RSK: Bitcoin-Secured Smart Contracts

Published on
February 22nd, 2021
54 minutes

Latest Crypto Videos

RSK: Bitcoin-Secured Smart Contracts

The Interview - Crypto ·
Featuring Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar and Sebastian Moonjava

Published on: February 22nd, 2021 • Duration: 54 minutes

Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar, CEO and founder of IOV Labs, joins Sebastian Moonjava, Real Vision associate crypto editor, to discuss RSK, merged mining, and the different layers in the Bitcoin technology stack. Zaldivar describes RSK as extending Bitcoin, enabling it to become a full financial system and support automated agreements by using smart contracts. RSK is merged mined with Bitcoin, meaning that blocks of RSK are mined simultaneously with Bitcoin blocks using the same hardware devices. This allows RSK to utilize most of the existing Bitcoin miners for securing the RSK sidechain—making it nearly as secure as Bitcoin itself. RSK shares the security infrastructure of Bitcoin, utilizes Bitcoin as its native currency, and brings Ethereum-style smart contract capability to Bitcoin. Filmed on February 4, 2021.

Key Learnings: RSK brings smart contracts to Bitcoin, and merged mining enables RSK smart contracts to be secured by the Bitcoin miners. RSK’s native currency is Bitcoin, enabling its smart contract platform to benefit the Bitcoin ecosystem and potentially its value.



  • TP
    Timothy P.
    22 February 2021 @ 18:29
    Pegged sidechains are a good way to explore new ideas without sacrificing security. Mr Zaldivar is certainly correct about that. In fact, all altcoins could take a page from his book and attempt the same thing, but most, like ETH - think they have to reinvent the wheel on their own, which has its own risks. Taproot is coming to Bitcoin this year. This will obviate a lot of other tokens that offer "smart" contract functionality. Its okay if you're a pegged sidechain, you just swap back to Bitcoin and you're good. Its a little rougher for individual tokens, because their intrinsic value wanes as Bitcoin absorbs their utility. In a way, you can consider ETH's reliance on "wrapped Bitcoin" an admission of their own inferiority, because it relies on the strength of BTC to engage in transactions on ETH. If they were truly confident of their system, they'd discourage its use as the native token should be enough. In any event, ETH's panic-pivot to staking will be a nightmare, and protocols like RSK will be just fine. There is no free lunch when it comes to blockchain security, as VergeCoin found out - and ETH will soon after.
    • TS
      Thomas S.
      23 February 2021 @ 23:54
      Why aren't there more smart contract/other/DeFi projects on the bitcoin blockchain ? Seems like a no-brainer for the reasons that Diego outlined.
    • SA
      Sanne A.
      27 February 2021 @ 15:29
      Hah. Someone lit the tribal fire. You can piss all you want on ETH, but it is the imagination, the speculative frenzy, and some brilliant people that made ETH the trailblazer of the space. We would not have been here without Bitcoin or Ethereum; and indeed many other novelties like atomic swaps, side chains and stable coins. Market demands led to the use of wrapped Bitcoin and has nothing to do with one platform being superior to the other. ETH functions just fine without it. You seem to know a great deal with 'certainty' about the future: either you have a crystal ball or you are a deeply religious man. Imagine staying in Bitcoin all these years and missing out on all those opportunities because you were deeply religious. Yikes!
  • SA
    Sanne A.
    27 February 2021 @ 15:28
    What RSK has been doing is how I imagined things would pan out eventually for the crypto space as a whole back in 2013. I thought people would build on Bitcoin first and foremost but instead we got copies that radically altered and experimented. In hindsight, it was inevitable that the space would develop with radical experimentation in mind. It is good to see that we will finally have the functionality developers have craved for on the Bitcoin network. I don't share some of the Bitcoin maxi's that this will be the be-all and end-all crypto development and that Bitcoin is the one to usurp all. Bitcoin is not open to radical development which means there will always be space for other protocols to be brought into existence, develop, thrive and die. I imagine Bitcoin will integrate new ideas through new layers like RSK did with ETH but it will do so at a slower space, with less excitement and less speculative opportunity.
  • ZY
    ZHENG Y.
    23 February 2021 @ 06:17
    Love to hear both side: ETH 2.0 and RSK deep compare, or how they different themselves from each other.
  • DW
    Dean W.
    23 February 2021 @ 02:39
    Very interesting interview and I hope RSK develops into a strong project. Having Defi and related fees contributing to BTC miners could help in the long term with BTC system security, especially once all BTC have been mined. However I'm surprised there was no mention of Blockstacks during this interview. Blockstacks is a L1 smart contracting program that runs on the Bitcoin network. It uses Clarity, developed by the Algorand team for programming of smart contracts, rather than EVM which probably means it has lower gas fees and more efficient computing execution. Would love to hear how RSK compare to Blockstacks.
  • MR
    Michael R.
    23 February 2021 @ 01:14
    Exciting discussion about how the layers of the boundaries between bitcoin and ethereum can co-operate and provide value moving forward....
  • TS
    Thomas S.
    22 February 2021 @ 23:30
    Very good discussion gentlemen. thank you. follow-up question ... how does the RSK Infrastructure Framework (RIF) fit into this RSK/bitcoin blockchain protocol ? I noticed that RSK-RIF has a native token that is different than BTC.
  • MS
    Michael S.
    22 February 2021 @ 22:31
    Well done Real Vision. The knowledge you are allowing to be shared is astounding. EXCELLENT.
  • CH
    Crag H.
    22 February 2021 @ 21:48
    Wow, what a great interview! Thank you RV for putting out some content that describes Bitcoin in other terms than "digital gold". I especially liked the way Diego explained the reasoning behind their choice of building on top of Bitcoin and I think the discussion as a whole was made on just the right technical level for most people to get the idea of RSK. Nicely done! I bet my fellow ETH bear Timothy will be pleased by this one as well! ;)
  • JG
    Jonnie G.
    22 February 2021 @ 10:53
    So how defi took off in 2020 and a lot of people jumped on the back of it at the end of 2020 beginning of 2021 which was a little late. This looks like a good bet to take off the same way? Especially at the price today, there's no need to risk a high amount of capital to gain a high reward?
  • JS
    John S.
    22 February 2021 @ 09:05
    Exciting developments