Rootstock (RSK) Bitcoin Sidechain [Review]

Posted in Bitcoin Sidechains on . Tags:#blockchain#crypto
Rootstock (RSK) Sidechain Review | Run Your dApp

The aim of RSK sidechain is to enhance the value and to improve the way the Bitcoin ecosystem function by allowing smart contracts, in a close range to instant payments and higher-scalability.

How awkward will it be for you to make a payment with your Debit/Card only for the seller not to have the money showing in their balance update? A smart seller would definitely ask you to return the goods and come back for it when they get alerted. For anyone who had a card failure experience, you can surely relate with the word "Embarrassing" in this situation. 

This also why the mainstream offline use of bitcoin, has not really taken much hold. Since bitcoin was not built with scalability in mind, other alternatives which still takes advantage of all the bitcoin blockchain feature except its lack of scalability, need to be sourced. These alternatives are what we referred to as sidechains. A perfect example of a bitcoin-based sidechain is the RSK sidechain network. 

RSK Sidechain

RSK sidechain which is short for RootStock is a new blockchain based platform which has the bitcoin blockchain as its parent block. The platform is a smart contract peer to peer network built with the intent of conferring more functionality and values to its parent chain, the Bitcoin network. That is done by the implementing complex smart contracts as a childchain/sidechain. Before the development of RSK, there was no open source smart contract platform having a 2-way peg to Bitcoin and at the same time rewarding the Bitcoin miners. RSK does this. It rewards the Bitcoin miners through a medium called merge-mining, giving them access to take part in the Smart Contract revolution. The aim of RSK is to enhance the value and to improve the way the Bitcoin ecosystem function by allowing smart contracts, in a close range to instant payments and higher-scalability. 

Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 thought of ways to modernized payment, he then introduced Bitcoin. Bitcoin was made to possess certain features such as very limited use of “smart contracts”, which was publicized by Nick Szabo in 1993. Ever since, lots of efforts have been made to bring about new, modernized cryptocurrencies. RSK was created to make Bitcoin become the leading cryptocurrency used worldwide. It serves as a smart contract medium of "Turing Complete Virtual Machine" into Bitcoin. Another interesting thing about RSK is that it offers some other supportive aids to the network to increase its speed of transaction and improve its scalability. 

RSK is also considered to be an improved version of QixCoin which is a Turing complete cryptocurrency that has been in use since 2013. The same team who created QixCoin also created RSK. One major thing that distinct RSK from QixCoin is that it’s payment method is modernized and it offers immediate confirmations. Currently, RSK has achieved about 300 tps and most of its payments are confirmed within a few seconds, in most cases usually less than 20 seconds. 

Interestingly, even with this speedy confirmation, its security guarantee is still the same as Bitcoin which supports SHA-256D merged timing. 

Rootstock functions as a Bitcoin Sidechain 

The transfer of Bitcoins into the RSK blockchain brings about “SmartBitcoins”. The SmartBitcoins are shortened as SBTC, and they serve as the native currency used on the RSK network. 

The SBTC can also be reversed back to native "BTC". This can be done at any desired time with no need for an extra cost (exception of standard RSK transaction fees). Miners are paid for contract processing with the use of SmartBitcoin currency which is used on the RSK Sidechain. 

Features of the RSK sidechain

Speedy payments: one major feature of RSK is its speed during payment. Ever since Bitcoin was made, there has been a high demand for instant confirmation of transaction and RSK has been made to solve that challenge. New use cases like payment of online games, retail store payments can be made using instant payment method offered by RSK. Also, the creation of blocks in about 10 seconds interval with no extra centralization cost and low stale block rate are allowed by RSK. It is able to achieve this due to its carefully selected parameter and its newly introduced protocols like the “DÉCOR+GHOST. 

Security: The security of RSK comes from merge-mining. What this means is that RSK possesses equal security as Bitcoin when it comes to prevention and settlement finality of double-spend. How this double way peg security works is that it first depends on a federation holding custody of Bitcoin, as this proceeds, it will get to a point when it will switch to an automatic peg, as soon as the security trade-offs of the automatic peg have been accepted by the community.  With Bitcoin, millions of dollars in obsolete mining hardware can be sold cheaply on the internet. The effect of this is that it will bring about vulnerability which will give room for purchasing an expensive hashing power for a low price. The reduction in security may have an effect on the value of the coin. With the use of RSK merged mining, such negative effects may be prevented. 

Scalability: in the current stage of Rootstock, it can scale more than Bitcoin does. Just like PayPal, RSK has the capability to scale to as much as 100 transactions every second. This is done without losing decentralization which also brings about a reduction in storage and the usage of bandwidth. It is able to achieve this by utilizing fraud proofs and probabilistic verification. It also applies a technique called blockchain sharing techniques. All these aids its scalability. 

Bitcoin-friendly: the RSK team has made it known that their belief in Bitcoin makes them stretch out their hand of support towards the Bitcoin community and they hope to progress on the Bitcoin’s founders legacy. They understand that the absence of Turing complete smart contracts ability may be a hindrance to the growth and development of Bitcoin, hence, one of the reasons why RSK is made. 

The following are the ways in which RSK enhances Bitcoin 

Compressed low-delay fast relay backbone into peer-to-peer gossip network 

Secure merge mining merging PoW and backup threshold-signature based federation mining together. 

Turing-complete RSK Virtual Machine (RVM) allowing smart-contracts 

Fast confirmation of transactions with an average speed of 10 seconds 

 It is two ways pegging utilizing sidechains. 

Advantages of RSK Development  

Rootstock gives Bitcoin miners the opportunity to take part in the Smart Contract market which goes a long way in improving the value of the mining industry and making sure its sustainable for a long period of time. 

Representing the peak of attainment of a four years blockchain technology research, RSK will give an opportunity for the cryptocurrency ecosystem to be accessible to the best features of computerized payment method whilst also bringing about an increase in Bitcoin currency value. 

RSK will aid the development of a decentralized, fast and affordable financial system which in the long run will bring about opportunities for the millions of people worldwide who have no business with the banking sector and financially unstable. 

RSK Use Cases

  • Escrow Services 
  • Micropayment channels and Hub-and-Spoke networks 
  • Decentralized remittances
  • IP Protection / Registry
  • In-game Global Currency
  • Fair-playing
  • Micro-lending
  • Crypto-assets Creation 
  • Internet-gambling and Prediction Markets 
  • Retail Payment Systems
  • Peer-to-peer distributed exchange, 
  • Online Reputation & Digital Identity 
  • Asset Securitization 


One can say that RSK gives the bases on which developers in various parts of the world can create personal and corporate decentralized solutions that run in a highly secure and protected network. This will be done at a minimal cost and the overall quantity is still intact. 

Joshua Dylan


Scroll to top