RSK, the smart contract platform that runs on top of Bitcoin, has launched its genesis block — right on the ninth anniversary of bitcoin’s own “launch” on January 3rd, 2009. We had a chance to speak with RSK Labs head of business development Henry Sraigman. Read on as we go over some of the latest developments in this groundbreaking technology that aims to be a serious competitor to Ethereum.
Refresher – What Is RSK?
For those who don’t know, let’s go over a quick review of what RSK is. If you’re already familiar with the project, feel free to skip ahead to the next section.
RSK is a smart contract platform that will run on top of, be backed by, and also be dual-mined alongside, Bitcoin. This will allow for the world’s most widely supported blockchain to become an effective competitor to other smart contract platforms — like Ethereum. Some have even called RSK the “Ethereum killer“.
In addition to offering smart contracts, RSK will allow for its own sub-currency called “smart bitcoin” (SBTC). Smart bitcoins are not a new currency, but are instead like casino chips — in that one smart bitcoin represents one bitcoin that has been locked in a contract on the network. SBTC won’t have any value off the RSK platform and therefore won’t be subject to trading and price speculation.
A bitcoin and its corresponding smart bitcoin cannot exist in the wild simultaneously. One is always locked, so the value of bitcoin is not affected. Smart bitcoins can be exchanged within RSK at much lower transaction fees, however, and they are very useful for smart contracts.
Gearing up for the Genesis Block
The live launch comes after several years of development and testing on the Bitcoin testnet. In a press release, RSK CEO Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar stated:
“We’re very excited to share the RSK MainNet Network with the global community. It’s a great milestone for the company after years of hard work, but this is not only ours, it’s a community success. The RSK project belongs to the whole ecosystem and we need to work together to build the Internet of Value over the Bitcoin Network”.
In light of this, we took the time to have a chat with Henry Sraigman of RSK about this new development.
What Does RSK Mean for Bitcoin Miners and Mining Pools?
First, we wanted to know what the motivation was behind launching the RSK genesis block on the nine-year anniversary of the Bitcoin’s own genesis block. Sraigman said:
“Given that the main purpose of RSK is to bring Bitcoin technology to its full potential, we’re extremely grateful to all the technology on which RSK is based. We’ll always be thankful to Satoshi Nakamoto and all the core developers that have driven Bitcoin and the ecosystem to what it is today, so we thought a good way to show our gratitude would be to launch RSK’s genesis block on the 9th Bitcoin’s genesis block anniversary.”
In order for RSK contracts to be processed, bitcoin miners need to be running the RSK software so they can mine both bitcoin and RSK transactions. Miners who do so are rewarded with transaction fees from the RSK network as well as Bitcoin. RSK stated that dual-mining in this way does not affect bitcoin mining, and so is a win-win arrangement for miners and RSK.
We wanted to know how many miners or mining pools were ready to go with the RSK software for the upcoming launch.
Sraigman told us, “Over the last years we’ve been continuously working with Bitcoin pools representing around 80 percent of the Bitcoin network total hashing power. We’ve been collaborating with them testing their software on RSK TestNet and will be gradually deploying their hashing power over the RSK MainNet during the next couple of weeks.”
As RSK is a smart contract platform that will compete with Ethereum, we wanted to know if RSK already had some “DApps” (distributed apps) that will either be ready at launch or shortly after.
In response, Sraigman said, “As we’re opening the platform in a staged approach with security as the main concern, in order to access SBTC (smart bitcoins) of the RSK MainNet we implemented a white-listing solution mainly focused on developers and business partners. We expect to open the access to the general public as soon as we complete the on-boarding of the RSK Federation members and we add more hashing power to the network.”
Re-Launching the RSK Ambassador Program
Lastly, we wanted to know more about the RSK Ambassador program. According to RSK Labs’ official website for the program, it’s a way for people interested in working with RSK to join and develop their careers.
Speaking of the program, Sraigman told us, “We’ve re-launched the Ambassador Program with volunteers all over the world with the goal of taking the technology revolution to each and every blockchain community around the globe.
On one hand, the program has a ‘gamification’ component where ambassadors are able to collect points and access different rewards from RSK. On the other hand, the program is well connected to the RSK Educate project, bringing Blockchain & Smart contracts education to every ambassador allowing them to become a technology expert and build a professional path out of it.”
Those who are interested in joining the RSK revolution can contact RSK about joining its Ambassador Program.
Does RSK sound like a promising platform? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Images via RSK Labs, Pixabay