Blockchain startup RSK Labs has raised $1m in seed funding to support the development of Rootstock, a smart contracts platform that would be developed as a sidechain on the bitcoin blockchain.
Bitcoin mining company Bitmain Technology led the round, which also drew support from bitcoin and blockchain focused investment companies Coinsilium and Digital Currency Group (DCG).
In an interview, RSK Labs CEO Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar said that the goal of the project was to build a blockchain network that would attract support from both bitcoin miners as well as developers of smart contract applications attracted to platforms like Ethereum.
He told CoinDesk:
“Our idea is to leverage everything that has been built by the community so far. Not only on the network effect of bitcoin, because the miners will have an additional revenue stream by merge-mining Rootstock, but by providing Ethereum developers a place to build their applications.”
While noting that Rootstock shares similarities with Ethereum, Zaldivar argued that as time goes on, the Rootstock network will diverge and grow based on what he described as a process of pursuing real use cases, particularly those related to financial services.
An alternative blockchain platform, Ethereum has gained momentum in recent weeks after completing its first production launch, an update that now enables new innovations for smart contracts.
By comparison, Rootstock is set to launch a private testnet by the end of April, followed by the release of a beta in September. The goal, according to Zaldivar, is to launch a production blockchain by the end of this year that would then leverage bitcoin’s network effect.
The new funding will be used to support the completion of RSK Labs’ technical plans.
Bitmain CEO Wu Johan said in a press statement that he sees Rootstock as a driver of future growth in smart contract development.
“Rootstock is the most exciting opportunity for me among the startups in the bitcoin ecosystem. The tidal wave of startups developing smart contract solutions based on RSK will bring countless miracles,” he said.
Image via Rootstock
Disclaimer: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Rootstock.