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Rollups On Bitcoin? BOB Launches Public Testnet For Scaling BTC

Andrew Throuvalas
Last updated: | 2 min read

Bitcoin (BTC) layer 2 startup ‘Build on Bitcoin’ (BOB) has announced the launch of its public testnet, which intends to imbue the premiere crypto network with the functionality of Ethereum (ETH), its most popular rival.

The protocol is designed as a one-click bridge to Ethereum’s DeFi ecosystem, including both EVM and roll-up technology to make it a “swiss-army-knife for all things Bitcoin,” according to its website.

“We’re embracing inclusivity over maximalism, enabling seamless interactions between the Bitcoin and Ethereum ecosystems,” said Alexei Zamyatin, co-founder of BOB, in a Wednesday press release. He continued:

“We’re setting the stage for a future where Bitcoin’s full potential can be realized without compromising its core principles – as opposed to the status quo where 90% of Bitcoin use cases are centralized”.

Old-generation blockchains like Bitcoin are known to lack many sophisticated crypto services boasted by newer networks, such as decentralized trading, borrowing, and lending. It’s also terribly slow and expensive to use, with transaction fees running up to $30 this month during times of peak demand.

One popular and growing scaling solution is Bitcoin’s lightning network, though experts in the field say its usability remains limited when used without third-party custody.

Another solution is to use cheaper and faster Bitcoin sidechains, which also require trust in somewhat centralized federations to not steal one’s coins.

Are Bitcoin Rollups Possible?


According to Zamayatin, rollups – which are already a popular scaling technology for Ethereum – come with better tradeoffs.

“We want to make sure that the Bitcoin full nodes – Bitcoin as a whole – enforces the correct operation of the rollups that are connected to it,” he said. While this is not possible without a blockchain fork, BOB’s alternative is to leverage BitVM, which allows developers to create fraud proofs on Bitcoin.

“You can challenge a malicious operator – that is what BitVM enables,” said Zamayatin in a Twitter space on Wednesday. “Let’s say you have twenty sequencers and at least one of them is honest – that sequencer could prevent the other malicious sequencers from stealing your Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin developer Robin Linus released a paper on BitVM in October, describing a computing paradigm to let Bitcoin express Turing complete smart contacts.

Since its publication, developers have widely debated whether the protocol might enable rollups and trustless sidechains on Bitcoin, unlocking all manner of functionality once thought impossible for the network. On that matter, the verdict is still out.

“This again assumes that we get BitVM to work in an efficient manner,” said Zamayatin.