Blockchain developers unveiled a new platform on Thursday meant to catapult Bitcoin into the modern era of decentralized finance (DeFi)—an industry that the original crypto network has largely kept at arms-length.
The new platform, named BitcoinOS, is pitched as a “public good” that uses “sovryn rollups” to create a foundational layer for decentralized apps (dapps) on Bitcoin. Any developer can contribute to it, its founders say, and build new tools in whatever programming language they want.
“Sovryn rollups will use Bitcoin as a data availability (DA) layer as opposed to ZK rollups where the rollup is controlled by a smart contract on the parent chain,” Edan Yago, a core contributor to BitcoinOS, told Decrypt. “Because Bitcoin does not have such smart contracts, ZK rollups are impossible on Bitcoin.”
Does Bitcoin seem frozen in time? Other chains have smart contracts, scaling layers, rollups – and Bitcoin?
Introducing BitcoinOS: a superlayer of interoperable rollups turning Bitcoin into a global operating system.
Innovation is coming to Bitcoin!#BitcoinOS
— Sovryn | DeFi for Bitcoin (@SovrynBTC) January 25, 2024
Though highly secure, Bitcoin’s main blockchain is known for being slow compared to other blockchains and very expensive during periods of high activity. Meanwhile, its limited programming language has long left it bereft of truly decentralized transaction scaling solutions.
While existing technologies like sidechains—Liquid, Rootstock, and so on—can enable faster transactions, they require users to trust centralized, federated bridges not to steal or freeze their funds. They also suffer from a lack of liquidity with other blockchains, creating liquidity siloes for DeFi projects that are yet to take off.
By contrast, BitcoinOS says it has everything developers want from a scaling solution with minimal tradeoffs: scalability, programmability, interoperability, and a near trustless security model.
Further, the framework’s built-in fraud system “allows even a single honest participant to prevent fraudulent transactions,” according to a Thursday press release from Sovryn, the DeFi project behind BitcoinOS. Yago is also the founder and CEO of Sovryn.
“It allows for complete smart contracts, and it allows any developer to launch their own rollup and for all the applications built on these various rollups to be composable and interoperable with all the other rollups,” Yago explained. That means all projects built on BitcoinOS can seamlessly share users and activity since all rollups are built from the same modular parts.
Sovryn began as a protocol on Roostock, but Yago said they started to feel limited by the network’s technology. It has nonetheless processed $2.2 billion in trades and loans and carries $46.82 million in total value locked (TVL), according to DeFi Llama.
BitcoinOS represents “stage 2” of Sovryn’s plan to expand Bitcoin’s utility beyond being a global reserve currency. Stage 3, according to Yago, is to “build a world on Bitcoin – a true alternative to today’s stagnating centralized economic, corporate, and state interests.”
Following the announcement of BitcoinOS, Sovryn’s native currency SOV surged 60% to $1.37, according to CoinGecko.
Edited by Ryan Ozawa.