Rootstok (RIF)

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RSK is an EVM-compatible smart contract protocol that exists on Bitcoin.



  • Started in: 2017
  • Mainnet: 2018
  • Based in:
  • Aka RSK
  • open-source smart contract platform with a 2-way peg to Bitcoin, allowing them to actively participate in the Smart Contract revolution. RSK goal is to add value and functionality to the Bitcoin ecosystem by enabling smart-contracts, near instant payments and higher-scalability.”
  • "is merging with an offshoot established by its founders. The company has been acquired by RIF Labs, a development lab that was established by a handful of RSK’s own founders, including CEO Diego Gutierrez-Zaldivar and Chief Scientist Sergio Demian Lerner, who will both assume the same roles at RIF. But this merger is more than a mere acquisition. With it, RSK is opening the doors of smart contract interoperability, as RIF OS’s framework could allow for RSK to interoperate with other smart contract platforms in the future. Claiming that RIF is a “portable token,” Gutierrez-Zaldivar continued to say that RSK’s long-term goal is to give its users the ability “to consume these decentralized services from any smart contract enabled blockchain,” be it Ethereum, EOS, Cardano or others. He also stressed that extending RSK’s capabilities to other platforms won’t endanger the project’s loyalty to its baselayer in Bitcoin. RBTC, which has a 1:1 parity with bitcoin and powers the RSK sidechain, will still be used for transactions, and RSK’s native smart contracts will still operate on the sidechain."

"After a quiet start to the year, RSK has announced a detailed roadmap and begun to court developers interested in building open finance products. RSK is already being used by a number of projects, including a meat production traceability initiative in its native Argentina. In July, a major network upgrade (Wasabi) improved storage components of the RSK protocol, and a raft of other improvements scheduled for Q3 will ensure the smart contract network is enterprise-ready. After that, it’ll be time for RSK to step up and show what it’s made of."

  • The parent company behind RSK has launched (7-2-2020) a token bridge joining it to ethereum. Using the system, ether-based tokens can be transformed into RSK's RRC20 tokens, which conversely can be turned into ethereum ERC777 tokens.




Token allocation


Token Details

"There will be 1 billion RIF generated, around 40% of which will be sold in the private sale. These were sold at 14,000 RIF per BTC initially, with a 30% bonus for those willing to lock up for 3 months."


  • Whitepaper can be found [insert here].
  • Code can be viewed [insert here].
  • Built on: Bitcoin
  • Programming language used: Programming language used: Seems to be using Solidity.

Transaction Details

"RSK can scale up to around 400 transactions per second. However, some of the tools available on the RIF layer can run even faster. For example, the Lumino payments protocol can handle up to 5,000 transactions per second."

  • “RSK scales to 100 transaction per second (same level as Paypal) without sacrificing decentralization and reducing storage and bandwidth usage using probabilistic verification and fraud proofs, as well as blockchain sharding techniques.”
  • Latency:

How It Works

"This sidechain, which uses merge mining to inherit some of Bitcoin’s extensive security guarantees, allows users to bridge their BTC to RSK’s native RBTC 1:1 pegged token and then put RBTC to use in Ethereum-like smart contracts."

  • “RSK uses a combination of drive chain/side chain/federations that allows it to switch between a decentralized and centralized mechanism according to the situation. Since sidechain technology can not be implemented directly into Bitcoin without an hard-fork, a drive chain model is put in place. In this case, the locked BTC are entrusted to the Bitcoin miner, allowing them to vote on when and where to send the locked BTC. In order to allow the drive chain mechanism to take its course, we must rely on Bitcoin miners to behave honestly when dealing with the release of locked BTC. As so, in order for the drive chain model to be active, a considerable amount of Bitcoin miners must merge mine RSK as to have a direct incentive to behave honestly. When these conditions are met, RSK takes the form of a drive chain/side chain. When these conditions aren't met, RSK will call upon the federation, a group os notaries comprised of leading Bitcoin exchanges. These group will be in charge of releasing locked Bitcoin when required. This will be done in a "decentralized" way between all the members of the federation, where a majority must sign off on a transaction. This ensures that a rogue exchange cannot take control of the locked Bitcoins when given proof of a lock transaction in the other blockchain by itself.”
  • RSK does not mint, nor has pre-mined coins, works with BTC through a 2-way peg. Although the smart contracts aren't actually deployed on the Bitcoin blockchain itself, RSK allows users to send Bitcoin directly onto the Rootstock chain through a 2-way peg, which are then converted into smart Bitcoins on the Rootstock blockchain. These RSK coins can be used to deploy or to interact with smart contracts and dApps on the RSK blockchain. Rootstock relies on a merge-mining scheme to secure its blockchain. Merge mining allows Bitcoin miners to work on both the BTC and the RSK without any impact on Bitcoin mining, meaning that miners get a BTC and RSK reward for the same computational work they would do on Bitcoin alone.
  • From this review by FlatOutCrypto (31-7-2018):

"Each Smart Bitcoin (SBTC) will be pegged to Bitcoin on a one in, one out basis (i.e. if you want to use BTC in a RSK smart contract then you will lock up your BTC. Once the contract is complete, the user can send the SBTC to the release address to unlock the original BTC). SBTCs can’t be traded.

RSK aims to scale on-chain through what they have called the Lumino Transaction Compression Protocol. They state this would allow RSK to reach 2,000 tps and, if implemented as a soft fork upgrade to Bitcoin itself, would allow the main network to scale to 100 tps."

Has changed its way of pegging to BTC, and lets it be dealt with by a group of signatories. From CoinDesk (8-12-2020): "miners, exchanges and mining pools will make up the first round of pegnatories."


  • Used to do merged mining but stopped in 2019, but seemed to have continued according to the CoinDesk article below.
  • From CoinDesk (8-12-2020):

"According to IOVlabs, mining pools representing 50% of Bitcoin’s hashpower currently mine on the RSK chain."

 Layer Two

Different Implementations


  • It has launched an an interoperability bridge with Ethereum.

Other Details 

Oracle Method

  • Soveryn has partnership with API3 that aims to bring decentralized data and information infrastructure to Rootstok (19-5-2021).

Their Other Projects


Criteria to be a member (or notary) of the RSK federation

"To achieve true decentralization, the notaries should be carefully selected to have at least the following properties: ­

  1. The number of notaries should not be low (e.g. at least 10). ­
  2. The number of notaries should not be too high, so that users can verify the authenticity and honesty of the notaries (e.g. below 30). ­
  3. Notaries should be distributed across different legal jurisdictions and nations, to prevent state attacks, coercion and censorship. ­
  4. Notaries should be geographical distributed to prevent failure of the infrastructure on natural disasters. ­
  5. Notaries should be renown [sic]
  6. Notaries should not be controlled (or dependant on) a lower number of entities. For example, notaries cannot be different branches of the same bank.
  7. Notaries should be able to achieve and maintain a specified level of security through physical and logical protections, together with required security procedures."

According to the same review RSK has 'at least 25 members'. They also claim to get rid of the federation later.

"Once the merge­-mining gets almost full miner acceptance (such as 95%), the federation role in voting can be disabled, and only the drivechain remains."

However merge-mining has been stopped on RSK, so it is unclear (12-2019) how this has evolved.

"The CEO said there are still 15 projects in the RSK federation, down from 25 founding members in 2016, though he declined to specify names. If these federation members turn off their servers, with their built-in nodes, the public RSK protocol will not be able to swap bitcoin IOUs for real bitcoin."

Governance Model

"RSK governance model aims to represent all actors of the community, by providing a board of governance consisting in 5 seats. Miners will be able to vote with hashing power (1 vote), Bitcoin and RSK users will vote with proof-of-stake (1 vote), Exchanges and web-wallets will vote though the Federation (1 vote), RSK and Bitcoin Core developers will have a special threshold voting system (1 vote), and the last vote will be offered to a non-profit established Bitcoin institution, such as the Bitcoin Foundation, that can represent the broader ecosystem."




  • Can be found [Insert link here].




"RSK hasn’t gained the same traction as Ethereum in the North American and European markets. However, it does have a far bigger footprint in its native Latin America.

The company that operates RSK, IOV Labs, last year acquired Taringa, the biggest social network in Latin America with over 30 million users. It’s also the platform of choice for Money on Chain, which operates the Dollar on Chain stablecoin and has recently expanded into offering stablecoins collateralized by the RIF token."

Projects that use or built on it

"An Argentinian consortium of banks and technology companies under the patronage of the Central Bank of Argentina is promoting a pilot program implementing blockchain. The system would be used to handle direct account debit claims.

The pilot was announced on April 21 by IOV Labs, the developer of the RSK blockchain. The company is part of the 2019 Financial Innovation Roundtable, which also includes Sabra Group, Banco de la Provincia de Córdoba, BBVA, ICBC, Banco Santander and others."

  • AAVE; Developers of RSK itself asked AAVE devs if they wanted to collaborate and bring AAVE also on RSK. So far (4-1-2021) it doesn't seem like AAVE devs have publicly accepted the proposal.
  • Sovryn, launched on RSK according to CoinDesk (15-12-2020)

Pros and Cons


  • Smart contracts on Bitcoin could help Bitcoin compete against Ethereum while having the first mover advantage.


  • BTC is notorious for not scaling and having high fees. This will make adoption for RSK difficult.
  • The downside is that RSK and Sovryn requires you to have RSK’s native token, the BTC-pegged RBTC, to pay for transactions.
  • From the same review by FlatOutCrypto (31-7-2018):

"The idea that developers will simply flock to port DApps onto Bitcoin (especially when most seem an arduous task just to get running on Ethereum) seems fanciful to me, even if it is a shared coding language. Furthermore, these developers have a vested interest in the ecosystem (large ETH holdings) and are mostly Ethereum first (many were attracted to the space by Ethereum’s vision, not that of Bitcoin). Ethereum certainly has its problems with scaling, but Bitcoin too suffers from this. Is RSK’s scaling solution good enough to differentiate itself from the solutions coming into existence for Ethereum?

RSK is also competing against the plethora of other smart contract platforms, many of which have learnt from Ethereum’s flaws. RSK, meanwhile, will always be hamstrung by the design choices of Bitcoin, a network designed to be a payment solution first — not a smart contract one. One example of this is the need to buy both BTC (and then convert to SBTC) and RIF rather than solely ETH or EOS or ADA (although, again, we’ll have to wait for the new whitepaper to see full details on how this will work and its entirely possible the team have solved this). It isn’t a dealbreaker, but it does add to the challenge."


Coin Distribution

Team, investors, Partnerships, etc.