Rootstock is an open-source smart contract platform with a 2-way peg to Bitcoin that also rewards the Bitcoin miners via merge-mining, allowing them to actively participate in the Smart Contract revolution. RSK goal is to add value and functionality to the Bitcoin ecosystem by enabling smart-contracts, near instant payments and higher-scalability.
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Rootstock governance’s primary goal is to align the main stakeholders of Bitcoin by creating rewards that are fully aligned with their current activities. This philosophy is directly reflected in its core architecture where Bitcoin miners provide the hashing power required for the proof-of-work block validations, industry leaders (Exchanges, Wallets and Payment Processors) integrate the Federation that creates validation checkpoints and sign the redeem transactions of the 2-way peg.
Each player in the community has the know-how to serve best the community: exchanges
and web-wallets know how to protect Bitcoin savings, miners know how to realize large
scale mining operations to secure user’s transactions, Blockhain companies innovate in new use cases and makes dreams come true, core developers have the technical expertise to known how to tackle the technical challenges to come, node maintainers provide the
infrastructure and network connectivity, and users are the heart of the system, providing
trust and liquidity.
In August 2016 Bitcoin mining profitability margin will fall to less than 50% due to the
decreasing block reward from 25 BTC to 12.5 BTC. Hundreds of millions of mining hardware will become instantaneously obsolete. This probably includes all mining machines in the market today, since two generations of chips (faster and with lower power consumption) will be developed and sold before 2017. Almost all current miners that have not replaced their hardware will see the end of their mining business. Rootstock.
Current Bitcoin holders and prospective users have seen their usage of the monetary system confined to certain use cases (i.e: investment, global payment network) mainly due
to bitcoin price volatility but this constraint might worsen in the future due to a potential
increase in transaction fees on the next Bitcoin halving. Rootstock brings a solution to this by offering almost instant transaction validation (20 seconds) and asset issuing with prices pegged to that of a fiat currency or other stable commodity.
On the next Bitcoin reward halving, hundreds of millions on dollars in obsolete mining
hardware will be sold cheaply privately or online. This will open a window of vulnerability
giving an attacker the possibility to buy a huge amount of hashing power for very little
money and execute a 51% attack. Also the decrease in security may affect the perceived
value of the coin. By increasing the profitability of Bitcoin mining with Rootstock merged
mining, the Bitcoin network may prevent the hash rate to plummet.
If Bitcoin block size is not increased via a hard-fork, when the next Bitcoin reward halves,
Bitcoin transaction fees may become prohibitively high for certain applications. As RSK
blocks can hold many more transactions than Bitcoin blocks, Rootstock will naturally offer
lower fees. See next section for an analysis of future scenarios regarding transaction fees.
The future of Bitcoin and its transactions fees is unclear: currently, contentious proposals
on changes in the maximum block size will have a high impact in future transaction fees.
Micropayment channels allow two parties to make secure regular low valued payments
without paying fees for each payment, but only one time when the channel is closed. Hub-and-Spoke networks allow mutually untrusted users to make low-cost one time payments indirectly using payment channels to and from a third party with minimal trust. The RSK allows Hub-and-spoke networks to be implemented directly with minimal hassle and interfacing natively with standard e-wallets.
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