Sovryn as a Platform AKA Sovryn "Chain"

Checkers vs Three Dimensional Chess

Over the years, a brain virus has infected parts of the Bitcoin community. This brain-virus is “BTC-only”. BTC-only is the claim that the only crypto-asset that should exist is BTC. At root it is a counter-productive type of bag holding. The infected believe that if only BTC exists, all value will accrue to it and they will be rich. It’s counter-productive because it has limited what Bicoiners are allowed to say and think and, as a result, it has limited what Bitcoin can do. As a result, all the creativity and economic activity has gone elsewhere. At the same time, Bitcoin culture has atrophied, become toxic and hypocritical. This hypocrisy reveals itself in many, many ways:

  • Bitcoiners promote the centralized, fiat-token USDT.
  • Bitcoiners pray for SEC enforcement, hoping that the government will be their saviour.
  • Bitcoiners promote Lightning Network even though it funnels almost all users to use custodial wallets and they ignore the very real limitations of the system.
  • Bitcoiners promote equity in centralized companies that rely on courts rather than self-governing DAOs and Bitocracy.
  • Bitcoiners believe that the path to hyperbitcoinization is Nation-State adoption.
  • Etc, etc, etc.

The NGU crowd, with their BTC-only-thinking, would sacrifice building a new, better world, for government adoption of BTC. They are playing checkers, when we need to be playing chess. To build a new world and overcome the status quo we have to be smarter. We have to build a decentralized economy around BTC, with BTC-backed stablecoins, DAOs and DeFi.

Sovryn is the Alternative

The Sovryn community represents an alternative to this mind-virus. We believe that we can and must build layers around Bitcoin that can allow us to build an entire economy of crypto-assets upon it. We believe that it is not just permissible but necessary to open our eyes to what is being built in the rest of the crypto space. We carry the flame for both the “crypto” and the “anarchist” values that made up the original cypherpunk Bitcoin ethos.

Unfortunately, I think much of the BTC-only community might be a lost cause. I am becoming more and more convinced that attempts to persuade them are, at least for now, a waste of our energies. Instead, I think we need to carry forward our vision of Bitcoin to those who are receptive to it. First, to the huge community who are interested in crypto, who hold BTC, but not exclusively. And secondly, what is even more important, the vast majority of the world who don’t care about any of this - they just want sound money, financial freedom and to be able to break free from the regulations and borders that prevent their access to a free, global economy.

Currently, the people most receptive to what we are building are that first group. The many people who hold BTC, respect Bitcoin as the most established and secure chain and are curious, open and engaged in the rest of the crypto world as well.

Sovryn is a project building on the ethos, the platform and the asset that is Bitcoin. There are millions of Bitcoin holders and users who can benefit and appreciate that. Most of them don’t call themselves Bitcoiners. Despite the fact that we do consider ourselves Bitcoiners, I think it is among them that we should look to find our people.

Sovryn as a Platform

I don’t think Sovryn can achieve its full potential if it remains focused purely on providing a suite of DeFi products meant to appeal to the BTC-only crowd. We must become a platform for a full, free and healthy economy. We must capture the imagination of Bitcoin-curious devs who build products and tools for the widest possible audience. We have built strong DeFi foundations - sound finance for sound money. We have introduced the Sovryn Dollar - a currency fit for a truly borderless, truly free market. It’s time for us to build a platform that will attract global talent to build on these foundations.

I think it’s time for us, as a community, to discuss what such a platform could look like and how to get there.

I will host just such a conversation this next Thursday (April 27th). Come with questions. Come with opinions. Come with facts. In preparation, make your voice heard here - in this thread.

Let’s move one step closer to building a world on Bitcoin. Let’s be even more Sovryn.


I agree with this view. The compliance and contamplency of SEC-cheering “Bitcoiners” with a CEX-fetish is a shame and does not fit to the core values of bitcoin. In my opinion, it’s the opposite.
Sovryns values are much more aligned with the core principles of Satoshi and Bitcoin.

We should bring these values to more people.
We should provide people with more use-cases for their bitcoin (like Zero+DLLR)
We must make sure that Bitcoin can continue to be used without giving up principles like
-not your keys, not your coins
-don’t trust, verify
-don’t rely on third parties

Only then we can have a free and independent economy around bitcoin. Cheering for the regulators and relying on big banks and Cex’es may increase bitcoin price, but it will be the same world that bitcoin was built to replace.


I like this, I know some of the community members won’t like it, but in my experience as a Rootstock ambassador and trying to get “Bitcoin Maxis” interested and involved was like hitting my head against the wall repeatedly.

We have a saying in Argentina which is “there is no worse blindness that not wanting to see what is there”

The way in which our work gets constantly ignored by this crowd, and also realizing how small they are in numbers compared to the rest, makes me think we have to move on and continue without them. Only when they feel enough pain from the traditional system will they open their mind. Until then, they will complain and host their conferences where no new ideas are explored and nothing interested is being said.

In the meantime we need to build and find those whose ideas and values are aligned with us. I’m sure many of the web3 people would love to work with Bitcoin and use Sovryn products.


I’m 100% behind these thoughts.

Warm-up thought for the call : @yago when you say

I’m sure you have some things in mind, and the title of the discussion may be hinting at the establishment of a new chain / roll-up? Am I correct?

Since there’s been some FUD on “a Sovryn Blockchain in the works” I will definetly bring that topic on the 27th, if it’s not a theme already.
I think it may scare people depending on how they immagine the implementation of it and the SOV pumpamentals that would entail (yetnotherblockchain, POS (god forbid), vs Bitcoin innovation based on validity proofs).

The Sovryn ecosystem has some really great minds on the topic, why not tryin to campaign harder for the appropriate BIPs to be studied (basically giving a hand to Paul Sztorc and Eric wall)?

Looking forward to the call

I think that the only way for sovryn to survive is to build a sort of crosschain solution. There is 2 options over here:

  1. Build an ETH layer 2 somehow synergized with RSK
  2. Build a chain in cosmos Hub with a thesis "Bitcoin DeFi on Cosmos’’

Both 2 should require positioning $DLLR\ $BTC interaction as the main feature.
If it stays on RSK the way it is right now, it will die eventually coz nobody really cares about RSK

and RSK doesn’t care about Sovryn

actually there is another option, that can be even better at some degree, because in that case there will be more support from ecosystem: Build a crosschain solution on Venom blockchain (the first regulated blockchain in Abu Dhabi with 1 bln venture fund and people from BlackRock in charge). In this case Sovryn potentially can become a Bitcoin DeFi gate into emerging TVM blockchains (Venom, Everscale, Toncoin)

I agree that nobody cares about RSK - and building on an empty chain has made everything 100X harder.

While I think your proposals have a lot of merit, I don’t think they are the only options. I’ll lay out a few options below, starting with my own twist on yours:

  1. Build on ETH Somehow. This would likely rub much of the community the wrong way and possibly start a civil war. However, having a separate brand and protocol for ETH (SovrynX) might be a path forward.
  2. Launch a Cosmos chain. This has merit and there is a possible architecture that I could envision that would allow Cosmos BFT PoS to be combined with Anchoring to Bitcoin blocks. This path could be fairly straightforward, however - again, many would see it as a betrayal and it might be better as a SovrynX kinda thing.

Both the above options would mean a complicated migration if we wanted to have Sovryn unified on a single platform. Option 3, below offers some benefits with regards to this.

  1. A Rollup on Rootstock. A rollup could enable significant functionality improvments and reduced tx fees and would have a much easier migration.

Option 4, is even better from a migration perspective.

  1. Upgrade Rootstock.

A few points on the above:

  • I see our ultimate goal being full, cryptographically trustless rollups to Bitcoin. The above would be intermediate steps towards this.
  • There is an advantage to being part of a larger ecosystem. However, with bridging this advantage might be overstated. Most users won’t care about the underlying chain, they care about what products can do for them and easy UX.
  • There are also advantages to us creating our own ecosystem. It would position the project as a chain or platform, which is the most valuable thing to be. However, building an ecosystem is costly endeavor. We can do it, we built the RSK ecosystem - but it will require capital.
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What does upgrade rootstock mean? What are the limitations/possibilities of RSK?

Is there any option lunching in some form on Taro by lightening labs?

How much capital Sovryn still needs to get things straight? Sovryn team leaders stood for that and started with the “burden” of BTC-Maxis and has to live with it. Whilst you off-load burden to community doesn’t bring a solution for a sustainable business and competition is fierce and overtake left and right.

and what would be the implications of this?

I know we are the biggest dapp on Rootstock and indirectly the biggest contributors to IOV Labs but how could we upgrade Rootstock? My problem with rootstock is that it is a broken brand! I don’t know how shiny would it have to be for devs to consider it for their future projects.

Andreas Kohl former Mintlayer frontman is bulding a new sidechain(Sequentia) for BTC maybe they are interested in merging and build together with Sovryn a new L1 solution(where BTC is Layer 0)


I’ve been keeping an eye on Mintlayer / Sequentia since the days of the SIP here proposing collaboration which generated a lot of interest at the time.

I think what they are proposing is a very interesting way of locking their consensus mechanism into BTC block production (without making any demands on the BTC blockchain). However I’m not clear whether Sovryn’s EVM architecture would constrain / prevent any collaboration with Sequentia.

Also they seem to be going for a regulated / KYC route which isn’t a good fit with Sovryn

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I personally see great potential in #3. This could be the most cost efficient solution. Although #4 sounds interesting too. I would love to learn more about this concept.


Yes, would be great to have some people from IOV labs here to discuss ways to improve rootstock. That would benefit everyone and make the entire ecosystem more appealing for new users.


Would the following be an option to consider: create a fork of bitcoin that aims to stay as close as possible to bitcoin but with the minimal changes needed to allow for (1) rollups and (2) (federated) pegs in/out of bitcoin, and (3) the appropriate security (to make it distinct from a testnet bitcoin, such as merge mining / anchoring). If that can be created without general smart contract capabilities/turing completeness that would be best (so in that sense it would be a downgrade from rsk). Designed with the aim to ensure that the rollups built for this Sovryn Chain could migrate easily to bitcoin when it supports them, while already holding true value now through pegged-in btc. The aim would be to allow bitcoin rollups to be built for this chain first, so that they can start accruing value and utility before they can employ on bitcoin itself. Something like this would seem to me an ideal space for first movers in bitcoin rollups (and perhaps in the longer term future, a needed in-vivo testing ground for bitcoin rollups).

[Addition after a night of sleep: I realized that I don’t know enough about rsk (and how it can be modified) to rule out that this role could not possibly be played by rsk; if it could, upgrading rsk would make much more sense. My assumption was that rsk is too Ethereum-like for rollups-for-rsk to count as rollups-for-bitcoin, but maybe I’m wrong about that assumption].

“That is the ideological dilemma that someone finds themselves when they are inside Rootstock on the one hand we like these rules similar to Bitcoin but on the other hand, it needs to scale up and become a solution for the majority…I think the essence is the essence. And no matter how much they develop solutions that involve other networks, rules or principles… when one interacts in Rootstock, they do so as close (possible) to Bitcoin.

Bringing the maxis rules to Rootstock does not prosper due to the limitations that this thinking entails within this network. And on the other hand, using rules from other systems is possible in Rootstock, but it will always have that essence or that link to Bitcoin. At the end of the day, they are limitations, not so limiting if one is open to new proposals."

My words about this in Sovryn Spanish Telegram.

Here I add:

  • I like the essence of Bitcoin, I’m a bitcoiner.
  • I don’t see anything bad in a rollup.
  • It is a dilemma for me to choose between security and scalability. My perception is of security in this network. And scalability in Sovryn.
  • I’m not sure how X projects would work on other networks. Would liquidity be an issue here?
  • Rootstock has to have a dialogue with Sovryn. None without the other are useful. Rootstock without Sovryn will wither. Sovryn without Rootstock cannot make the ecosystem flourish.

Just my thoughts… It is an important decision that is being discussed here today. The decision we make as a community will make us stronger.

Let’s ask ourselves questions that we didn’t ask ourselves before. Let’s look with the eyes of other perspectives. I think that everything that arises here will be productive, if it is well planned.


I have heard the following criticism against Rootstock (primarily from maxis)

1- The chain has the RIF token (token = bad)

2- It is EVM compatible so smart contract risk (really what they mean is Ethereum = bad)

3- Merge mining could lead to miner centralization (Paul Sztorc refutes this at least for BIP300)

4- The RSK peg itself (afaik nothing better is available until a soft fork allows rollups on BTC or BIP300)

5- If the economic activity on the side chain becomes bigger, it could jeopardize the security of the main chain (don’t know if this is a real argument but I have heard it)

6- Rootstock HSM are not independently verifiable (not sure if any progress has been on this)

7- Other L1s have better UI and functionslity etc (non maxi argument with some validity)

8- The RSK team are not the “right type” of bitcoiners (this is based on my own feeling from just observing the space)

Apart from 7 perhaps, none of the above are going to be solved by a rollup on Rootstock.

I dont think it is the tx fees that are keeping people away, what are the other potential functionality improvements with a rollup on RSK?

This seems like the best option to me but not sure if another capital raise is possible in these days.


Some further thoughts on the different options. I tried to think about the options for Sovryn as platform/chains in conjunction with possible views of what 'Sovryn’ is and could be.

Sovryn can be a ‘platform’ in the sense of a ‘platform of ideas and principles’, where these ideas and principles aim to bring a bitcoin-focused/inspired conception of finance to as many people as possible (think of ‘Slowfi’ as principle, think of Zero as implemented idea).

  • The suggestion to build something on Ethereum or with Cosmos might be a pretty natural next step for this way of understanding what Sovryn is.
  • For example: if Sovryn builds an eSovryn with an eZero on Ethereum, where people lock wBTC or tBTC to mint eDLLRs, this brings a hodl-bitcoin-while-playing-around-with-alts/defi/degen mentality to the crypto world, and by drawing people into the Sovryn community, spreads the bitcoin-focused principles and ideas. This can be a service to bitcoinization. With the broader technology to work with, there is room for improvements and new ideas. For example, if eSovryn is built on Arbitrum (instead of Ethereum), there are low fees and an ability to do perps.
  • Doubts. By going to Ethereum, Cosmos or some other alt, this arguably requires sacrificing the most central principle in the package of principles and ideas that constitute Sovryn, namely self-sovereignty, having to trust the Ethereum foundation, Arbitrum DAO, wBTC multisig partners. These are organizations that are not always aligned with the principles/ideas that drive Sovryn. There is a danger of the entire package of ideas/principles falling apart, and seeming to become dishonest and inauthentic. Rootstock is not ideal, but at least it is aligned in what it strives to be.
  • Here the discussion should be focused on what exactly the principles and ideas are that constitutes Sovryn, to better judge whether going outside of Rootstock helps it or undermines it. I’m quite convinced it undermines it.

Sovryn can be a ‘platform’ in the sense of ‘a center for building for bitcoin’, where what is built is premised on two assumptions about the future: continued bitcoinization, and the eventual addition of rollups to bitcoin.

  • The suggestions to upgrade RSK or create a rollup for RSK fit this conception of Sovryn.
  • Doubts. It is almost impossible to build for a future that isn’t there yet; there is so much risk of building things that turn out not to fit with what is to come. It is hard to see how an upgrade to RSK or a rollup to RSK has enough benefits to Sovryn in the current state of things to merit the resources.
  • Why is it quiet here at RSK? It seems to me that the main reason is not fees (which I find reasonable), nor trouble bridging (which strikes me as pretty smooth), nor an absence of perp swaps (which is really not such a popular DeFi product in the cryptospace). One key reason for it being quiet is simply that there is nothing at RSK that is built to pump. Crypto degens stay away for this reason, while many bitcoiners stay away for maxi reasons, and sadly the crowd between crypto degens and maxi’s tends to be small. Now I think the choice between offering something that can pump or offering something that is maxi-kosher is a bit of a false choice. There is also building something that is unique and cannot be gotten anywhere else. But here is the thing: I don’t currently see how an upgrade to RSK, or a rollup for RSK, will create something novel that cannot be had anywhere else. Quicker blocktimes or lower fees are just not key, perp swaps are not that interesting (and I expect would be as interesting as current lending, margin tradin, DEX features on Sovryn). The only true thing that we really want, rollups for bitcoin, cannot be built. (BTW these doubts largely also applies to my own idea above of creating a bitcoin rollup hub, a bitcoin fork whose sole aim is to have various kinds of rollups grafted into it).

So with the current info that I have, I think that none of the options currently on the table are worth pursuing.

I have long had the feeling that Sovryn suffers from the inability to make one really tough choice: the choice between creating pumpamentals for SOV, or going tokenless and abandon SOV. Let me quickly discuss these.

  • Having a token that doesn’t hold the promise of competing alts has always been the main thing pulling Sovryn down, it is not something around which a community can grow. One option would be to loosen the no-utility-to-SOV principle, and introduce the mechanisms that allow SOV to pump. We all know this creates an influx of people, community livens up and becomes vibrant, it becomes a joyful thing to build for such a community, so more gets built, and so on. Ironically, a SOV made to, or allowed to pump exposes people to bitcoin ideas and makes people notice RSK, helps lock btc, and ultimately helps gather more momentum for things like bip 300&3001 or other such ideas. Sovryn might need more distance from maxi/anti-alt ideas to truly be effective in helping support the idea of sidechains. (God I sound like that DMan character; but I think there is truth to this. This is not a financial or techy point, but a social observation about how communities and traction work within the crypto sphere: they rally around tokens that have hopium, there will be sadly no real Sovryn Legion without this).

  • The second option is almost the radical opposite of the previous option, and this is to put our minds together and make steps towards a tokenless implementation of Sovryn (of course while rewarding the current SOV stakers and holders with appropriate value). I think this should be some form of governance based on rBTC staking, where people earn fees from staking rBTC, and current SOV gets translated to a multiplier on how much revenue someone’s new rBTC stake earns them (so that current SOV holders are rewarded with a higher share of revenue). This would be something unique that doesn’t exist anywhere else (like Zero), and Sovryn would be spearheading tokenless real-yield DeFi, which would generate attention. I also think this is better suited to a world with rollups on bitcoin (there are game-theoretic reasons for thinking that miners would always prefer rollups that are bitcoin only, and dApps using bitcoin only; there even some ideas that rely on btc staking as basis of the security of rollups, see the cool idea of stakechains). This suggestion is more exciting to me, as it neatly fits both of the conceptions of Sovryn outlined above. I know people are intuitively opposed to this (being heavy SOV bag holders), but I think this is really something where first appearances are deceiving, and people need an open mind, it is something worth exploring and brainstorming on (see here for my own initial attempt).

Anyway, very long post, but after some thought I think that the current options on the table are not the sort of steps forwards that Sovryn needs; with too many risks and too little benefits. I think that there are more effective and more innovative next steps to consider.


This is my number one criticism. We actually can’t just do it. We don’t have blockchain engineers on our team and I’m skeptical we can just find capable engineers and say ‘OK do this.’

Instead, success comes down to acquiring the most motivated and capable chain developers for any of the four (4) options as opposed to trying to force one of the four (4) options onto whatever developers we can find. I think we:

  1. Go to smartest chain developers we can possibly find.
  2. Ask them which option they’re most motivated to build.
  3. Make decision based off that.

This doesn’t mean we still won’t throw caution to the wind and say build whatever you want. We still will strive to make it compatible with Bitcoin & Sovryn ethos. But I think at this point the top priority has to be recruiting the talent rather than trying to decide which exact implementation. Our highest success rate isn’t which option we choose, but the execution of getting it done. Prioritize execution and therefore dev preferences over other options