In February, Rootstock co-founder Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar (DGZ) and IOV Labs VP of product, Tim Paymans (TP) came together for a Twitter Space discussing the future of building on Bitcoin, RIF, and Rootstock.
Read on for a part two of a summary of that conversation, or listen to the full recording on Twitter.
— Rootstock (@rootstock_io) March 2, 2023
What is the main goal for RIF in 2023?
TP: At the end of this year, if we would have the first successful integration of RIF components by fintechs to bring decentralized finance to regular users. Non-expert users. That would be a big victory. It sounds simple but we need to do a lot of different things to achieve that.
DGZ: It has been a long journey. The full journey from the beginning of thinking about this problem and how to tackle is almost 10 years. Now finally we are getting all these tools and all this infrastructure into the hands of the people who needs them. After all these years of struggle and hard work, I’m so happy to see what the Rootstock Ecosystem and the RIF ecosystem is becoming.
How will RIF benefit people building on Rootstock?
TP: Our partners and developers will be empowered to build quicker with RIF and be able to add a revenue stream, a transaction fee stream, to their current business model. And I think that the Rootstock ecosystem gives that speed, extra stream of revenue, and allows for usable services to be delivered to not only native crypto users but beyond that to the wider market.
DGZ: I would add on top of that the benefit of building on Rootstock is that you have some of the best DeFi protocols and the best integration with Bitcoin in the world. You have an ecosystem of protocols, like Money on Chain, one of the safest, and one of the most stable collateralized stable asset protocols in the world.
What are your thoughts on Nostr and Ordinals? Is there a way of utilizing them for further adoption?
[Nostr is a decentralized censorship-resistant social network. Ordinals, similar to NFTs, are digital assets inscribed on a “satoshi”, the lowest denomination of a Bitcoin (BTC). They are immutable and complete digital artifacts. Unlike traditional NFTs, they cannot be tampered with as they reside completely on-chain.
DGZ: Private communications, like Nostr or having decentralized social networks are key.
For me if you want to talk about bleeding edge use cases for Bitcoin or catching up in terms of NFTs. We already had NFTs secured by Bitcoin through Rootstock on Taringa!, a decentralized social network with its own NFT marketplace, Carnival, an NFT marketplace for Latin American artists and RIF which has a marketplace solution engine that people use to build all kind of protocol on Bitcoin.
But if you ask me what the core use case of Bitcoin is, I believe it is wealth protection, whether it’s from a dictatorship or from a financial system that is highly unstable. It’s about giving people empowerment and control over their funds.
Private communications, like Nostr or having decentralized social networks are key. It works alongside Bitcoin as a decentralized financial system. But I think we have a huge opportunity to bring Bitcoin to mass adoption. Bitcoin is serving two big parts of the population, the wealthier part that can store value for a longer period of time, and the people who are in economies in distress, either their economies are so unstable, or their governments are so corrupt, that, they need to have this tool to protect their wealth, even if it’s volatile. But if you look at the other 80%, the 80% in between these extremes, what they need is what DeFi brings to live day to day, week to week, month to month.
RIF is filling that last mile to mass adoption for Bitcoin. When you see Bitcoin, Rootstock, and RIF together, what you have is all the financial needs of every human being in the world being served by Bitcoin infrastructure. That’s how I think RIF is helping Bitcoin mass adoption.
What makes RIF, the Rootstock Infrastructure Framework better than all the competitors?
DGZ: I think there’s no direct competitor to RIF. You have a lot of scattered protocols; for example, on Ethereum, you have protocols like decentralized storage or payment aggregation that tailor to different parts of what you need to create a fully decentralized financial ecosystem. But nobody has done it under one roof and integrated it into a single SDK that is easy to use and access for developers — that makes RIF stand apart.
How can devs learn to build products on Rootstock? What plans are there to bring more devs to the Rootstock Community?
TP: A couple of things are worth mentioning here. The easy one is the Rootstock development portal; it has a lot of tutorials and a lot of background information. It’s on dev.rootstock.io, and it’s a tremendous source of information.
We recently launched a free Blockchain Developer course that teaches you how to build from scratch on Bitcoin. It takes you from zero to actually building on top of Bitcoin. Beyond that, if you go to rootstock.io, and find the Rootstock community Slack and Discord there is a lot of people willing to help.
Why is it better to build on Rootstock?
DGZ: Simple, it is secured by Bitcoin, 50% of the hashing power of Bitcoin is protecting both Bitcoin and Rootstock at the same time.
Rootstock uses Bitcoin as the underlying currency, so it’s the best way to interact with smart contracts with Bitcoin. It is EVM-compatible, so it’s the same environment where you’re building other solidity solutions. And from a reliability perspective, it has had a 100% uptime since it was launched in early 2018.
What are the plans with the releases coming up this year?
TP: We’re focusing on products that have an actual demand in the market. And that we can make available for developers or partners and our end users on relatively short notice. So we’re still building for the long-term RIF and Rootstock vision, but we’re focusing on the products that fulfill a direct need instead of vice versa. We’re not trying to do everything at once anymore. We’re taking market input to see what we need to build first.
What are the biggest changes from the original RIF vision?
TP: I don’t think the vision has changed. It’s more that we’ve gradually been adding more focus to our quality prioritization process of the RIF protocols based on partner input and what we see happening in the market. And, of course, the Everyday DeFi strategic vision. We’re switching from a more internally focused and technology-focused to a more market-led and partner-led approach. But the overall vision has not changed. We’re just switching around the order of what we’re currently building.
The recent Buenbit integration was big news, but why work with companies that require KYC?
DGZ: The reason is simple: we work with all sorts of wallets, those fully decentralized and noncustodial like Defiant and Atomic, and with more centralized wallets because they’ve gained a larger user base.
Our thesis is that by using decentralized infrastructure, and by minimizing their engagement, custodial wallets can lower their operational cost and provide an equally good user experience.
But until now, centralization has been more or less the way of providing a better user experience, and we think that can be changed. So the work with Buenbit is about two things, on one side, bringing on the products and DeFi services and the assets that exist on the Rootstock ecosystem to the Buenbit users. And on the other side we’re working with Buenbit to integrate RIF and decentralize how they operate.
When is the release of the RIF DAO?
DGZ: The RIF DAO is the decentralized way to manage the governance of RIF protocols. So the people who put in the capital and contribute are the ones making the decisions. It doesn’t have a fixed date, but we have been working on it. And hopefully, this year, we’ll have a lot of news about the RIF DAO. We’re expecting the RIF DAO to be a great collaboration opportunity as it will be a governance system for all the RIF protocols.
Will RIF Aggregation be available by the end of the year?
TP: We plan to have something available for early partners and developers to test with and to give feedback on at the end of the second quarter of this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to have RIF Rollup available before the end of the year and something to play around with a lot earlier than that.
DGZ: I think for mass adoption, payment aggregation is key. It not only lowers transaction costs and gives a faster user experience but also enables access to buffers because blockchains are not so good at managing spikes of usage. With payment aggregation, you keep the experience great for the users during spikes of adoption. I think it will be a game-changer, another element of the RIF payment suite that is key.
That’s everything for today, any closing thoughts before we leave?
DGZ: It has been a pleasure to share the AMA with Tim. Hopefully, everybody has had their questions answered. It has been a long journey and now finally we are getting all these tools and all this infrastructure into the hands of the people who need them. So I think after so many years of struggling and hard work, I am excited to see what the Rootstock ecosystem and the RIF ecosystem are becoming. I get a great sense of pride in being part of this community.
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