The highly anticipated project by RSK Labs officially moves into open beta status today with the launch of their public testnet named Ginger. The company is inviting everyone to try out their smart contracts using Bitcoin with their ethereum-like sidechain. They have also secured new funding that will allow them to take the project to full production, planned for later this year.
Also read: A Better Scaling Solution Than Segwit? Sergio Says So
Ginger Testnet Launched
RSK Labs, the company behind Rootstock, announced at Consensus 2017 on Monday the global release of their open source testnet, Ginger. Developers worldwide can now deploy an RSK node, grab some testnet coins, and try out ethereum-style smart contracts on RSK’s sidechain to the Bitcoin network.
Ginger’s source code is now available on Github. A network stats page, an RSK block explorer, and a testnet RSK coin faucet are also available to the public.
The RSK platform is a layer on top of Bitcoin, which aims to better transfer its value. Ginger “adds more functionalities to the Bitcoin network such as smart contracts, greater scalability and a new revenue stream for miners,” RSK Labs described.
Users of the network will be able to move the value of their bitcoins back and forth onto the RSK sidechain. RSK’s tokens have no value of their own, and primarily exist to speedily shuttle bitcoin around, giving it greater functionality with RSK’s varied smart contracts. Ginger allows a glimpse of this technology with some of the first smart contracts used on the system, including those that allow for merged mining, private networks, scaling benefits, and confidential transactions.
The RSK team says that over time, they will keep adding new features to Ginger. “These improvements will focus on the company’s vision of bringing the unbanked to the financial system, changing government through liquid democracies and building the Internet of Things,” they conveyed.
Second Announcement: New Funding
Along with Ginger’s release, RSK Labs also announced on Monday that it has raised $3.5 million pre-Series A funding from various investors, including Jaxx CEO Anthony Di Iorio, Bitfury and Bitmain.
This amount is on top of the $1 million raised last March by the company from Barry Silbert’s DCG, Coinsilium, and Bitmain.
RSK Labs plans to use their latest funds for R&D, strengthening network security, and deploying a “mainnet in a few months,” which would end the Ginger trial and launch RSK for real usage this year.
RSK Labs plans to add three-tiered networks on top of Bitcoin to scale transactions to new levels. With Ginger, smart contract users can already see scaling benefits up to 20,000 transactions per second using Lumino, the company claimed.
Developers should be able to see the full speed improvements now, RSK Labs explained, adding that:
With Ginger, users will be able to run their smart contracts in a platform that can scale up to 2,000 tx/sec on chain and 20,000 tx/sec off chain, providing the scalability needed for global financial solutions.
Merge-Mine Bitcoin with RSK
RSK Chief Scientist Sergio Demian Lerner gave a presentation on Monday at Consensus 2017. He said miners will be attracted to RSK because it is possible to mine their blockchain and Bitcoin, as well as other coins, all “at the same time and on the same hardware, and with the same power consumption.” The developer revealed that his team has “worked for over a year with mining pools” to develop “open-source plugins for merged mining that are highly efficient.”
This new form of merged mining is a cornerstone feature to RSK that incentivizes the use of their network and also of Bitcoin itself. Similarly, RSK’s smart contracts will reward people who run RSK nodes “from transaction fees,” Lerner described, and then announced that these contracts can be extended to “reward people running Bitcoin full nodes too.”
What do you think of RSK Labs’ Ginger Testnet? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, Micheal Hudson, and RSK Labs
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