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Following the yellow brick road

Hi everyone!

This is our first post in the RSK Labs blog, and hopefully the first of many more posts explaining the technology behind the RootStock (RSK) platform.

RSK is an open source project and as such, the participation and engagement of the whole community is extremely important. For this reason, we want to open our roadmap and show you the areas of further research/development you can collaborate on. Soon you’ll be able to connect to our Alpha testnet to start running your smart contracts and Dapps.

We also want to share that we are very excited about this project, as we have received the financial and strategic support from some of the most important VC groups and miners in the ecosystem (soon to be fully disclosed).

Our core team currently consists of 9 fully dedicated people, plus the independent developers who are contributing to RSK from all around the globe. For all of you willing to help us testing the platform, developing new Dapps, training new developers and providing support to end users, stay tuned for new announcements in our blog.

When defining our business model to afford the current and future development of the platform, we decided not to create a new speculative tradable coin. Instead, we chose to use a fixed 2-way peg to Bitcoin, the most reliable, secure and tested virtual currency/network available in the ecosystem (for more details about the 2-way peg, see our coming blog post “Sidechain vs Drivechain”).

At the same time, we decided to contribute back to the Bitcoin network by providing its miners the opportunity to merge-mine RSK and use all their installed capacity to validate decentralized smart contracts. In return, they will protect the RSK blockchain. As a result, every time a person or a corporation runs a smart contract on RSK, 80% of the fuel paid goes to the miners and the remaining 20% to RSK Labs, so we can continue the development of the open source platform.

We are big fans of all the different open source platforms that are being created in the financial crypto space, as we feel an urgent need for standardization and interoperability. For this reason, we decided to make our virtual machine (RVM) completely compatible with Ethereum’s VM. We admire all the people and their effort devoted to developing this standard. And, as a consequence, hopefully in the future different users will have the option to run their contracts on the platform that best fits their needs (Bitcoin PoW, ETH PoW/Stake, Private Federations, etc).

We are certain that RSK will add a lot of value to the Bitcoin network. At the same, time we understand that Bitcoin is at its infancy and the consensus protocol has still several technological thresholds to overcome in the near future (and will do for sure). For this reason, we decided to develop a hybrid consensus model where the Bitcoin PoW coexists with a Federation of the most recognized Bitcoin Companies in the ecosystem, providing security checks on the PoW blocks. The main goal of this approach is to bring “Balance to the Force” and allow corporate solutions to be developed on theRSK platform while the financial system understands the benefits of a decentralized network.

So, what’s next?

A private testnet will be open to a small number of miners, partner companies and users helping us to develop the core infrastructure (online wallets, block explorers, etc.) in April.

After we have the core infrastructure in place, a public testnet will be deployed, together with the source code for all of you to start running your solutions. Hopefully, that will happen around July.

Finally, we want to thank the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities for their warm welcome and the support we have received from them.

We all need to join forces to build a better and inclusive human society. Blockchain technology andpublic ledgers are the yellow brick road to follow…

Stay Tuned!

RSK Labs Team