First Bitcoin Smart Contracts Sidechain Now Secured By 1 in 10 Miners

The first bitcoin smart contracts sidechain just reached an early milestone.

To be revealed Monday at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference, RSK, the startup that built the long-anticipated technology, touted as a way to bring ethereum-style smart contracts to the world’s largest cryptocurrency, is issuing new details on the number of bitcoin users dedicating computing power to backing the experimental idea.

First launched this past January, the sidechain pegged to bitcoin was admittedly limited in that it’s not pegged to bitcoin in a “trustless” way advocates have promised for so long. Rather, anyone who wants to move their bitcoin to the sidechain needs the approval of a ‘federation’ group of third parties.

Still, the miner support, RSK Labs co-founder Gabriel Kurman contends, is rather impactful as it shows support for a concept heralded as a way to expand bitcoin’s functionality.

He told CoinDesk:

“It’s a major announcement for bitcoin as a whole. This 10 percent is coming from 80 percent of the total mining pool power.”

And, although there’s a small fraction of the entire network currently securing the sidechain, about 80 percent of miners have already committed support in the future.

“The hash power percentage is set to increase significantly over the next months,” Kurman added.

It makes sense, after all, because the sidechain is designed to be “merged-mined” – a process which allows miners to get transaction fees by contributing their hash power to the sidechain, all while using the same equipment, electricity and power they’re already using to mine bitcoin.

“RSK has massive support from the mining ecosystem because it adds a new revenue stream for them,” Kurman said.

RSK’s lightning

Not only that, but RSK has developed the sidechain to be able to handle more transactions than bitcoin can currently.

The RSK sidechain uses what the company calls “smart bitcoins,” a separate version of bitcoin with the smart contract capability, and that allows for improved scalability.

“On RSK you can process smart bitcoins at 100 transactions per second,” Kurman said, pointing to the “compression” technology RSK pioneered that decreases the total amount of data that must be stored on the blockchain.

Even with that improvement, though, Kurman is quick to note that that’s not nearly enough to bring this technology to the masses, acknowledging that the sidechain still deals with the scalability issues faced by many of today’s blockchains. But the team is working towards that…

Read Full: First Bitcoin Smart Contracts Sidechain Now Secured By 1 in 10 Miners