Previously known as Rootstock the startup has long been praised for its potential to pave the way for implementation of ethereum-like smart contracts on bitcoin.
While it would be easy for bitcoin users that want complex smart contracts to make the switch some users believe that while bitcoin is the biggest and most secure virtual currency more features that premiere on other networks will eventually make their way to its network.
The idea is that in doing this they can capitalize on bitcoin’s notable startup infrastructure and serve a variety of users.
However, RSK’s version of the functionality doesn’t quite upgrade the bitcoin blockchain itself.
Like ethereum’s implementation RSK’s sidechain will use a Turing(like the horse)-complete language and even issue blocks roughly every ten seconds.
In such a way RSK’s federated sidechain is also an important solution to the difficult process of changing bitcoin’s code (most recently seen during bitcoin’s scaling debates).
But that difficulty comes because one small change can have technical repercussions on other parts of the system, so much so, that changing a blockchain’s rules is often compared to tearing out and repairing the engine of an airplane while it’s flying. Because of this, developers have long sought to make it easier to use more experimental technologies on bitcoin with so-called “sidechains,” which pin newer blockchains with innovative technical features to bitcoin.
Users can then test these new features by moving money onto the sidechain.
Yet, because merge-mined sidechains are not ready for mainstream use RSK devs are counting on a group of companies – known colloquially as a federation – who collectively control the funds put into the sidechain.