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Frequently asked questions

Here you will find the most frequently asked questions about RSK, its vision, technology and other aspects

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What is RSK?

RSK is the first general purpose smart contract platform secured by the Bitcoin Network.

What is a smart contract?

Smart contracts are contracts whose terms are encoded in  computer language instead of legal language. Smart contracts can be executed by a computing network such as RSK, so that the terms of the contracts are automatically enforced by a protocol that all nodes in the network follow.

A smart contract can be fully autonomous if all the objects referred (such as currency, payments, obligations, property titles, assets, licenses) have a digital representation in the platform. When there is no such digital representation for an object, a smart contract can also refer to itself and react to changes in its state though special gateway nodes called oracles -that provide external information to the blockchain. A smart contract also has access to time with minute precision, so time-restricted conditions can be represented.

 

A few examples of smart contracts are:

Micro-lending

Distributed voting systems

Machine to machine payments

Decentralized exchanges

Asset tokenization

Supply chain tracking

Loyalty and rewards

Micro-insurance

Crowdfunding

Property registry

Escrow services

Transparent public tenders

Remittances

What is RSK’s vision?

There are more than three billion people in the world with poor or no access to the basic financial services necessary to participate and thrive in our society. Bitcoin was created to provide individuals with economic freedom and to set the foundation for the construction of a new Internet that could facilitate the transfer of value. The RSK Smart Contract Network was created as a means to bring this vision to life and to enable prosperity and equality around the world.

What is the current state of the project?

RSK MainNet network was released in early January 2018. The latest major version is called Orchid. All the necessary project information plus the “getting started” guide can be found at our GitHub repository. https://github.com/rsksmart

Does the RSK blockchain mint new coins?

No. The RSK platform uses Bitcoin as its native currency. A 2-Way Peg between Bitcoin blockchain and RSK blockchain ensures a fixed conversion between BTC and RBTC. (1 RBTC = 1 BTC). There can’t be pre-mining, minting, nor coin inflation on RSK.

How many RBTC can exists at any given time?

The number of RBTC in existence is limited by the same Bitcoin issuance curve. Bitcoin issuance is algorithmically set, and halves every 4 years. There will never be more than 21M bitcoins circulating. Also the number of RBTC circulating in the RSK network is limited by the amount of BTC locked in the two-way-peg.

How many transactions per second are allowed today on RSK?

The number of transactions per second executable on the RSK platform is determined by the block gas limit and the average block rate. The current average block rate is one block every 30 seconds. At each mined block, the miner can vote to increase the block gas limit. Currently the block gas limit is 6.8M gas units per block. A simple RBTC transaction consumes 21K gas, so the RSK platform can execute 11 transactions per second today. This limit could increase in the future as there are several improvement proposals that lower the resources required to process transactions on the RSK network.

For example, RSKIP04 enables parallel processing of transactions. If the proposal is accepted by the community, the block gas limit could easily double.

Both the LTCP protocol, as described in the white-paper and in RSKIP53, and the shrinking-chain scaling technique could result in a ten-fold reduction in the amount of space required.

If these proposals are accepted by the community,  transaction speeds could be expected to reach 100 transactions per second.

How many transactions per second will the RSK Network withstand?

Beta releases of improved RSK nodes have been tested to accommodate 100 tx/s without incident. As the technology improves, transactions per second may similarly increase. The goal of RSK Labs is to reach up to 20,000 tx/sec using its Lumino technology, which is a second layer off-chain payment network that will be embedded on RSK’s reference node in a following release.

What is the transaction confirmation time?

On average, the network currently generates a block every 30 seconds. Miners can reduce the average block time to 15 seconds by optimizing their merge-mining operations. Applications should wait at least 12 confirmations to accept a payment, which corresponds to an average delay of 6 minutes.

Is the RSK network compatible with Ethereum network?

The RSK network is highly compatible with the Ethereum network at various different layers: the execution virtual machine (EVM), the javascript programming interface (web3), node interprocess connectivity (JSON-RPC), and the smart-contract programming languages (Solidity).

RSKVM is highly compatible with the EVM, but the RSKVM offers additional features not present in the EVM. To make use of these improvements, some changes to the smart contract source code are required. Furthermore, the RSKVM has specific precompiled contracts that provide the bridging functionality with Bitcoin. Approximately once a year, the Ethereum community performs a hard-fork to add new functionality. The RSK community has, in the past, incorporated these changes through corresponding hard forks on the RSK network. These trends are expected to continue in the future.

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