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RSK 2019 Year Review and 2020 Roadmap Update

Published on: 13 April, 2020

By Adrián Eidelman, IOV Labs’ Head of RSK Strategy

We’re only a few days into the second quarter of 2020, and while the teams keep working to make RSK Infrastructure more robust, safer, and easier to use, we think it’s a good opportunity to share with the community our goals for the rest of the year, and also some of the achievements we accomplished during 2019.

RSK Highlights in 2019

RSK Smart Contracts Platform Development

2019 was another exciting year at IOV Labs, with several product releases and other relevant technology contributions we’re proud of, which are summarized below:

  • RSKj client updates: our engineering team released 8 new versions of the RSKj client during 2019, including Orchid and Wasabi network upgrades. Ethereum compatibility features, transaction tracing features, storage and memory requirements reductions, performance improvements, and security fixes are among the things the team has focused on mostly.
  • Higher onchain scalability with Unitrie: we designed and migrated our trie data structure to a Unitrie, a new more efficient unified binary trie that shows a number of advantages in performance and memory footprint.
  • Mining rewards and network security: during 2019, RSK became the most profitable merged-mined platform. We launched the RSK mining site with specific mining information such as profitability charts and onboarding how-to’s. RSK hashing power averaged 45EH/s, with peaks of 60EH/s, confirming RSK as the most secure smart contract platform in terms of economic security. 
  • Interoperability, a driver for growth: we unveiled the first version of the RSK/Ethereum Token Bridge, a huge step towards blockchains Interoperability that gives users the opportunity to cross ERC20 tokens back and forth between both smart contract platforms, without the need of an exchange. Tokens already used include DAI, RDOC, BPRO, and DAI.
  • Armadillo, more consensus security for RSK: Armadillo is the code-name of a solution to the problem of hidden hashing power in merged-mining, with which malicious miners are automatically detected and not subsidized. Although being a big project, to be fully completed during 2020, the most important cornerstones are already implemented and fully functional.
  • A more secure RSK Federation: the release and rollout of RSK HSM v1.1 was one of the most relevant milestones when it comes to Federation security, allowing functionaries to securely protect the keys involved in the 2WP peg-out process.

RSK Research Contributions

IOV Labs Research team plays a fundamental role in the evolution of the RSK platform. Below we’ve put together a summary of the contributions the team made during 2019:

  • Already mentioned in the previous section, within the Research team we designed the Unitrie data structure for performance and memory improvements, and future higher onchain scalability. The team is currently working deeper on this topic, which will bring new and better benefits to the platform.
  • We worked on efficient decentralized token bridge protocols and published the HawkClient protocol, a new crypto-economic interactive proof system to achieve lightweight and cheap proofs of remote blockchains proof-of-work. 
  • We proposed and coded several improvements to the RSK platform that may become a reality in 2020, such as parallel transaction processing, onchain enveloping, and a more flexible transaction format.
  • We kicked-off a new research project called SyncChain, a new kind of sidechain that enables low confirmation times and unconditional atomicity for peg-ins and peg-outs.

The complete list of contributions the Research team publishes is available in the RSKIPs repository and it’s open for community feedback and contributions.

RSK Developers Community: new tools and opportunities

Our developers evangelism teams work closely with dapp developers and companies around the globe to help them understand the technologies, build and integrate their solutions on the RSK platform. 

  • During 2019 we relaunched the RSK Developers Portal, with a brand new look and feel, updated and easier to walk-through documentation for developers. We’ve also delivered webinars to developers all over the world willing to understand more about Bitcoin, RSK, and RIF technologies (and we’re now doing more and more).
  • We released the first version of the Gas Station Network in RSK Testnet, based on Tabookey’s GSN implementation. GSN enables Dapp creators to pay for gas instead of forcing their users to do so, which makes user onboarding easier.
  • IOV Labs participated as a sponsor in Gitcoin’s Web3 World Hackathon where we rewarded developers for submitting contributions to the RSK platform. RSK bounties were just over a third of the total by count, and just under a half of the total by amount.
  • We’ve welcomed several new wallets and developer tools into the RSK ecosystem, such as MyEtherWallet, Nifty Wallet, Cobo, Edge and Mellow wallets, and Truffle, uPort, Chainbeat, and Blockmason tools, among others.
  • The RSK Grants Program was launched with the objective of awarding developers that build dev tools for the RSK platform. Additionally, the RSK Ecosystem Fund was created to facilitate the creation of next-generation blockchain solutions in partnership with startups and enterprise companies.
  • We released several improvements and new features for the RSK Explorer, such as contract code verification, contextual searching, merged-mining information and tokens transfers and events. It’s also worth mentioning that Blockscout’s cool explorer has also added support for RSK.

What’s next for 2020?

We are proud to share today the updated RSK platform development roadmap for 2020. As we’ve said in the past, the roadmap is an open statement, a guide stating how we are prioritizing our efforts. We may change our plans as we move forward, and we will transparently share any remarkable variation. Below are some of the most relevant plans we have, for a complete list please refer to RSK platform development roadmap for 2020.

RSK platform plans for H1

  • Papyrus 2.0.0 Network Upgrade will happen during the first half of the year. Some of the new features that will be included in this version are:
    • Import Sync feature will let users have their node ready to use in a fraction of the time currently required.
    • Node storage requirements decrease significantly with the release of Garbage Collector v0.2.
    • Support for logs subscription in eth_suscribe method is included in this version.
    • 2-way-peg (2WP) segwit transactions will be valid for BTC peg-in operations.
  • 2WP Whitelisting Removal: with several improvements to be introduced in Papyrus 2.0.0, 2WP whitelisting will be finally removed, allowing anyone to do peg-in transactions and get R-BTC without going through an exchange.
  • Federation Security Improvements with HSM 2.0: this new version of the FedHSM introduces the ability to distinguish correct signature requests that originate in the two-way peg contract from forgeries.
  • Armadillo phase 2: will enable automatic detection of attacks and manual recovery procedures triggering.

RSK platform plans for H2

  • Storage Rent: rapid growth of space requirements needs to be addressed in several ways. Complementing blockchain compression features, storage rent establishes the right economic incentives so that today’s users cannot abuse the blockchain storage, at the expense of future users, leading to a sustainable blockchain.  
  • Native Enveloping: meta transactions solutions like the Gas Station Network are good alternatives but still require changes at the smart contract level. Native enveloping is an on-chain, easier to implement and cheaper alternative to the current known solutions.
  • Ethereum/RSK Decentralized Token Bridge: our engineering team is already working on a decentralized version of the Ethereum/RSK token bridge, that lets users transfer ERC20-like tokens between Ethereum and RSK platforms. We expect this to be available during the second half of the year.
  • Predictable Fees: the constant fluctuation of fees is an obstacle when implementing use cases as end users cannot be exposed to constant changes in transactions´ fees. This feature will overcome this situation.

Wrapping Up

IOV Labs and the RSK ecosystem as a whole is fully committed to keep building and evolving the RSK platform, and to contribute to a global and inclusive financial system for all. These challenging times are demonstrating the relevance of Bitcoin and the Defi ecosystem being built on top of it. We are thankful for the whole RSK global community for its ongoing support.

Further questions or comments?

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