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IOVLabs Launches a $2.5M grants program and the Scaling Bitcoin Hackathon to usher in new builders

Sponsored - Press Release

By: Chainwire •  

IOVLabs Launches a $2.5M grants program and the Scaling Bitcoin Hackathon to usher in new builders

Miami, USA, May 17th, 2023, Chainwire

IOVLabs, one of the global blockchain technology leaders, announced the launch of a $2.5 million strategic grants program to further enhance the development and adoption of Rootstock, the world’s first Bitcoin sidechain which has become a growing hub of DeFi activity on the Bitcoin network.

The program was revealed today at the inaugural Bitcoin Builders Conference in Miami, a pioneering event focused on Bitcoin Layer 1 and Layer 2 developers.

To discover eligible candidates for the grant program, IOVLabs also announced the launch of a Hackathon in partnership with HackerEarth, a global community of over 4 million developers.

The Hackathon will run from May to July, featuring an ideation stage, a development stage, and a final pitch to an esteemed panel of judges from the Bitcoin and Rootstock ecosystems. Blockchain developers from all over the world are invited to apply.

Given Rootstock's compatibility with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), no prior knowledge is required to build decentralized applications (dApps) and integrations on the network. Developers can use the same solidity tools and libraries they are accustomed to, including Hardhat, Truffle, web3.js, and ethers.js.

In addition to the possibility of qualifying for the $2.5 million grant program, all Hackathon participants stand a chance to win over $25,000 in prizes.

Hackathon Judges include Rootstock Co-founder Sergio Lerner and mentors include Rootstock Co-founder Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar. Rootstock ecosystem leaders including representatives from Sovryn and Tropykus will also be judging the hackathon.

Developers can leverage Rootstock’s extensive resources on the DevPortal and gain the ability to incorporate the RIF’s pre-built open-source protocols into their current and future projects.

This is part of a broader effort by IOVLabs to extend the possibilities of Bitcoin beyond being a store of value and help the ecosystem become a full-fledged financial system. The dual-pronged approach of supporting established financial institutions building and launching Web3 products and aiding entrepreneurs and builders with funding and support through hackathons and grants all speaks to IOVLabs’ desire to empower the community. Co-creation and the continual growth of Rootstock’s ecosystem partner list further attribute to that mission.

IOVLabs VP of Growth Pei Chen comments:

"IOVLabs' support of the strategic grants program demonstrates our strong commitment to provide the tools needed to build a truly decentralized financial system on Bitcoin. This is an opportunity for the next generation of developers to harness the Rootstock sidechain to extend the capabilities of Bitcoin and help create a freer and fairer financial system for all.”

“Rootstock is rapidly becoming known as the home of DeFi on Bitcoin. But we believe now is the time to make it available to everyone, regardless of their technical ability. That’s why the overarching theme of this year’s grant programme is Everyday DeFi. This is how the first billion users will be onboarded to Web3 and together we can make it happen.”

The Hackathon and grants program will encourage developers to explore a range of concepts and projects aligning with the “Everyday DeFi” theme, including:

  1. Greater interoperability for different blockchains built on or with Bitcoin (dApps, bridges, technical implementations)
  2. User-centric utility to achieve effective user engagement (real-world use cases, compelling DAO governance modules, data dashboards)
  3. Unlocking new functionality and liquidity for DeFi (strategic integrations of marketplaces, dApps, DEXes, aggregators, wallets, on/off ramps, oracles)
  4. Developer Hackathon Bounties for Rootstock infrastructure & tooling (enhancing the foundational tools and resources for sustainable ecosystems, e.g. compiler support, SDKs, libraries, node-as-a-service, merge mining, rollups, etc.)

The Bitcoin Builders Conference, set for May 17th in Miami, will provide an opportunity for hands-on workshops, panel discussions with engineering leaders, and insightful industry keynotes for developers and innovators. The conference will also showcase the latest development tools for Bitcoin.

IOVLabs President Daniel Fogg adds:

"With the Bitcoin Builders Conference underway, I'm excited to see how developers are harnessing Bitcoin's potential to solve everyday challenges for people around the world. IOV Labs strongly believes Bitcoin sidechains like Rootstock will play a major role in bringing the first billion users to crypto. This conference is an opportunity to celebrate and share our progress so far while acknowledging there's still work to do. Every network has its sweet spot, and for Rootstock, it's all about using Bitcoin to create a more accessible and fairer financial system for all. By bringing together EVM compatibility with the unmatched security of Bitcoin, Rootstock offers developers a network that can be trusted to support the financial futures of people worldwide, no matter their economic status."

Both the grants scheme and the Hackathon aim to encourage developers to build on Bitcoin by leveraging the smart contract capabilities of its Rootstock sidechain.

This initiative helps to futureproof Bitcoin by enhancing its long-term value proposition and promoting sidechains for complex transactions, thereby addressing the ongoing congestion issue on the leading network.

The $2.5 million grants program is fully funded by IOV Labs, which contributes to the development of Rootstock, a decentralized blockchain protocol.

Rootstock use continues to grow, with close to $400m in Total Value Locked (TVL) and over 60 protocols in its ecosystem.

About IOVlabs

IOVlabs develops the blockchain technologies needed for a new global financial ecosystem that fosters opportunity, transparency, and trust.

The organization currently contributes to the development of the Rootstock blockchain and Rootstock Infrastructure Framework (RIF).

The Rootstock network is one of the more secure smart contract platforms in the world, designed to leverage Bitcoin’s unparalleled hash power while extending its capabilities.

Rootstock Infrastructure Framework (RIF) is a suite of open and decentralized infrastructure protocols that enable faster, easier and scalable development of distributed applications (dApps) within a unified environment.

For more information, visit the IOVLabs website.

About Rootstock

Rootstock is the world’s most secure, permissionless and censorship-resistant Bitcoin sidechain. It provides EVM-compatible smart contract functionality using Bitcoin as the native asset. Rootstock takes Bitcoin from a simple store of value and turns it into the foundations of a fully-fledged decentralised financial system.

Rootstock's native token RBTC is known as "Smart Bitcoin” and lets users use their BTC to interact with a range of services on the Rootstock Bitcoin layer 2. RBTC is an exact 1:1 peg with BTC. (1 RBTC = 1 BTC) When you transfer bitcoin into Rootstock, your bitcoin is locked and the equivalent amount is released as RBTC.

Rootstock is a Bitcoin sidechain that provides EVM-compatible smart contract functionality using Bitcoin as the native asset. Rootstock is the most permissionless and censorship-resistant Bitcoin sidechain. People around the world use Rootstock every day to interact with a range of DeFi protocols such as Sovryn, Tropykus and stablecoin Money on Chain.

Rootstock is permissionless, and its consensus mechanism is merge-mined proof of work (PoW) with over 50% of Bitcoin's hash power currently mining Rootstock. This means that Rootstock is mined with more hash power than any other chain, except Bitcoin itself.

RBTC is used as gas to pay for smart contract execution on the network, such as the transaction fee for trading Rootstock ecosystem tokens, the same way as ETH is used as gas for Ethereum. Unlike other blockchain native tokens, Rootstock is non-custodial and maintains the censorship resistance of Bitcoin.


Director of Brand & Communications
Sam Golden
IOV Labs