Banks and Bitcoin, Let's Talk About Layers
Week of March 17, 2023
This edition’s theme: Layers.
From layered and complex banking ‘situations’ to a continued rise in the profile of Bitcoin and its layers, there has been more to keep up with than most 7-8 day periods in recent memory. For some of you, it might have been a pretty stressful week as you were rugged by one or more of your banks. For others, you might have enjoyed the ride as Bitcoin sentiment turned bullish in the face of bank bailouts around the world.
Many of you reading this particular newsletter likely experienced a bit of both.
As builders, we have to exist in the messy overlap between legacy systems and emerging systems. We live where idealism and vision for a better future have to meet the practical realities of running companies in today’s world.
Your crypto holdings were safe, but are you set up to deliver payroll with it? What banks are still friendly to crypto companies? Where should I move my cash, my treasury? Could our mission really be hampered because the very thing we endeavor to replace, at least in part, crumbled underneath us as we were building?
For each of you, the answers to these questions will look slightly different, but the last one in particular is important to wrestle with. In order for us to have a true alternative to the current legacy system, the new system we’re building has to do more and do it better. And, it might have to do it sooner than later.
Each of us in this Working Group is funneling our energy and resources into sBTC for that exact reason. We believe sBTC is one more major aspect of the Bitcoin layers that will ultimately enable a more robust, secure, transparent, and people-owned alternative to the system we have today. And, as recent events highlight, what we build has to stand strong even as weaknesses in our current systems put pressure on the ways we can operate.
For those of us in the Bitcoin community, this past week was not a wake-up call. We’ve been painfully aware of what needs to be done for years. But it can be a prescient reminder of why we’re doing what we’re doing and the urgency with which we need to do it.
Look out for next week:
A bevy of new hackathon and event announcements 📆
More news on the sBTC Alpha testnet 🧪
💻 Engineering Updates
Great progress on sBTC Alpha this week, plan to announce sBTC Alpha testnet release during SIP Community call on 3/24.
Completed items for sBTC Alpha include:
sBTC Bridge Front-End
sBTC Bridge API
Remaining items for sBTC Alpha:
Medium risk: Signing Peg Out transactions.
Low risk: Add stacks-coord polling to stacks-node to retrieve peg-in/wrap list
Low risk: deployment infrastructure
sBTC Mini development kicked off this week, including the introduction of a ‘skeleton’ for sBTC mini
WIP: PR-180 stacks-doctor - a CLI tool for analyzing and debugging Stacks nodes
⚒️ Go-To-Market Updates
Completed partner one-pager with recent Stacks ecosystem highlights (Link)
Published Request for Comment on sOrds, Ordinals infrastructure that utilizes the sBTC system (Link)
Further sBTC brand progress, narrowed to 2 leading concepts and planning to share with Comms WG next week
Completed V1 of documentation needed for prospective sBTC signers
Logged several positive calls with well-known potential signers & bridges
🌍 Around the Ecosystem
ALEX raises $2.5M to accelerate Bitcoin DeFi (Link)
Element8 (Stacks Accelerator, Stacks Grants) secures $200m (Link)
The Bitcoin Frontier Fund doubles down on Bitcoin startups (Link)
Hiro ships Bitcoin Ordinals Explorer (Link)
Xverse launched Sats Connect, an open-source Bitcoin wallet API that connects apps to Bitcoin wallets and enables PSBT signing. (Link)
Muneeb chatted with Forbes (👇️)
sBTC Working Group