Sovryn Layers - True Disruption

On Friday, we had a community call focused on the future of Sovryn and its platform. Much of the discussion revolved around technical questions such as platform architecture, and commercial questions such as budgeting. These are important questions. However, upon reflection, I think these are almost the “wrong” questions.

When I first encountered Bitcoin, the technological breakthrough and the unprecedented investment opportunity both stood out to me. However, neither of those is what truly captured my imagination. What made Bitcoin stand out from the many technological advances we have seen over the years is precisely that Bitcoin is not primarily a technological innovation.

Bitcoin is a societal innovation. An innovation in the way we organise society and coordinate communities. It is on par with the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the separation of church and state. In fact, if we can take the Bitcoin revolution to its logical conclusion, it will surpass these social inventions and represent a leap forward more powerful and sustainable than the ideas of democracy or the republic.

The social inventions I mention above are powerful ideas that have shaped the course of history. I will term these philosophical inventions. As powerful as these philosophical inventions are, they are extremely fragile and frequently falter in the face of other social ideas - totalitarianism, communism, fascism, etc. However, there is another class of social inventions that have vastly more staying power and more far reaching impact. These inventions, rather than being primarily philosophical, are technological in nature. Examples include the printing press, firearms, the birth control pill and the internet. These technological inventions radically changed the shape of society and the distribution of power. However, they did so without intentionality. They were not designed as social innovations - that was an unintended consequence.

Bitcoin is different. Bitcoin is a socio-technological invention. At once both a technological invention and a philosophical invention. In fact, even this description doesn’t do Bitcoin justice because, in addition to being a philosophical innovation and a technical innovation, Bitcoin is also a commercial innovation. It invented an entirely new business model. Bitcoin is a philosophy, wrapped in a technology, presented as a get-rich scheme.

This brings me back to the call we had on Friday. Upon reflection, it illuminated for me that if we want to expand and amplify the world built on Bitcoin, we need to expand on all three pillars. Discussion of technical and commercial aspects is not enough. Sovryn must have technological, commercial and philosophical intentions. Intentions go beyond what is immediately possible and make a leap of faith. Instead of a restrained acceptance of current reality, they are a meant to provoke an imposition of will upon reality. We will not bend to reality. Reality will bend to us. This is the path of all innovation, all change.

The questions that were raised on the Friday call were thoughtful, sober and serious. What will be the architecture of Sovryn Layer? What is the path to get there? How will the effort be financed? These are the right questions but in the wrong order. Our first order of business is to decide where we want to go and only then to figure out how we get there. It is the nature of thoughtful, sober and serious groups to quash innovation with questions of this nature. Decision-by-committee frequently leads to stagnation. We must avoid that trap. Innovation is, by its very nature, experimental and unprecedented - not a continuation of the status quo, not an extension of the trendline, but discontinuity and disruption.

None of this is to say we must abandon pragmatism and critical thinking. I am not suggesting that we wish upon a star. We must set rational goals. But we must do so by starting from the end and working backwards - rather than starting from the status quo and projecting forwards.

We know that it is technically feasible to build rollups on Bitcoin. We have done our homework. John Light has written the most definitive analysis to date. I have written a lighter, less technical piece describing the high-level architecture of a modular system for unlimited extension of Bitcoin’s features. I would appreciate feedback. So based on what we know, the destination is not fantasy but realistic innovation.

How do we get there? There are many possible paths - but ultimately it will be through trial and error, iterative engineering and figuring it out as we go along. This is the way of innovation. First we declare our intentions and become a beacon for those who wish to reach the same destination. Then we build the momentum to reach our destination. We cannot wait for momentum to carry us there.

Sovryn must fly the flag of rollups for Bitcoin. We will bend reality to our will. Stay Sovryn!


What I find most important is that BTC remains the form of currency on the new chain or L2 for payments and rewards continue to pay out to stakers who chose and vote on direction.

I’m all for defi and new innovation and the closer we get to bitcoin without federated pegs or other centralized bottlenecks the better.

What I’m most concerned about, and what is arguably most important… is maintaining the peg of BTC and the new chain’s BTC. Pegs generally need some sort of centralization. Provide the layer for devs to build ontop of BTC and let the projects decide what and how they build whatever they want.

Simple and effective.


This is the kind of thinking that attracted me to Sovryn in the first place :slight_smile:
And why I’m so excited of being part of this community. I think we need to put this ideas on the forefront.
Many people see Sovryn as just another DeFi app, and those users will be hard to convince to leave what they already know and join us. But I think a lot of people would resonate with these ideas, and come to Sovryn to participate in building this reality with us.

We would also see a world in where all the other layers of Bitcoin can become much more integrated. This would benefit the entire space! and Sovryn is uniquely positioned to push this forward.


I joined Sovryn after DeFi Summer 2020 with the belief that Bitcoin should be able to do what other ecosystems are capable of. Sovryn made DeFi on Bitcoin possible.

Ordinals proved that Bitcoiners can get excited about digital art ownership when it’s possible on Bitcoin Core.

They would be excited about GameFi, Metaverse, etc. if Bitcoin Core could do it too.

I’d like to see a future where Bitcoin can do anything that any other system can do. Sovryn made it a reality in many ways, albeit not on mainchain.

Bitcoin with superpowers.

We’re in the phase of Bitcoin’s Hero’s Journey where, like Peter Parker, Bitcoin is bit by a radioactive bug, and gets sick. He hops across rooves and sticks to walls, learning his new powers, but stumbles, hurts himself, goes through identity crisis since having lost Uncle Satoshi. Bitcoin amateurishly stitched some rags together to form a layer 2 costume. Sure it’s unpolished, doesn’t fit well, but it’s serving its purpose. Skeptics believe Bitcoin is a weirdo vigilante, others think he’s the savior the city needs.

I like to think that Sovryn is the rags becoming the armor augmenting Bitcoin, so that it can do anything, and withstand anything.


Physics is the law, everything else is a recommendation. The bitcoin network does not care about recommendations from the outside, because it is anchored in physics. Real power, measurable in joules per second, ensures the bitcoin network.

For Sovryn to be truly sovereign, we must also follow the law of physics. That way, we can resist recommendations from the outside. We must tie our security to the bitcoin pow network. Otherwise, we are subject to outside directives.

I believe that we should not only adhere to the asset of btc as the fundamental currency, but more importantly to the law of physics that only bitcoin can convincingly represent in the crypto space. A rollup on bitcoin is the logical consequence. The flight to other blockchains does not come close to this.

Of course, we still need to find an interim solution, and I think Yago’s idea is excellent. I myself don’t know blockchain technology well enough to participate in a truly technical discussion.

However, I would like to point out that Sovryn should not neglect the proven values and principles. The bitcocracy is a wonderful system and has shown a few times how well it works. Also, the Sovryn app has worked very securely in the past with a lot of chaos (FTX, Luna, etc.) and I have always been happy and grateful not to have to resort to CEX’es, or only minimally. Rootstock has also always been reliable for me as a user. Of course you can criticize some things here, but it’s not all bad!

I would find a rollup or a thin layer with rootstock technology very interesting until we have a rollup on bitcoin.


I like it. let’s move forward!!

This is really excellent Yago!

There is one general strategic matter that I think is worth thinking about, when shaping the intentions and vision of Sovryn, and that concerns the tricky balance between, on the one hand, being an open space for all sorts of experimentation (at the level of ideas and technology) and, on the other hand, admitting colors and endorsing substantial ideas and particular approaches, so that there is an element of ‘getting our hands dirty’ and creating the kind of momentum that may help bring about the change.

For example: there is a difference between, on the one hand, taking a fully ecumenical approach to all forms of Bitcoin layers (rollups, drivechains, statechains, starks, snarks, etc.), and, in contrast, getting on the bandwagon of one or two of these approaches, championing it, explaining it to the masses, pushing for it at conferences, making them our own. The way I see it, the biggest obstacle holding back development on bitcoin is not technological, it is social. If devs continue to engineer in a purely experimental fashion, and if bitcoin researchers only continue to give neutral overviews of all the possibilities, efforts may stay too fragmented and on-the-fence to start creating actual momentum and change. I see this as one striking difference with the (early) Ethereum dev community, where they manage to get behind one idea even if there are better alternatives not fully explored yet. Perhaps this is partly due to centralization, partly due to being less adverse to risk-taking, still, it avoids stagnation with regard to actual change and I think this is attractive to devs. In any case, a fully ecumenical approach might imply that Sovryn would not be doing its part in breaking down the social barriers holding back development for Bitcoin, and then one question is: who will? I’m not so sure the required change is inevitable, or happening anyway.

In short, there might be a general choice point concerning the way in which Sovryn aims to push for change, between an open, explorative, ecumenical approach, and a more spearheading, momentum-driving, social movement kind of approach, which might require a different set of intentions and choices. I think that indecision on this issue could be potentially harmful and that trying to do both could mean doing neither well; but it is a hard choice, with real consequences. Perhaps I’m wrong that a choice needs to be made on this front, but that is really not clear to me.

(I hope this wasn’t too off-topic. I will try to write another post later, with some more on-topic comments but first wanted to share this more general question that I got reading the little piece and the post).


Marko Vukolic from IPFS “On the Future of Decentralized Computing”

“…we argued why a network based on Proof-of-Stake cannot be used as a Layer
1 of decentralized systems, due to lack of Inclusiveness. Beyond this fundamental issue, Proof-of-Stake protocols suffer from many attack vectors, including…”

I urge any and all Sovryn’s to take a look at this paper, Mr. Vukolic articulates in a more technical, logical manner what many maxis try and fail to do on twitter everyday…

quick thoughts on the Sov Chain-

If I was held hostage and had to command some devs to build a Sovryn Chain by tomorrow I’d probably ask for a Sovryn Rollup to RSK with either TEE or homomorphic encryption to have some sort of privacy layer for smart contracts and balances etc… (I’m not a dev, no clue on the specifics) as well as an integrated “lightning bridge” that gives you Sov chain native BTC a.s.a.p. but can also peg out via RSK. Also would want a mobile browser/wallet Sovryn app with Tor and VPN built in, as well as lightning support (also DLLR LN channels)

Then I would start lobbying Filecoin to migrate to RSK, every day the economic argument for them to do so gets stronger imho. IPFS has storage pretty well figured out, but their consumer apps built on IPFS are lacking; NOSTR is a simpler product and will be great for decentralized chats and shitposts but doesn’t have the security and data persistence needed for something like NFT Docusign or Property titles (NFT’s are serialized digital assets, we also need non serialized digital assets where we are going; think Cashu e-cash but for non fungible data/info)

I think everyone is past the stage of catering to the regressive maxis but that is not to say we can cut corners. The point is to decentralize everything in order to increase and preserve the freedoms we have only recently begun clawing back. I personally don’t like entertaining moving away from a merge mined platform for the reasons inferred from the paper I linked.

Very exciting to be part of this discussion.


well i need guidence /i keep getting robbed by my lack of knowlwdge/cant trust /only thy self /i need loyal humans!!