In 2008 Satoshi Nakamoto revolutionized payments by creating Bitcoin. Bitcoin included a very limited implementation of the so-called “smart contracts”, a concept introduced back in 1993 by Nick Szabo. Since then, a lot of research has been dedicated to the creation of new cryptocurrencies that support full Turing complete distributed programs. Now there is a widespread confidence that useful, secure and deterministic virtual machines can be built to achieve this goal. We believe that new use cases are necessary in order for Bitcoin to become the leading global cryptocurrency, and that adding smart-contract capabilities is key to secure that future. With that in mind we created RSK, a smart-contract platform that incorporates a Turing Complete Virtual Machine to Bitcoin. It also provides other enhancement to the network such as faster transactions and better scalability, features that we also believe will enable new usage scenarios. RSK is an evolution of QixCoin, a turing-complete cryptocurrency created back in 2013 by the same development team. RSK provides an improved payment experience with near instant confirmations. It achieves currently 300 tps and confirms most payments in less than 20 seconds. And yet, is still based on the same security guarantees Bitcoin has, supporting SHA-256D merged mining. RSK works as a Bitcoin Sidechain. When Bitcoins are transferred into the RSK blockchain, they become “SmartBitcoins” (SBTC). SmartBitcoins are equivalent to bitcoins living in the RSK blockchain, and they can be transferred back to Bitcoins at any time at no additional cost (except for standard RSK transaction fees). SBTC is the base currency used on the RSK sidechain to pay miners for transaction and contract processing. There is no currency issuance: all SBTC are created from Bitcoins coming from the Bitcoin blockchain.
RSK enhances Bitcoin in the following areas:
• Turing-complete RSK Virtual Machine (RVM) allowing smart-contracts
• Average first confirmation of transactions in 10 seconds
• Safe merged mining combining PoW with backup threshold-signature based federation mining
• Embedded low-delay fast relay backbone into peer-to-peer gossip network.
• Two-way pegging using sidechains (currently a federated peg, fully automatic peg subject to Bitcoin improvements)
Acronyms: “RSK” refers to the Rootstock (the platform), related terms are “RSK protocol” (the specification) and “RSK reference node” (the reference implementation), the native RSK currency is the “SmartBitcoin”, and “SBTC” is the symbol of the SmartBitcoin currency, “BTC” refers to the Bitcoin currency and “Bitcoin” refers to the Bitcoin protocol.RSK_White_Paper-Overview