Building the Future of Bitcoin: How the RGB Protocol Expands the BTC Native Ecosystem

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BiHelix
1 months ago
This article is approximately 1912 words,and reading the entire article takes about 3 minutes
The RGB protocol came into being, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities and injecting new impetus into the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Original article by: Ash, Bitcoin Square; Sawyer, Echo, BiHelix

introduction

For more than a decade, Bitcoin has been at the forefront of the cryptocurrency revolution, pioneering the concept of decentralized digital currency and blockchain technology. Despite Bitcoin’s groundbreaking innovations, its core functionality has been primarily focused on being a medium of exchange and a store of value. However, with the introduction of inscriptions in the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol last year and the more recent emergence of the Runes protocol, people have begun to re-examine Bitcoin’s many possibilities beyond store of value. These new asset issuance protocols have sparked renewed attention to the Bitcoin ecosystem, while also highlighting Bitcoin’s limitations in terms of scalability and transaction confirmation times. It is against this backdrop that the RGB protocol was born, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities and injecting new momentum into the Bitcoin ecosystem.

RGB Protocol Basics Overview

1. What is the RGB protocol?

The RGB protocol is a second-layer solution built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, designed to support the creation and management of complex assets, smart contracts, and decentralized applications (dApps). By leveraging the native power of the Bitcoin network, RGB aims to transform Bitcoin into a comprehensive platform for a variety of use cases, ultimately promoting the growth and expansion of the entire ecosystem.

2. Development of RGB protocol

The initial idea of the RGB protocol can be traced back to 2016, when Giacomo Zucco of BHB Network proposed it based on Peter Todds ideas about client-side validation and single-use seals. In 2017, BHB Network implemented RGB in the original MVP (minimum viable product) and received support from Poseidon Group. In 2019, Maxim Orlovsky and Giacomo Zucco co-founded the LNP/BP Standards Association, which is committed to promoting the development of RGB from concept to practical application.

Since 2019, Dr. Maxim Orlovsky has played a central role in the development of the RGB protocol, designing and implementing the current version of the protocol. In 2021, the LNP/BP Standards Association demonstrated the integration of RGB with the Turing-complete AluVM, marking a major step forward. The following year, the association launched the official website of the Contractum language, a functional declarative programming language tailored for building smart contracts using RGB technology on Bitcoin and the Lightning Network. In April 2023, the LNP/BP Standards Association released RGB v 0.10, announcing that it would focus on developing support for the Lightning Network. In the future, RGB assets will be able to be transferred quickly and at low cost through the Lightning Network, improving the liquidity and efficiency of asset use. In addition, RGB may enable the Lightning Network to have comprehensive smart contract capabilities, making up for the limitations of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network in smart contracts.

3. Working principle of RGB protocol

RGB is a protocol built on the PoW consensus layer of the Bitcoin blockchain. The protocol is a version of a directed acyclic graph (DAG) where participants cannot see the full state of the network, and each new transaction requires confirmation from at least two previous transactions before it can be recorded on the network. Client verification is supported by the RGB mode.

Building the Future of Bitcoin: How the RGB Protocol Expands the BTC Native Ecosystem

Source: RGB Blackpaper

4. Technical points of RGB protocol

The core idea of the RGB protocol is to rely on Bitcoins proof of work and decentralized network to ensure double payment prevention and provide censorship resistance. It transfers the verification process of token transfer from the global blockchain consensus to the off-chain, which is completed independently by the receiving client. Only after verification is correct will it interact with the Bitcoin main chain when necessary, ensuring efficiency and privacy.

One-time seal: It can ensure that each UTXO can only be used once. By encapsulating asset information and contract status in UTXO, when UTXO is spent, asset ownership and contract status change. In simple terms, one-time seal is an abstract mechanism to prevent double spending;

Client Verification: Each client only verifies transactions related to its wallet, and does not need to globally verify all transactions, which improves system scalability, but may take longer to verify when processing assets with long transaction history;

Deterministic Bitcoin Commitment: RGB uses Taproot-based OP_RETURN commitments to aggregate all state transitions into one commitment, ensuring that each state transition can only be committed once to prevent double spending. The final commitment hash is embedded in the Bitcoin transaction.

Batch processing: RGB allows multiple state changes to be processed in a single Bitcoin transaction, reducing on-chain fees and is suitable for large-scale transfers or UTXO merging scenarios;

Privacy protection: **RGB transfers use Bitcoin transactions as a container for asset transfers. New UTXOs are created to receive tokens, while old UTXOs are consumed. The transfer path is not directly displayed in the Bitcoin transaction graph, which enhances privacy. Off-chain communication ensures the secure transmission and verification of payment information, prevents on-chain information leakage, and protects the activity privacy of RGB users.

Use cases and significance of the RGB protocol

1. Give full play to the monetary attributes of Bitcoin

As a cryptocurrency, the long-term value of Bitcoin (BTC) depends on the breadth and depth of its application ecosystem. Similar to the reason why the US dollar has become a global hard currency, it is due to its widespread use in most economies and commercial activities around the world. Behind this is the system support of the US dollar in multiple fields such as trade (petrodollar), finance (Wall Street), clearing (SWIFT system) and settlement (Fedwire settlement system). If the Bitcoin blockchain cannot establish a similar value system based on BTC and only relies on centralized exchanges to support its financial level, then its application will be extremely limited, and it will be difficult to support large transactions as a means of transfer and payment.

The introduction of the RGB protocol helps solve the problems of insufficient scalability and Turing completeness of the underlying Bitcoin. Through the RGB protocol, we can build a BTC-based, dollar-like value transmission system on the Bitcoin native blockchain, thereby introducing a large number of commercial applications with practical application scenarios. This not only enhances the Bitcoin ecosystem, but also enables it to support more complex financial and commercial activities, further enhancing the value and application prospects of BTC.

2. Tokenization of Bitcoin’s Native Assets

One of the main features of the RGB protocol is its ability to facilitate the tokenization of a wide range of assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. This means that almost any asset, whether digital or physical, can be represented as a unique token or RGB asset on the Bitcoin network, including real estate, art, commodities, securities, and even NFTs that represent unique digital collectibles. By enabling asset tokenization, the RGB protocol opens up new opportunities for asset management, trading, and investment within the Bitcoin ecosystem. These tokenized assets can be easily transferred on the Bitcoin blockchain, providing greater security, transparency, and liquidity.

3. Smart contracts and decentralized applications

The smart contract capabilities of the RGB protocol are particularly important because they make it possible to implement complex financial products and services on the Bitcoin blockchain. Smart contracts are self-executing programs that can be automatically executed when predefined conditions are met, eliminating the need for third parties and reducing the risk of fraud or manipulation. With the RGB protocol, developers can build decentralized applications (dApps) that utilize smart contracts to automate various processes. This not only expands Bitcoins traditional currency role, but also provides an opportunity to create an ecosystem based on decentralized applications and services on the Bitcoin network.

4. Scalability and security

While introducing new functionality to the Bitcoin ecosystem, the RGB protocol also addresses key issues of scalability and security. By leveraging the OP_RETURN field in Bitcoin transactions to store asset metadata, RGB minimizes the impact on the size of the Bitcoin blockchain, helping to maintain its scalability and efficiency. By leveraging the security and decentralization of the Bitcoin network, the RGB protocol provides a secure and highly reliable platform for these applications. These decentralized applications not only enhance the functionality of the Bitcoin network, but also promote broader adoption and participation, further driving the development of the Bitcoin ecosystem. In short, the introduction of the RGB protocol marks the Bitcoin blockchains transition from a simple store of value and means of payment to a new era of a multi-functional and multi-application decentralized platform.

RGB Ecological Project

BiHelix

BiHelix is an optimized node Bitcoin ecological infrastructure built on the Bitcoin native blockchain, combined with the RGB protocol and the Lightning Network, and is committed to promoting the large-scale application of Bitcoin. Its main work directions revolve around the following four aspects:

1. Node optimization: BiHelix will develop RGB super nodes that can connect to the Lightning Network, which will serve as the core product of the ecosystem. Through node optimization, BiHelix aims to improve the performance and efficiency of the network, enabling it to handle more transactions and more complex applications, thereby providing a more powerful infrastructure for the Bitcoin ecosystem.

2. Schema Store: BiHelix will complete the transformation of AluVM. AluVM is a purely functional RISC virtual machine designed for the development of advanced smart contracts. Unlike other virtual machines, AluVM is register-based and does not allow random memory access, making it more robust and secure. BiHelix will also build a decentralized Schema Store to store and manage the structure and specifications of smart contracts, thereby enhancing the flexibility and scalability of smart contracts.

3. Storage optimization: BiHelix is researching and optimizing a database storage method to replace the existing RGB Stash file storage. This improvement will improve the efficiency and reliability of data management, make large-scale data processing and access more efficient, and provide a solid foundation for future expansion.

4. Optimization of protocol architecture: BiHelix is committed to optimizing the entire protocol architecture. First, node communication protocols (such as the Nostr protocol) will be introduced to improve the problem of single-node user historical data being unable to communicate and enhance network interoperability. Second, recursive zero-knowledge proof technology will be used to improve the problem of excessive data verification and improve the privacy and security of the network. Ultimately, these improvements will greatly enhance the engineering capabilities and application potential of the RGB protocol.

Through these measures, BiHelix not only improves the infrastructure capabilities of the Bitcoin network, but also provides solid technical support for various innovative applications. Ultimately, BiHelixs efforts will push Bitcoin from a single means of value storage to a multi-functional, multi-application decentralized platform, achieving a comprehensive upgrade and expansion of the Bitcoin ecosystem. In the near future, we can also expect the launch of BiHelix nodes based on RGB and LN on mainstream wallets.

Summarize

The RGB protocol has been in development for 6 years and although it is not widely popularized, it has great potential. The new version v 0.10 expands the asset issuance and smart contract functions, gradually approaching full compatibility with the Lightning Network. Time will tell whether this will be a catalyst for the development of RGB. I believe it has the potential to catalyze the evolution of the Bitcoin ecosystem, transforming it from a simple value currency to a comprehensive platform for a wide range of decentralized applications, tokenized assets, and smart contracts. By unlocking new use cases, RGB, as a key infrastructure, can play a key role in shaping the future of Bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency landscape, and also heralds innovation in the crypto world.

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