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The main reasons why developers choose RSK Smart Contract Network over other networks are security and scalability.
RSK is the most secure smart contracts platform. For up to the minute hashing power stats, please visit: RSK Stats.
RSK has less onchain activity than Ethereum, which is something you would expect for a blockchain that is one year and a half old. Therefore, the blockchain is much smaller than Ethereum. However, prior to the 1.0.0 release the RSK blockchain could grow as fast as Ethereum for equal transaction volumes. Now the blockchain state is ten times smaller.
More information about the Unitrie in Towards Higher Onchain Scalability with Unitrie
From the perspective of programming capabilities, RSK Network is on par with Ethereum as both natively supports Solidity Smart Contracts and the same APIs. These levels of compatibility make it seamless for developers to port their dApps to the RSK Network and leverage on their acquired abilities / knowledge.
From a perspective of security, RSK Network is protected by over 40% of the Bitcoin Network computing power and uses the same hashing mechanism as Bitcoin; which is the safest decentralized network in the world. Although other security models like EOS’ DPoS or Ethereum’s PoW based on general purpose hardware might bring some benefits, none of those networks have been battle tested; neither have they held as much value in custody, compared to the Bitcoin Network.
RSK combines the best of Bitcoin and Ethereum under a single platform.
RIF token info including support for wallets and exchanges at RIF Token
SmartBitcoins, identified with the RBTC ticker are pegged 1 : 1 to BTC (1 RBTC = 1 BTC).
RSK is currently supported in a number of different software hardware wallets.
Check RBTC for more info.
We listed RBTC in exchanges to make it easier for less technical users to get access to it. According to Sergio Lerner (IOVLabs Chief Scientist), “It takes almost a day to transfer BTC to RBTC using the peg. Users at least need small amounts of RBTC to pay for transaction fees, required for smart contract execution. We expect more demand for RBTC as more users start using the platform”.
RSK is currently supported in a number of different hardware wallets.
Check Wallets for more info.
RSK Infrastructure Framework Open Standard (RIF OS) is a suite of open and decentralized infrastructure protocols that enable faster, easier and scalable development of distributed applications (dApps) within a unified environment. RIF OS includes support for decentralized, third-party, off-chain payment networks; a set of APIs for seamless and secure communications between decentralized applications; and easy-to-use interfaces for developers. Access and payment for RIF OS services are based on the RIF Token, which allows developers to access the suite of services built on top of RIF protocols such as Identity, Payments, Gateways, Storage and Communications including third party-developed infrastructure services, and any other apps that might be deployed on RIF’s framework that agrees to accept RIF Tokens as a means of accessing / consuming the service or app. RBTC is the native token of the RSK Live Mainnet and is pegged 1:1 to BTC. It’s used as gas to pay for Smart Contract execution in the same way as ETH is used as gas for Ethereum. Technical users can obtain in a decentralized way by converting to and from BTC by using the bridge between the Bitcoin and RSK protocols. Less technical users can obtain RBTC from supporting exchanges like Huobi and Bitfinex among others. In order to use the RSK and all of the applications that run on RSK and RIF OS.
Is it a Smart Contract? Do exchanges deal with this in real time? Can end-users also interact with this smart-contract directly, without having to go through an exchange? If so, how? If not, why not?
RSK native currency, smartBitcoin (RBTC), is tethered to bitcoin 1 to 1 so the only way to create RBTC is by sending BTC (“or peg-in”) to a multisig address in the Bitcoin blockchain that is managed by the RSK PowPeg. The bitcoins that arrive at that address get locked, and a proof of that transfer (SPV proof) is fed to a special smart contract on the RSK blockchain called the Bridge contract. Currently, the PowPeg Federation is doing this process of communicating new transfers to the Bridge contract but this process is fully decentralized and anyone can feed this information to the contract. Once the bridge contract gets this proof it sends the equivalent amount of RBTC to what was received in BTC to an RSK address that corresponds to the BTC address that started the process on the Bitcoin blockchain. With that, the crossing from Bitcoin to RSK is finished in a fully decentralized / trust minimized way.
To redeem RBTC for BTC (or “peg-out”) first you have to send the RBTC to a special address of the Bridge on the RSK Blockchain but since Bitcoin cannot verify transactions on a secondary blockchain because its scripting capabilities are limited on purpose to reduce its surface of attack, we need the RSK Powpeg to assist in the signing of the release transaction on the Bitcoin side. So as the RSK Powpeg nodes acknowledge and validate that a new BTC release transaction was created, they sign it. The main difference between a federation and RSK’s Powpeg is that the Powpeg nodes run a Hardware Security Module (HSM), so RSK Powpeg nodes do not have access to the private keys and therefore, even if they collude, they cannot steal the funds in the peg. The highest damage they can do is to unplug the HSM and stall the peg. There is a community proposal to add a 6-month time-locked transfer of the peg funds to a backup multisig to protect from a generalized Powpeg malfunction. Internally, when the Bridge contract commands a peg-out, the peg-out transaction is given to the HSM, and the HSM validates the validity based on cumulative proof of work and then signs it. When enough signatures from HSMs are collected (remember that the BTC address is a multisig address so it needs M of N signatures to release the funds) then the BTCs are sent to the BTC address specified in the peg-out request.
Since 2016, the RSK community has been working on an extension of the Bitcoin protocol called Drivechain, that would enable even higher decentralization and security for the peg-out process.
The peg-in process takes around 15 hours (100 Bitcoin blocks) to avoid losing funds due to a reorganization of either blockchain. The peg-out process has an even longer delay of 4000 RSK blocks (about 33 hours) for maximum security.
Due to the technical nature of using the peg, the friction created by the waiting period, many exchanges offer RBTC so developers and users can easily access it. Also a number of fast coin-swap solutions, such as Coinswap enables fast transfers for low amounts without registration.
For more information you could read this in depth article by our Chief Scientist, Sergio Lerner on Sidechains in general and RSK 2 way peg.
RSK addresses are similar to Ethereum addresses. To avoid situations where users mistakenly send funds to Ethereum addresses or vice versa, we’ve implemented an address checksum mechanism that distinguishes between chains. This is currently in use by many Ethereum-like networks. Although this is not enforced in the node itself, it’s important to consider it at the client level (e.g.: wallets). The checksum mechanism is described in the following RSK Improvement Proposal.
The native mechanism for transferring bitcoins to RSK (“peg-in”) and vice versa (“peg-out”) is provided by the 2-Way Peg. In practice, when a user pegs-in, the user funds are locked in the Bitcoin blockchain and the same amount of BTC is unlocked in the RSK blockchain. When a user requests a peg-out the bitcoins on RSK get locked in the RSK blockchain and the same amount of BTC is unlocked in the Bitcoin blockchain. A security protocol ensures that the same bitcoins cannot be unlocked on both blockchains at the same time. This requires transaction finality, and that’s the reason the peg required hundreds of block confirmations for transactions that unlock bitcoins.
Since not every user is willing to wait for the required number of block confirmations, exchanges offer a faster mechanism of getting BTC/RBTC, while charging users with exchanges fees.
This blog post explains in detail: RSK’s 2-Way Peg design
Additionally, for more information, visit the 2-Way Peg mechanism.
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