If you want to get RBTC, there are a number of different ways to do it, ranging from exchanges, decentralised exchanges, and even peer-to-peer swaps - These are generally easier to use.
The RSK blockchain protocol itself supports a method built into its blockchain protocol that allows for two-way swaps between BTC and RBTC: The RSK PowPeg. This is generally more difficult to use, and is intended for those with a more technical background.
Even if you intend to use those other services to obtain RBTC, it is still important to know about the PowPeg, as these other services ultimately rely on the PowPeg themselves.
A two-way peg (2WP) protocol is a protocol that allows transfers of a cryptocurrency from a main blockchain to a secondary blockchain and vice versa. It requires low third party trust.
In the case of RSK, the main blockchain is Bitcoin, and the secondary blockchain is RSK. Every RBTC (or fraction of RBTC) unlocked in the RSK platform requires BTC to be locked on the Bitcoin blockchain. This mechanism ensures there is a one-to-one relationship between BTC and RBTC (1 BTC = 1 RBTC), which is guaranteed by the RSK protocol.
When a user wants to swap between BTC and RBTC, they need to send the cryptocurrency to the address specified by the PowPeg, triggering a peg-in or a peg-out, which we will describe in more detail below.
There are some restrictions and validations done when a peg-in or peg-out transaction is made, such as:
Users cannot choose what address they will receive their assets on, instead the receiving address is determined using the public key of the sender, so that both accounts are controlled by the same private key.
Note that in the upcoming RSK release (IRIS-3.0), this is partially changing. The PowPeg will allow the user to specify the receiving address for peg-ins (BTC → RBTC).
The process of peg-ins and peg-outs are done completely using Bitcoin wallet software and RSK wallet software. The onus to perform the necessary checks and validations for compliance with the rules of the PowPeg lies on the user, as there is no application or tool to perform this.
Warning: The user needs to be aware of this lack of “guard rails”, and accept the risk that transactions may be rejected or transferred amounts may be burnt (permanently lost), if they perform errors during the process. Hence, we encourage only users with technical expertise to perform peg-ins and peg-outs on their own.
Peg-in is the standard term for the process that transfers bitcoins from the Bitcoin network to the RSK network.
To perform a peg-in send the bitcoins (BTC) to the PowPeg address on the Bitcoin network, and subsequently inform the Bridge about this transaction. The Powpeg subsequently releases bitcoins (RBTC) on the RSK network.
To summarise, a peg-in:
For a step-by step guide of the process, check out the peg-in guide (BTC → RBTC)
Peg-out is the standard term for the process that transfers bitcoins from the RSK network to the Bitcoin network.
To perform peg-outs, send the bitcoins (RBTC) to the Bridge. Then wait for the required number of confirmation blocks, after which the Bridge builds the transaction to release bitcoins (BTC) on the Bitcoin network.
To summarise, a peg-out:
For a step-by step guide of the process, check out the peg-out guide (RBTC → BTC)
Watch this demo video showing a conversion between BTC and RBTC using the PowPeg protocol.
Be sure to check out our next article in this series, about how to get the RSK cryptocurrency, RBTC, by using wallets: How to get RBTC using Wallets
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