rulers, was a dealbreaker.
There are certainly many things that would pause someone when thinking of moving towards something like Ethereum. Firstly, the money policy keeps changing. Secondly, a few key players have a significant amount of influence on the future of the protocol. Thirdly, they are moving away from Proof of Work to a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism, which is still a very much theoretical model and has not been tested at sufficient scale.
And most importantly of all, you have to part with your BTC, which for most of us represents the greatest asset you could ever own.
So here comes RSK, created by those who looked at Ethereum innovations, it’s smart contracts that enabled a decentralised financial system to be built. While also taking into account all the drawbacks of creating a separate ecosystem from Bitcoin and abandoning the hardest property conceived by mankind.
They thought to themselves, that there must be a way to bridge these two worlds and get the best out of them. To create an ecosystem enabling smart contracts and DEFI and doing it all on a Layer 2 sitting on the Bitcoin main chain.
Thus RSK was born, using a set of unique characteristics that set it apart from all the other chains.
2- RSK’s main elements:
This new chain is in fact a “SideChain” of Bitcoin. This means that it exists separate from it, but it’s deeply intertwined. There are many reasons why you cannot build all this stuff directly on Bitcoin, since its code needs to be as simple as possible to make it more secure and resilient. So, a SideChain represents the best way to have this innovation, while still have your link to BTC, which offers you security and stability unparalleled in all the world of cryptocurrencies.
The native Token of RSK is called rBTC or “Smart Bitcoin ‘’, this one has a 1:1 collateral ratio with the original Bitcoin, and mimics its price movements perfectly. This means that if BTC goes up, rBTC does it too, and at any moment you can swap back from rBTC to BTC and back. You can think of it as the Bitcoin main chain being your “Vault” where your money is the safest, but also has the least utility. Every time you want to use any financial products, you can just hop over to the other network, do what you need to, without ever parting with your coins, or invest in other “assets” who’s price action is not correlated with Bitcoin. This alone puts RSK in a class of its own, as the creators did not issue any “new money” and tried to become wealthy from it, but rather only seek to give BTC more utility.
The other major way that links these two chains together is the mining aspect. Once again here RSK completely detaches themselves from the rest of the “Alt-Coin” pack. Other chains had to create their own mining infrastructure, which could never dreamed of getting as big as the one powering the Bitcoin network. This fact alone shows how much more secure BTC is from all the rest. The fresh new approach RSK employs, is not to build a separate mining infrastructure, but rather to reinforce the already existing one.
Simply put, RSK and Bitcoin both use the same mining network. The Bitcoin miner can mine both chains simultaneously, with no extra cost, and get paid from both. This means that almost every dollar spent on fees on RSK ends up in the BTC miners pocket, which allows them to further invest in their infrastructure, as their business is now more profitable. In doing so, the strength of the strongest mining network in the world, second to none, grows even stronger.
Just by these facts one can start to understand that RSK was built by Bitcoiners for Bitcoiners. By using this platform, instead of all the other smart contract alternatives, you get to keep your funds tied to Bitcoin, and help make the original chain stronger.
RSK is also EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible, which allows for almost every code deployed on ETH to be quickly adapted to it. So every popular platform could be ported, every service provided, every technological advancement can be incorporated. Which brings up the question, what would happen if everything built on ETH could be put to the service of Bitcoin itself through RSK?
Certainly a thought worth entertaining, with possibilities limited only by our own imagination.
To conclude this first overview of the RSK blockchain I will just add that this is the most exciting ecosystem being developed other than Bitcoin itself. It is still in its infancy but is already showing signs of great excitement, it has a devoted community, and many teams working very hard to produce valuable services. In future articles we will be taking a look at them, one by one.
We have heard that Bitcoin layer 2 would bring us all the innovation of ETH onto Bitcoin itself, not only to have decentralised money, but a complete, robust and working decentralised financial system. One that could operate globally, with no borders in a trustless and permissionless way. I think RSK has positioned itself perfectly for this task.
As the markets now continue to fall, it is becoming clearer which project has been built on solid ground, and which one was nothing more than a house of cards. RSK here stands tall and proud, differentiating itself even more from the rest.
It is my belief and prediction, that this will do wonders for the ecosystem, and attract developers, users and investors alike. As we all want to tie ourselves and our wealth (little as it may be) to where it has the best chance to endure and grow, where we can remain in control and retain full ownership of our digital assets.
For more info check: https://www.rsk.co/