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Please explain the IOV, RSK, RIF branding structure. Are RIF and RSK going to become one organization?

IOV Labs operates as a purpose driven organization focused on promoting and developing the next generation of open blockchain-based infrastructure that will enable worldwide financial inclusion and bridge the gap between this nascent technology and mass adoption and is the organization behind RSK and RIF platforms.

For more information visit: IOV Labs

What is RSK?

RSK is the first general purpose smart contract platform secured by the Bitcoin Network.

What is a smart contract?

Smart contracts are contracts whose terms are encoded in computer language instead of legal language. Smart contracts can be executed by a computing network such as RSK, so that the terms of the contracts are automatically enforced by a protocol that all nodes in the network follow.

A smart contract can be fully autonomous if all the objects referred (such as currency, payments, obligations, property titles, assets, licenses) have a digital representation in the platform. When there is no such digital representation for an object, a smart contract can also refer to itself and react to changes in its state through special gateway nodes called oracles that provide external information to the blockchain. A smart contract also has access to time with minute precision, so time-restricted conditions can be represented.

A few examples of smart contracts are:


Distributed voting systems

Machine to machine payments

Decentralized exchanges

Asset tokenization

Supply chain tracking

Loyalty and rewards



Property registry

Escrow services

Transparent public tenders


What is the current state of the project?

RSK MainNet network was released in early January 2018. The latest major version is called Wasabi.

Live statistics about the entire RSK network is available at RSK Stats. All the necessary source code can be found at our GitHub repository: RSKSmart.
All the project information, including a getting started guide, can be found on the RSK & RIF Developer Portal.

For latest news and updates, check out RSK Blog.

Do you have any plans to add support for smart contract programming languages other than Solidity?

RSK currently supports all the opcodes and precompiles contracts of Ethereum, and therefore it can support any language that compiles to the EVM. This includes Solidity, Julia, and new or experimental programming languages such as Vyper.

Any progress with Drivechain proposal(s)?

The first drivechain proposal was created by us in 2016 and presented to the Bitcoin mailing list for evaluation (see Those were turbulent times for the Bitcoin community, as the different subgroups were fighting either to increase the block size or to add SegWit. In that context, it was very difficult to achieve consensus about sidechain integration. Later in 2018, we renewed our efforts with an Improved proposal presented at Building on Bitcoin 2018.

We think that the ecosystem has to mature for trust-minimized Bitcoin sidechains to flourish.

Is RSK centralised, federated, or decentralised?

The RSK blockchain is highly decentralised. RSK is merge-mined with Bitcoin, and has a hashpower that is second only to Bitcoin. As such, we believe it to be the most secure and censorship resistant smart contract platform; and the second most secure blockchain platform. Refer to RSK Stats for the live value of the RSK hash rate.

The conversion between Bitcoin (BTC) and Smart Bitcoin (R-BTC) is accomplished through a 2-way peg mechanism. This 2-way peg was bootstrapped using a federation of nodes managing a Bitcoin multisignature. However, RSK has transitioned its federation to a PowPeg.

A PowPeg is a multi-signature management system where participants’ nodes have no direct access or control over private keys. Keys are controlled by tamper-proof HSMs. These HSMs internally run lightweight RSK nodes which obey commands originating from an RSK smart-contract called the Bridge that orchestrate peg-outs. Only when such commands are confirmed by thousands of blocks produced by the mining network does the HSM proceed to sign peg-out requests. The PowPeg is a new security protection layered on top of the previous federation. It is unique in the crypto ecosystem and radically reduces the attack surface for the most frequent security breaches. The RSK community has collectively decided on a strategy for increasing the security of the peg based on defence-in-depth: Adding more security layers on top of existing ones, protecting the system from the failure of any of them. The ultimate goal is the complete decentralisation of the peg. Refer to the Security Model for the details around the security model of the 2-way peg.

How does RSK plan to be a reference in terms of smart contracts?

RSK is the most secure smart contracts platform in the world. Security has been and will continue to be one of our key competitive advantages and we will keep working at it. Secondly, scalability which is one of the obstacles for blockchain mass adoption has been and will be one of our key strategic objectives. While independent groups are porting Ethereum scaling solutions to RSK, The IOVLabs innovation & research lab is working on layer 1 proposals to increase its transaction capacity, such as transaction compression, and signature aggregation. On top of this, the RIF payments protocols, such as the RIF Lumino Network also contributes towards this.

Can you talk about how RSK is approaching node diversity? How many nodes does a healthy protocol need?

Decentralization should not be measured only by the number of nodes but also about the diversity and independence of nodes. A few hundred independent RSK nodes is enough to serve a global cryptocurrency network at this stage, but we must not feel confident by that metric alone. Our objective is that full nodes are run by a diverse set of individuals, organizations and companies. That is the true meaning of decentralization: Don’t trust, verify yourself. IOVLabs’ innovation and research area has developed several decentralized incentivizations mechanisms that may one day be integrated into full nodes. Also, we’ve put great effort to reduce the resource consumption of full nodes, such as the Unitrie proposal so that individuals can run nodes in standard laptops. Finally, we proposed a new technique for light clients RSK Improvement Proposal, to onboard those users running nodes in mobile phones. In summary, we’re making sure that the network remains healthy and decentralized in the future, both in node quantity and quality.

Should dApps set up their own nodes?

During the development process, public nodes can be used. DApps in production environments are recommended to run their own infrastructure.

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