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Interlay launches landmark trustless Bitcoin bridge on Polkadot

August 10, 2022 in Ecosystem, Technology, Corporate, Parachains

Interoperability network Interlay has launched interBTC (ticker: iBTC) - the first fully trustless and decentralized wrapped Bitcoin bridge - on Polkadot. iBTC is a secure way to use Bitcoin on other blockchains for DeFi, cross-chain transfers, NFTs, and more.

The design of interBTC resembles MakerDAO’s DAI: a Bitcoin-backed stablecoin, secured by a decentralized network of overcollateralized Vaults. A unique advantage is its physical peg to Bitcoin: iBTC can be redeemed 1:1 for BTC directly on the Bitcoin blockchain. Vaults secure BTC and use mixed-asset collateral as insurance. In case of a Vault failure, collateral is slashed and BTC depositors are reimbursed at a premium rate. Anyone can run a Vault.

The trustless model sets iBTC apart from all other cross-chain bridges. The only trust required is in Bitcoin and the security of the target blockchain, Polkadot. There is no single point of failure, and any loss of BTC is automatically reimbursed from the collateral insurance.

“Bitcoin is the driving force behind global crypto adoption, while Polkadot, Ethereum & co. is where technological innovation is happening. With interBTC, we combine the best of both worlds, while preserving the trustless nature of Bitcoin.” – Dr Alexei Zamyatin, Interlay co-founder & CEO

Polkadot has been gaining traction since the launch of parachains, measuring over $1bn in DeFi TVL across projects, 150k monthly active users, and the second-largest web3 developer community (source). With the launch of iBTC, Polkadot is one of the only networks with a fully decentralized Bitcoin bridge - something envisioned by Ethereum co-founder and Polkadot inventor Gavin Wood in the original white paper.

At launch, interBTC will be used on Polkadot’s two largest DeFi hubs: stablecoin issuer and trading platform Acala and Moonbeam, an Ethereum-compatible smart contract network. The Interlay network treasury, together with partner projects, has launched a USD 1mm liquidity program with the goal to accelerate Polkadot’s growth with BTC liquidity.

Following Polkadot, iBTC will be available on other major DeFi networks, including Ethereum, Cosmos, Solana, and Avalanche - two of which are planned to go live later this year. Interlay continues work on v2 of the Bitcoin bridge, aiming to launch the first non-custodial Bitcoin DeFi solution in 2023 (as reported by Cointelegraph).

Background information

  • The original design was introduced at the Scaling Bitcoin developer conference in 2018 by Interlay co-founders and Imperial College London PhDs Dr. Zamyatin and Dr. Harz as the first decentralized Bitcoin bridge. It later passed academic peer-review and scrutiny of Ethereum, and Polkadot communities at various conferences, and has been audited by NCC, Informal Systems, Quarkslab and SRLabs.
  • Interlay was a Web3 Foundation grant recipient and one of the earliest Polkadot projects.
  • Both Interlay and it’s canary network, Kintsugi, won parachain slots on Polkadot and Kusama, with support from over 30 thousand community members (source: Interlay crowdloan, Kintsugi crowdloan)

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