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Rootstock Raises $1 Million to Create Ethereum-Like Smart Contracts on Bitcoin

RSK labs, the company behind Rootstock, has raised $1 million in a seed round. The money will help the company bring Ethereum-like smart contracts to Bitcoin via a sidechain or a federated peg, depending on the direction in which the Bitcoin network evolves over the coming months. Rootstock will be compatible with Ethereum, which means everyone who is developing decentralized applications can continue doing so, and ‘import’ over their application when Rootstock launches.

The round was led by Bitmain, one of the major Bitcoin mining players. Coinsilium and Digital Currency Group were also investors in this round. Barry Silbert, the founder of Digital Currency Group, tweeted his firm’s involvement –

Turing Complete Smart Contracts

Like Ethereum, Rootstock is Turing complete – a way to say that its smart contract language is theoretically capable of computing any computable function. Ethereum led the way in creating Turing complete systems on blockchains, and Rootstock is following suite. Like Ethereum, Rootstock will make use of a virtual machine to run its code, and is expected to use similar pricing models, where contracts will pay miners based on the number of computational steps involved in the execution of the contract.

Developers and Miners

Rootstock is taking an approach to attract both developers and miners to its platform. It will need developers to grow its ecosystem, and therefore working on making Ethereum decentralized applications easy to bring over to Rootstock. The company is also focused on attracting the Bitcoin mining community, since they will be the ones who would ultimately run Rootstocks nodes and validate the transactions and smart contracts. The involvement of Bitmain at such an early stage is therefore promising. The company is developing validation schemes that could be run by Bitcoin miners without affecting or hindering their ability to mine Bitcoins.

By aligning with Bitcoin and Bitcoin miners from the very start, Rootstock could potentially provide decentralized application developers a more secure platform than Ethereum. Even though Ethereum has been wildly successful since its launch, it has been fairly centralized in its mining pools, and its road to proof of stake in the future may prove to bumpy. In terms of hash power, the Bitcoin network remains significantly ahead of all competition and therefore certain types of attacks become almost impossible to execute on the Bitcoin blockchain.

ETH Mining Pool Distribution

Ethereum hashrate distribution according to Etherechain

Rootstock plans to have a beta ready by September this year. Still, competition is heating up in the decentralized application development market. Just yesterday, Lisk completed its ICO and raised over $6 million for a platform that allows developers to use JavaScript, a widely used web-programming language, to create decentralized applications.

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