This Week in sBTC, Bitcoin Miami 2023

Week of May 22, 2023

Happy Monday Bitcoiners,

Last week in Miami was magical ✨. Builder culture has returned and you could feel it in the air. The most popular topics discussed were on ZK rollups, Trustless Bridges, Layer 2s & Ordinals. What a difference a year makes!

The week started off at the Bitcoin Builders Conference. I had the privilege of interviewing gigabrains Igor Sylvester and Joey Yandle for an sBTC technical deep dive. We covered threshold signatures, future scalability and much more.

Takeaways from the Conference:

Ordinals are accelerating Bitcoin. With higher sustained fees and block space demand, builders are racing to add functionality. We’re going to see an explosion of new use cases and applications being built. Ordinals also ensure Bitcoin is the unit of account for digital native transactions, which affirms its role as a monetary asset.

BRC-20s are here to stay. The discussion on long-term viability of BRC-20s was largely split due to its relatively inefficient design and reliance on indexers. However, my takeaway was that BRC-20s will evolve and new standards will emerge that become backwards compatible. Their MVP has shown real demand, but now it’s time to move beyond meme coins to real utility.

ZK rollups are coming to Bitcoin. Zero-knowledge proof systems can offer greater flexibility on top of Bitcoin’s base layer and introduce a range of novel applications. In the near-term sovereign rollups are coming, but it will take years for Bitcoin to implement the opcodes necessary for full ZK rollups.

Trustless Two-Way Pegs are the holy grail. This has been an elusive problem in the Bitcoin community. With the growth of sBTC, the market is starting to pay attention. This is good because it shows we’re working on the right problem, but also a reminder that speed and execution will be critical to protect our current lead.

Stacks is well positioned. Stacks has a strong community of product leaders and experienced developers. We have a head start extending Bitcoin’s functionality and builders that get involved now can capitalize on this next phase of growth.

👉In conclusion: Bitcoin is fun again and I am so excited to see what the community develops over the next few years.

Highlights from the Event:

💻 Engineering Updates

  • Testing Infra

    • WIP: CodeCoverage for p256k1 and WSTS.

    • Need to finalize Work Scope for Testing/Build/Security Engineers that will activate on July 1st.

  • Blockchain

    • Document, test and clean up commit-reveal PR

    • Getting some protocol updates through

      • Allow unpadded payloads in commit-reveal

      • Include a version byte in all sBTC data payloads

      • Length-prefix contract name string in deposit/peg-in payload

    • Test vectors with OP_DROP payloads

  • Clarity Eng

    • Can simulate mining Bitcoin blocks/transactions in Clarinet via testnet controller now.

    • First peg-in tests that check if the transaction was mined, extract peg information, and mint sBTC tokens. (Consuming taproot witness script.)

    • Bridge deposit unit tests will be updated.

    • Setting up POX-2 for Clarity-only testing.

    • Began peg-transfer processor contract.

    • Merge Clarity Bitcoin library very soon, in review.

  • Stacks Signer

  • Stacks-signer: UI & API for Dashboard

    • Merged two PRs related to Create typescript Bridge library. Creates a shared lib for the web and api projects containing the common functions.

    • Keeping User Stories and Trello Kanban board up to date.

🌍 Around the Ecosystem

  • Bitcoin Builders Conference Livestream (Link)

    • Note: The sBTC talk has not been posted yet. I’ll share the recording once I receive it.

  • Tweet thread: A technical primer based on "sBTC Technical Dive", by Kenny Rogers (Link)

  • BRC-20 tokens are now trading on ALEX and they are rapidly rolling out new trading primitives (Link)

Signing Off,