RSK Labs — better known as Rootstock — has announced the launch of the “Turmeric” release of its platform. Representing the beginning of the RSK Testnet Network, Turmeric is intended to allow developers to test their distributed applications and tools, and will be gradually opened to the public.
Described by its creators as “the first open-source smart contract platform with a 2-way peg to Bitcoin that also rewards the Bitcoin miners via merged mining,” RSK raised $1 million in funding from Bitmain Technologies, Coinsilium and the Digital Currency Group in March of 2016 to complete the development of its technical plans.
Trezor hardware wallet architect, Marek “Slush” Palatinus, who also founded the world's first bitcoin mining pool, gave a strong statement of support for Rootstock in a tweet that was widely shared: “Impressed by @RSKsmart development. I especially like it's not an altcoin, but they build on top of bitcoin. This may be a next big thing.”
Legendary cryptographer Nick Szabo retweeted with a comment: “Best of Bitcoin (currency and settlement system) + best of Ethereum (smart contract programming environment).”
One year ago, Sergio Demián Lerner, one of the founders of RSK, described RSK as an "improved version of the Ethereum virtual machine as a Bitcoin sidechain."
Lerner is the author of the RSK whitepaper, last updated in December 2015. In the introduction, Lerner explains that RSK is a smart contract platform that adds a Turing Complete Virtual Machine — a “world computer” — to Bitcoin. Additionally, RSK achieves 300 transactions per second and confirms most payments in less than 20 seconds, while leveraging Bitcoin's proof of work security.
RSK is a Bitcoin Sidechain — a separate blockchain that carries a separate token but is able to exchange tokens back and forth with the main Bitcoin blockchain. Users can move bitcoin to the RSK chain, make use of the converted bitcoin, and then eventually move their tokens back, as bitcoin, to the main blockchain.
To put bitcoin back into the main Bitcoin blockchain, a RSK transaction fee has to be paid. There is no concept of mining for coin creation, since all coins come from the Bitcoin blockchain, but there is the all-important concept of merged mining: miners can run both blockchains and receive fees for validating bitcoin transactions as well as for running RSK contracts. It is expected that merged mining should provide sufficient incentives to miners.
“We believe in Bitcoin,” states the RSK website. “The lack of Turing-complete smart-contracts capabilities may become an obstacle to Bitcoin’s growth to its full potential. RSK provides the missing technical needs, as a blockchain with a 2-way peg to Bitcoin. As RSK does not mint, nor has pre-mined coins, it has no speculative value and does not compete with Bitcoin.”
In related news, Decentral, creators of the universal wallet Jaxx, announced the integration of RSK, described as “Smart Bitcoin,” into their suite of software products. “Jaxx becomes the first blockchain wallet to effect the integration, which will give users an opportunity to access the testnet version of the token, powered by smart contracts secured by the bitcoin network.”
The announcement was made at laBITconf, held in Buenos Aires on November 4 and 5.
“Rootstock’s platform is a remarkable way to enhance the the efficiency of transactions and in turn, the entire bitcoin ecosystem,” said Jaxx CEO Anthony Di Iorio in a statement. “We’ve seen great interest in their project and we are big fans of the development team. Jaxx is thrilled to add the yellow label version of their coin on our wallets, and look forward to adding the main-net version in the coming months.”
“Rootstock is not new in that it inherits intellectual work from previous projects, but what is new, is the way we create economic incentives and the way we leverage on top of the bitcoin security model,” added RSK Co-Founder, Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar. “Our partnership with Jaxx is a landmark one for us, because they produce full featured, easy to use wallets on more platforms than anyone else.”