Bitcoin may have been the first cryptocurrency, but it wasn’t the first platform to offer decentralized applications (dApps) or smart contracts. That distinction is handed to Ethereum because it is founded on a far more expressive and powerful scripting language. The simplicity of Bitcoin’s scripting language isn’t surprising, given it was the first cryptocurrency, but it makes Bitcoin seem quite basic when compared to the Turing-complete Solidity language used by Ethereum. Solidity is powerful and expressive enough to be used for smart contracts and a large number of other dApps.
This makes it logical that developers have chosen to base their dApps on Ethereum to date, but this has been slowly changing, and if Rootstock has its way this will change dramatically. Rootstock (abbreviated RSK) is aiming to provide a way for developers to create smart contracts and dApps for the Bitcoin platform. Rootstock will give developers a far richer array of development tools, and will re-establish Bitcoin as the leader in blockchain technologies.
Rootstock has Lofty Aspirations
The stated aim of the Rootstock project is to create “a more accessible, flexible and inclusive financial system that will improve the life of billions of people” It’s a lofty goal to be sure, but if successful it will be a revolution in the use of blockchain technology. And if the eventual implementation is done correctly it will put Bitcoin well ahead of competition for dApp platform adoption thanks to the team’s focus on security, stability, instantaneous payments, and Bitcoin friendliness.
Even better, Rootstock is not another competing coin for Bitcoin. Instead it is looking to build on the existing Bitcoin technology and reputation. Bitcoin had been limited by its simple scripting language, but remained the top cryptocurrency by virtue of its early release. With Rootstock added Bitcoin can now realize the full potential of its world-changing technology.
Rootstock will work as a side chain to the Bitcoin main blockchain, literally grafted onto the blockchain and providing a two-way peg that allows Rootstock to use the native value of Bitcoin without needing to mint its own currency. This eliminates any potential competition and strengthens both Bitcoin and Rootstock in the process.
Rootstock Scalability and Security
Anyone with any exposure to cryptocurrencies knows that there are two main focuses for any blockchain platform – scalability and security.
Rootstock will solve the scalability problem for Bitcoin as it is already capable of supporting as many as 100 transactions per second, comparable to the current transactional volume of Paypal. This a major blow to most other platforms, such as Eethereum, which currently supports just 15 transactions per second. Rootstock has achieved its scale through blockchain sharding and probabilistic verification technologies. It is also planning on using protocols that will allow for nearly instantaneous payments to take place.
Security is a non-issue for Rootstock since it is based on the established trust of the Bitcoin blockchain. By using a technique known as merge-mining Rootstock offers the same security as Bitcoin. And since it will also be backed by the existing trust in Bitcoin there will be little to no risk for investors.
Adding to the impressive feature set will be reverse compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. This will allow developers to port dApps from the Ethereum blockchain right to Rootstock. All the existing Ethereum dApps can be easily transferred to Rootstock smoothly and easily. Rootstock will benefit greatly from this compatibility as it will attract Ethereum developers and their dApps to Rootstock.
Of course Rootstock is a new technology, but it is a very logical extenson for the Bitcoin network. We can’t say for sure if Rootstock will increase the value or usage of the Bitcoin network, but it certainly seems to be a value added addition that will keep Bitcoin competitive against the newer blockchain additions such as Cardano and IOTA.