What Is RSK?

Smart contracts on a Bitcoin sidechain

RSK is a Bitcoin sidechain that brings advanced smart contract capabilities to the Bitcoin ecosystem. RSK was specifically designed to allow developers to use bitcoin as the native token for numerous dapps and blockchain-based applications. In order to bring as much usability as possible, the sidechain is faster and more secure than the original Bitcoin blockchain.

RSK is a revolutionary sidechain as it brings the full power of smart contracts to the Bitcoin ecosystem. When Satoshi Nakamoto developed the Bitcoin blockchain, his goal was to create the ultimate store of value. However, as cryptocurrencies and blockchains evolved, smart contract capabilities are becoming a primary requirement. RSK combines the security and robustness of the Bitcoin token, with the flexibility and usability of a dapp-ready blockchain, based on smart contracts. 

RSK and the battle of giants

Bitcoin is the beginning of everything blockchain. However, as the very first cryptocurrency, its blockchain has drawbacks. One of the main differences between Bitcoin and its main competitor Ethereum is the ability to support smart contract execution. While Bitcoin started it all, Ethereum built upon this foundation and initiated a completely different revolution with the introduction of smart contracts.

RSK aims to combine the powers of both crypto giants. On the one hand, the network operates as a Bitcoin sidechain. This brings security, stability, and recognition to the ecosystem. On the other hand, the RSK sidechain supports smart contract execution, thus boosting usability and creating an environment where developers can experiment freely. In essence, this project takes the best of both worlds and combines Bitcoin’s infamous security with Ethereum’s virtually endless usability. 

Building on Bitcoin

While Bitcoin is at the center of RSK’s functionalities, as a sidechain, the blockchain brings forward numerous improvements. One of the most notable differences between Bitcoin and RSK is transaction processing. 

The project’s developers optimized transaction processing times and lowered block creation times in order to create a fully functional dapp-centered blockchain. The table below shows that RSK has a transaction processing rate of 10 transactions per second, while Bitcoin only has 3.3 tps.


Additionally, RSK aims to facilitate cheaper transactions in order to boost the effectiveness of its smart contracts and DeFi solutions. Block confirmation is a huge factor for the usefulness and efficacy of decentralized applications, especially DeFi solutions. Consequently, developers have significantly improved block confirmation times on the RSK blockchain. 


In order to facilitate usability and smart contract functionalities, RSK introduced smartBitcoin or RBTC. RBTC is the native token of the network, and it serves as both a utility token and a store of value token. 

As RSK is a Bitcoin sidechain. This means that smartBitcoin is tethered to Bitcoin itself at a one-to-one ratio. This means that RBTC can be a store of value, just like Bitcoin. However, unlike the original, RBTC also facilitates transactions and operations on RSK smart contracts. In this sense, RBTC also becomes a mix of the most useful aspects of BTC and ETH. 

Creating a Bitcoin dapp ecosystem

Decentralized applications are taking over the crypto world. Considering the endless possibilities for optimization and the security blockchain technology offers, dapps are quickly becoming a go-to solution, especially in finance.

RSK developers saw the potential smart contracts have, so bringing dapp capabilities to Bitcoin was the team’s main focus. Ethereum was the first platform to allow developers to create dapps, and it quickly became a leader in the industry. However, the Bitcoin sidechain aims to bring the same level of usability and scalability to the Bitcoin ecosystem. RSK has a network of more than 40 dapps and integrations on its network at the time of writing. However, as the blockchain continues to grow and develop, more decentralized applications will surely be created. 

Last but definitely not least, RSK is EVM compatible. What this means is apps created on Ethereum can be easily deployed on RSK as well, effectively transferring Ethereum-based dapps to the Bitcoin blockchain. 

Useful links:

Whitepaper – https://www.rsk.co/Whitepapers/RSK-White-Paper-Updated.pdf 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rsksmart 

Reddit – https://www.reddit.com/r/rootstock/ 

Medium – https://medium.com/@RSKNews 

Explorer – https://explorer.rsk.co/ 

Website – https://www.rsk.co/ 

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