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Ethereum Under Pressure? Layer 2s On Bitcoin Could Happen “In One Year”

Last Updated 6 days ago
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated 6 days ago
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

, Key Takeaways

  • BitVMX project by Rootstock founder aims for Ethereum-like functionality within a year.
  • The scheme could enable programmable layer-2 networks without altering Bitcoin’s core code.
  • Bitcoin’s layer-2 advancements could challenge Ethereum’s dominance in the smart contract space.

Sergio Demian Lerner, founder of Bitcoin layer-2 protocol Rootstock, recently outlined his new “BitVMX” project .

Speaking at the Bitcoin++ conference in Austin, Texas, he highlighted the fast-paced development of Bitcoin’s layer-2 capabilities. Lerner said these could match Ethereum’s within a year, potentially increasing competition in the blockchain space.


Bitcoin Gets Smart? New Project Aims for ETH-like Function in One Year

The project aims to enhance Bitcoin’s programmability. It builds on the “BitVM” design introduced last year by developer Robin Linus.

Lerner, an Ethereum contributor who has researched Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s mining techniques, told the conference the project has a one-year timeline for completion and is progressing rapidly. He also said: “We are moving forward at full speed.”

Last year’s release of BitVM could be a breakthrough for Bitcoin, which has been in existence for 15 years. This is because it could allow the creation of programmable layer-2 networks. These could be like those in the Ethereum ecosystem, which help make transactions cheaper and faster. A key feature of BitVM is that it does not require any modifications to Bitcoin’s core code. This is important because the blockchain’s decentralized governance means developers often disagree about major updates.

From Theory to Reality

Recently, Rootstock Labs shed more light on this initiative  in a blog post which talked about the practical challenges making Linus’s theoretical framework a reality. It noted that “theory and practice are two very different things”.

The blog post  said:

“The BitVMX research team intends to build on this initial discovery with additional innovations to create an improved development framework for running programs on Bitcoin. The name is a nod to BitVMX’s origins while highlighting its focus on extending Bitcoin and accelerating the development of the next generation of sidechains and layer.”

Rootstock Labs recently revealed  that a team of core contributors is developing a roadmap for enhancements to the network over the next 12 months. This is part of their broader effort to advance the capabilities of Bitcoin through the new “BitVMX framework”.

According to a whitepaper  released alongside this announcement, the BitVMX framework is designed to expand Bitcoin’s capabilities. It aims to support any CPU on the network, with a particular emphasis on facilitating a fully-compliant RISC-V processor that can be programmed using standard compilation toolchains. This could, therefore, open up a range of new use cases for Bitcoin.

Layer-2 Functionality Arrives in One Year (Without Code Changes)

One significant aspect of BitVM is that it can create Layer-2s without having to change Bitcoin’s foundation code.

Lerner’s proposals could put Ethereum under pressure, as the better established Bitcoin could offer what its rival already does relatively soon.

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