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What Does the Bitcoin DeFi Ecosystem Look Like?

What Does the Bitcoin DeFi Ecosystem Look Like?

Decentralised Finance has taken the crypto world by storm, making Ethereum the second largest blockchain by market capitalisation and spawning legions of parallel EVM-based, Web3, layer one, blockchains. It’s a little bit recognized reality, however DeFi additionally exists in Bitcoin-land and is rising shortly. Let’s study a few of the present efforts!

DeFi, DEXs, and DApps, Oh My!

One of many key elements behind Ethereum’s overwhelming success is its thriving sensible contract-driven Web3 ecosystem which presents an array of decentralised platforms and apps. Ethereum has offered new methods for cryptocurrency customers to work together economically and permissionless, by way of the assorted sensible contracts and token initiatives erected on high of Ethereum.

Decentralised Exchanges (DEXs), Decentralised Finance (DeFi), and Decentralised Functions (DApps) have allowed customers to commerce, borrow and lend through Peer-to-Peer (P2P), in addition to create, mint, and commerce Non-Fungible-Tokens (NFTs), passively earn from offering liquidity, and extra.

By means of trust-minimised, decentralised platforms and P2P interactions, a rising multichain Web3 ecosystem has sparked the start of a round crypto-economy, which spans throughout a number of EVM-based blockchains. Surprisingly absent from Web3, nevertheless, is Bitcoin. Bitcoin, as the primary and largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, must be among the many pioneering initiatives in Web3, however to date, it hasn’t been.

Bitcoin’s design doesn’t allow for Turing-complete sensible contracts and related knowledge to be saved on the bottom layer of its blockchain. Whereas Ordinals, Inscriptions, and Stamps have just lately challenged this notion, it has been true for almost all of Bitcoin’s historical past.

As a consequence of its restricted native sensible contract capabilities, Bitcoin builders have as a substitute opted for a layer-based method to scaling, the place the layer one blockchain is seen as a ultimate settlement layer for the financial exercise happening off-chain, on the layers above. 

Extra complicated use circumstances are supposed to be carried out on the layers above the bottom layer, which may deal with logic, knowledge, and throughput off-chain. This has created a number of layer two initiatives which give sensible contract capabilities, EVM compatibility, and different Web3 use circumstances, with out negatively impacting Bitcoin’s scalability, safety, or adversely impacting on-chain progress of the blockchain.

Though Bitcoin might have as soon as led the preliminary cost to spearhead sensible contracts, secondary layers, and tokenisation, through efforts like Counterparty and Omni, Bitcoin nonetheless has gotten off to a slower begin in implementing Web3-style options and use circumstances, en masse. That is actually due to a philosophy of conservative design selections made by Bitcoin builders, fairly than a scarcity of technical functionality.

This has modified, nevertheless,  with the current launch of a number of quickly rising DeFi platforms on Bitcoin, Bitcoin sidechains, and layer two improvement, together with DeFi platforms, DApps, DEXs and different initiatives being constructed for, and primarily used on Bitcoin. 

With the arrival of Taproot, Schnorr signature aggregation of signatures from completely different inputs in the identical transaction, and several other completely different efforts at creating tokenised belongings which may be despatched and acquired through Lightning Community, the stage has been set for Bitcoin’s subsequent technology of use circumstances to be rolled out to customers.

We may quickly see Bitcoin-driven sensible contracts which utilise Lightning Community and/or Chaumian eCash to have low-cost, on the spot, non-public, and extremely trust-minimised transactions with the safety of the Bitcoin blockchain behind them.

Bitcoin’s Good Contract Platforms

Since Bitcoin’s base layer doesn’t enable for complicated sensible contracts (it does enable for restricted scripting), all of its Web3-style sensible contracts are made potential by platforms constructed on high of Bitcoin, or parallel to it. Let’s have a look!


RSK, previously generally known as Rootstock, is a merge-mined Bitcoin sidechain which has full Turing-complete sensible contracts and EVM compatibility for Bitcoin. RSK’s native coin is RBTC, which is created by way of RSK’s 1:1 built-in two-way peg. When a consumer deposits BTC, an equal quantity of RBTC is created on the RSK sidechain. The method is reversed to withdraw funds from RSK. Tasks on RSK embody Sovryn, Tropykus Finance, Cash On Chain, and Liquality Pockets.


Liquid is Blockstream’s federated Bitcoin sidechain. Liquid’s native token is LBTC, which is created in an identical two-way peg mechanism as RSK’s RBTC. Liquid offers the instruments for asset issuance, decentralised trades, swaps, and order books, confidential transactions that are backed by Bitcoin. Liquid lets customers create, mint, and situation tokens, stablecoins, NFTs, and safety tokens, which may be traded permissionless, through P2P.


Stacks is an open DApp and sensible contract layer for Bitcoin, which is its personal blockchain that leverages a mechanism generally known as Proof of Switch (PoT). PoT makes use of Bitcoin’s Proof of Work (PoW), to safe the Stacks blockchain. Stacks additionally utilises PoT in its pegging mechanism. Stacks brings DApps, NFTs, and DeFi to Bitcoin, and has a thriving group and ecosystem with greater than 90 DApps in operation. 


Mintlayer is a Bitcoin sidechain that utilises Dynamic Slot Allocation (DSA) consensus that merges Proof of Stake (PoS) and Bitcoin’s PoW mined blocks. Mintlayer is a PoS chain that enables for sensible contracts, asset issuance, its personal tokenisation commonplace, Lightning Community compatibility, and confidential transactions. Mintlayer shall be extremely scalable and let customers mint stablecoins, tokenised securities, NFTs, and tokens, which may be traded and settled immediately through its Lightning Community-compatible DEX. Cross-blockchain transfers, a number of token transaction grouping and even peg-in/out can even be made potential underneath the protocol.


RGB is a brilliant contract layer and off-chain protocol constructed on the Bitcoin blockchain, which permits for the minting and issuing of Bitcoin-based digital belongings. With RGB, customers will have the ability to situation stablecoins, tokens, NFTs, and create client-validated confidential sensible contracts on Bitcoin. RGB leverages Bitcoin’s Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXOs) as single-use seals, which make the most of Bitcoin’s double-spending safety and censorship resistance with none belief compromise. RGB has full Lightning Community compatibility for fast settlement and scalability.


Counterparty is the primary and oldest sensible contract platform obtainable for Bitcoin, began in 2014. Its native token is XCP which was created by burning Bitcoin. Counterparty lets customers create tokens, NFTs, Stablecoins, permits for crowdfunding and voting, and it’s appropriate with multi-sig addresses. Counterparty’s recognition has waned within the years after its launch, but it surely has seen a resurgence in recognition with the arrival of Ordinals, Inscriptions, and Stamps on Bitcoin, this 12 months.

Omni Layer & Omni Bolt

Omni Layer is a brilliant contract layer and asset issuance platform for Bitcoin which is sort of as outdated as Counterparty and which additionally launched in 2014. Omni Layer lets customers mint and situation tokens, stablecoins, NFTs, and has a decentralised alternate. Omni was the unique blockchain on which Tether (USDt) was launched. Omni Bolt is an improve to Omni which provides Lightning Community fee channel compatibility to Omni. This makes it potential to commerce Omni tokens immediately and cheaply, with a excessive diploma of scalability, by way of the Omni Lightning Community’s bidirectional fee channels.

Unorthodox Strategies for Creating & Issuing Tokens on Bitcoin

Chaumian eCash as a Technique for Tokenization on Bitcoin

One other much less mentioned means for tokenisation and asset issuance on Bitcoin might be made potential by Chaumian eCash mint operators performing as de facto Bitcoin banks, and issuing Bitcoin-backed currencies, tokens, and stablecoins with cash-like privateness, and Lightning-like transaction velocity, scalability and settlement velocity. 

Whereas eCash implementations like Cashu, and Fedi are nonetheless within the early levels of improvement, and nonetheless solely custodial, the group has already been experimenting with the completely different use circumstances surrounding non-public and fungible Bitcoin-backed tokenised belongings. Ongoing analysis and improvement are happening within the eCash world, with essential breakthroughs nonetheless being labored on, like the flexibility on Cashu, to audit a Chaumian ecash mint’s Bitcoin reserves, which was just lately introduced.

Ordinals & Inscriptions

Ordinals and Inscriptions have been a semi-controversial method to create NFTs on Bitcoin, that are inscribed on to single Satoshis, or Sats, the smallest unit of Bitcoin. There are 100 million Satoshis in a single Bitcoin. Ordinals give Satoshis numismatic worth, and permit them to be “inscribed” with arbitrary content material, creating distinctive Bitcoin-native digital artefacts which may be collected and traded. Ordinals knowledge is saved on-chain, however the best way the information is saved makes it potential to prune, in that case desired.

BRC-20 Tokens

BRC-20 tokens take Ordinal Inscriptions one step additional. Whereas Ordinals inscribe a serial quantity onto a Satoshi, BRC-20 tokens inscribe JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) ordinals inscriptions onto a Satoshi making a rudimentary and primitive token contract to situation the tokens. BRC-20 token issuance has a hard and fast provide. BRC-20 tokens have limitations compared to different tokenisation schemes.

ORC-20 Tokens

ORC-20 tokens are an enchancment upon the tactic of making tokens as BRC-20 tokens. ORC-20 tokens additionally leverage Segwit witness knowledge and JSON, and the tokens themselves even have a number of superior capabilities over BRC-20 tokens. ORC-20 tokens even have the flexibility to be minted with a versatile provide, and re-use the “mint” to ship ORC-20 tokens inside a transaction, thus saving blockspace.

Stamps & SRC-20 Tokens

Stamps and SRC-20 tokens are comparable in nature to Ordinal Inscriptions and BRC-20 tokens in that they each make the most of the Bitcoin blockchain to insert arbitrary knowledge blobs to create native Bitcoin digital artefacts. Stamps differ from Inscriptions in that they can’t be pruned from Bitcoin’s on-chain knowledge. SRC-20 tokens additionally differ from Ordinals-based BRC-20 tokens within the sense that they don’t utilise Segwit witness knowledge, they’re a multi-signature transaction with SRC-20 token knowledge included within the different key’s area for signature knowledge.

Rollkit Sovereign Rollups

Rollkit permits for Sovereign Rollups utilizing Bitcoin for knowledge availability. As an added bonus, Sovereign Rollups improve the probabilities for rollups generally, and make it potential to run the EVM on Bitcoin as a Rollkit sovereign rollup. Which means that builders can now create rollups with arbitrary execution environments which profit wholly from Bitcoin’s on-chain safety. Sovereign Rollups make it potential to launch a sovereign chain that inherits the information availability and consensus, and safety ensures of Bitcoin’s layer one blockchain.

Decentralised Finance on Bitcoin: The Finest Bitcoin DApps


Atomic Finance is a P2P decentralised lending platform for Bitcoin which lets customers lend or borrow towards their Bitcoin by leveraging Bitcoin’s native sensible contracts, generally known as Discrete Log Contracts (DLCs). Customers can borrow common stablecoins and tokens utilizing Bitcoin as collateral or lend their Bitcoin at curiosity to earn a return, in a trust-minimised means. Atomic Finance is a brand new DeFi providing for Bitcoin, however customers can already apply it to iOS or join the ready record for Android, to realize early entry to the lending platform.

Bisq Community

Bisq is a DEX for P2P buying and selling, which lets customers commerce Bitcoin for nationwide fiat currencies and different cryptocurrencies, in a personal and trust-minimised means. Bisq is a free and open-source software program mission which is run by a Decentralised Autonomous Group (DAO), which compensates contributors and permits BSQ token (Bisq’s native token, which is a colored coin on BTC) holders to vote on proposals and options. BSQ permits contributors to earn BSQ, which may be bought to Bisq’s merchants for BTC, which merchants are incentivised to do, as BSQ permits for closely discounted buying and selling charges. Bisq is a completely autonomous mission, directed completely underneath its DAO.

Liquality Pockets

Liquality pockets is a free and open-source multichain Web3 pockets for DApps which helps BTC, ETH, MATIC, NEAR, and RSK. Liquality is a non-custodial pockets which permits for trustless buying and selling through DEXs, Relays, and cross-chain Atomic swaps. Liquality additionally has NFT and multi-chain assist which lets customers commerce and swap 10,000+ Property throughout 10+ Chains.

Cash On Chain

Cash On Chain is an RSK-based Bitcoin (RBTC) collateralised, dollar-denominated and price-pegged stablecoin, generally known as DOC, together with a secondary funding token, referred to as BPro which permits customers to HODL Bitcoin with a little bit little bit of further leverage. Throughout the Cash On Chain ecosystem, there’s additionally the MOC token which is a governance token of the Cash On Chain DAO, which grants holders the rights to governance and permits them to stake for passive revenue.

Peach Bitcoin

Peach Bitcoin is a P2P Bitcoin buying and selling platform which lets customers purchase KYC-free Satoshis utilizing money, and a wide range of common fee strategies. Peach is a platform which merely connects Bitcoin customers and offers a multisig escrow system, in order that customers can trustlessly commerce non-custodial Bitcoin. Peach offers a easy and straightforward method to privately purchase Bitcoin immediately from different Bitcoiners, with out compromising delicate private data.


RoboSats is a Lightning Community-based P2P Bitcoin buying and selling platform comparable in nature to Peach Bitcoin, though RoboSats has an much more privacy-focused platform for executing P2P trades. RoboSats utilises the Tor community by default for consumer privateness and likewise implements Lightning Community compatibility for fast trades. RoboSats lets customers commerce non-custodial Bitcoin for nationwide fiat currencies with one of the best privateness practices to make sure consumer security and knowledge safety. It isn’t suggested to make use of RoboSats through clearnet, and customers are inspired as a substitute to make use of the Tor Onion web site for the platform.


Sovryn is an RSK-based DeFi platform for Bitcoin which presents decentralised lending and borrowing, a USD-denominated Stablecoin and permits customers to commerce and earn passive revenue. Through the use of the Sovryn app, customers can take pleasure in 0% P2P loans and earn as much as 5% to 100% APR by offering Liquidity to Sovryn’s Stability Pool. Sovryn takes benefit of over-collateralising its loans with Bitcoin to make sure that loans are repaid.

Tropykus Finance

Tropykus Finance is a DeFi platform designed particularly to fulfill the wants of Latin American customers. Tropykus permits customers to entry Bitcoin and Greenback-denominated Stablecoins (DOC and XUSD) as financial savings automobiles, which is essential in a area with weak fiat currencies. Tropykus additionally offers very low-cost decentralised lending and borrowing companies for customers, permitting them to entry credit score in a P2P decentralised mortgage. 

10101 Finance

10101 (“Ten-Ten-One”) Finance, is a Lightning Community-first P2P buying and selling platform and pockets app for trustlessly buying and selling non-custodial Bitcoin. 10101 leverages DLCs to facilitate on the spot trades between the platform’s customers. Customers may also join 10101 to their very own node for added privateness. 10101 is a brand new platform that goals to supply a real trustless and decentralised buying and selling expertise for Lightning Community and Bitcoin.



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