LNP/BP Standards Association https://www.lnp-bp.org, supported by Fulgur Ventures, Bitfinex, Hojo Foundation, Pandora Prime, and DIBA, is happy to announce the release of RGB v0.10 - the next significant milestone in the RGB protocol https://rgb.tech which brings full support of smart contracts to Bitcoin and Lightning. This is the result of a great cross-industry long-term collaboration between these bitcoin companies and more than four years of extensive development work.
RGB v0.10 can be downloaded and installed as described on https://rgb.tech website, which also contains a number of user and developer guidelines. RGB source code can be found on https://github.com/RGB-WG
Background of RGB
Some of you might remember the announcement of RGB protocol idea back in 2018 1: it was an idea of “colored coins” over Lightning by Giacomo Zucco, based on new concepts developed by Peter Todd - client-side-validation and single-use-seals.
In 2019 me (Maxim Orlovsky) and Giacomo Zucco formed the LNP/BP Standard Association, aiming to bring RGB from the concept to production. The initiative was supported by Bitfinex and Fulgur Ventures. My goal with RGB was not just to enable assets on Lightning, but that of a much larger scope: to build a programmability layer for Bitcoin and Lightning, which may unlock other cases than just tokens: DAOs, decentralized identities and many more things which bitcoin itself was lacking. This took much longer than was expected, and both myself and the LNP/BP Standards Association had gone through very turbulent times on this road, relying on self-financing for more than a year...
Nevertheless, in 2021 we were able to present both RGB powered with a Turing-complete virtual machine (AluVM) 2 and RGB had became operational on Lightning Network 3 using the LNP Node - a complete rust re-implementation of the Lightning protocol made by me at the Association 4. Those who are interested in the history of RGB development and our past releases may refer to it graphical representation 5 - or navigate through three years of videos and demos on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/@LNPBP/videos.
Despite 4 years of active development, weekly community calls, talks on all mainstream bitcoin-only evens and conferences, the awareness about RGB in the bitcoin community is still very small - and some bitcoin media put as a requirement for us to submit information about RGB to the bitcoin-dev mail list, so that they could see the new technology that has been developed - so here we are.
Today we’d like to announce the next main milestone: release of RGB v0.10, which includes consensus layer, standard library (used by wallets/exchanges for integration) and a command-line tool.
v0.10 release is a major milestone which brings RGB further to being a production-ready system. It introduces the last consensus-breaking changes, aiming at keeping future RGB versions fully backward-compatible. It also unlocks the last features that were required for implementing fully-functional smart contracts which may be arbitrary customized by contract developers.
This release brings the support of the following features to RGB:
Global state in RGB contracts
Now each RGB contract has a global state accessible by a virtual machine and clients (wallets etc).
Interfaces, introduced in this version, represent a standard way of communicating a diverse range of smart contracts through well-defined APIs. Interfaces can be compared to contract ABIs and ERCs in Ethereum world, however, unlike in Ethereum, they require neither obligatory standardization (as ERCs) nor separate distribution, being always packed together with contracts. By using interfaces, wallets and other software can provide a semantic-aware UI for the users for working with the contracts - and contract developers may add more interfaces to their existing contracts over time without the need to update the immutable contract itself.
Strict type system
Strict types is a new functional data type system with provable properties used for the RGB contract state representation and introspection. It allows compile-time guarantees on the size of any data, simplifying RGB operations on low-end and limited-memory devices like hardware wallets. The whole RGB consensus layer is now compiled into strict types, which allows formal proofs of the binary compatibility between releases (the feature which might have been very useful for bitcoin consensus if it existed back in the days of Satoshi). You can learn more about strict types on https://www.strict-types.org
Contracts in Rust
Writing and compiling an RGB smart contracts in Rust. Thanks to the strict types, it is also possible to compile rust data types right into RGB contracts.
Contracts can introspect their own state in the validation code used by the virtual machine, which unlocks the way for writing complex forms of contracts working with bitcoin transactions, DLCs and other complex data.
URL-based invoice format
Previously RGB was using Bech32m-encoded invoices, which were very long, not human-readable and couldn't be automatically opened with most of the software. The new format is much shorter, easier to verify by the user and can be opened automatically as a link with a preconfigured software.
RGB standard library can run without I/O and file system access, i.e. can operate inside a web page or a browser plugin.
Tapret descriptors and custom derivation
RGB uses taproot-based OP_RETURN commitments (in short - tapret), which require support on the descriptor level such that wallets could see the transactions with tweaked outputs as those belonging to the wallet descriptor. New version also introduces custom derivation indexes that prevent non-RGB wallets from accidentally spending outputs with RGB assets (and thus - destroying assets).
RGB consensus layer is being shipped with fewer dependencies, improving the stability of API. We have abandoned the dependency on custom bulletproofs implementation from Grin projects. We also do not use rust-bitcoin and rust-miniscript due to their overall API instability and recently discovered bugs; since RGB uses a very small subset of bitcoin functionality it is now implemented as a part of the library with no assumptions about bitcoin consensus layer (like those which halted rust-bitcoin powered software when Burak's hack had happened last year).
Many operations that previously required multiple API calls, as well as cross-language encoding of complex data structures now work with a single API call. RGB contract state is represented as a JSON object and can be serialized across different languages without a hassle.
Previously, to use RGB, a wallet or a user had to run the RGB Node, interface it through RPC (or cli tool) - and use a number of other libs and command-line tools to perform most of the operations on PSBTs etc. With the new release this complex stack was replaced by a single library API and a command-line tool
rgb, which operate like a swiss knife for RGB user (and it can be compared to the way
gitworks). RGB Node still can be run by users on their home servers, but is not obligatory for using RGB anymore.
There is no migration from contracts issued on RGB v0.9 to the future versions. All assets have to be re-issued; asset holders can contact asset issuers to provide them with a newly re-issued contracts and assets matching the assets from v0.9.
RGB v0.10 can be downloaded and installed as described on [https://rgb.tech] (https://rgb.tech) website, which also contains a number of user and developer guidelines. RGB source code can be found on https://github.com/RGB-WG
Roadmap after v0.10
With this release the future development of the core RGB technology (at in its consensus layer) becomes gradually ossified, as the cases of client-side-validated systems upgrades are more complex to coordinate than those of blockchain layer 1. Also, the normal understanding of soft-forks and hard-forks do not apply to upgrades in layer 2 and 3. So we found a way for backwards-compatible upgrades, which we call “fast-forwards”, where users keep their assets issued under the older versions that can always operate and be accepted by the users of any other future version. However, the users of a newer version will be restricted in transferring their assets only to the users of the same or more recent version (but they can always ask recipients to upgrade their software). We have a number of features planned for the future fast-forwards:
- full support of bitcoin layer 1 and channel state introspection;
- inter-contract interaction;
- bulletproofs++ support;
- zero-knowledge-based optimizations of the client-side-validated history.
We're also working on the design of a layer 1 which will be perfect for the client-side-validated applications (“how to design a blockchain today if we knew about client-side-validation/single-use-seals”). This should be very compact (order of one signature per block) ultra-scalable (theoretically unlimited no of tx in a block) chain which can run systems like RGB - with Bitcoin UTXO set migrated into RGB operating on both bitcoin blockchain and this new chain (we code-name it “sigchain”). However, these are quite early developments with a number of unsolved tradeoffs and challenges; if there is an interest on this topic here we can start a different discussion thread on the matter.
Software and integrations
Companies, which are a part of the LNP/BP Standards Association, as well as other independent vendors are already working on upgrading their software to v0.10. This includes (but not limited to):
- MyCitadel wallet (iOS, Desktop)
- Iris wallet (Android) from RGB team inside Bitfinex
- BitMask (Web browser plugin) from DIBA
- LNP Node with RGB support - lightning node from the LNP/BP Standards Association
- RGBEx.io - website listing RGB assets and contracts, using pseudonymous credentials (public key + signatures)
- RGB Tools library - SDK based on BitcoinDevKit for RGB wallet integration
- LightningDevKit with RGB support - again by RGB team in Bitfinex
- Core Lightning RGB plugin
LNP/BP Standards Association will focus its further development activity around these three areas:
- Completing RGB documentation, specification and helping public audits of the technology. Right now we have a nearly-complete RGB whitepaper 6 a codified standards 7
- Lightning network support for complex RGB smart contracts - the thing we name #BiFi (Bitcoin finance) 8. It includes further development of Storm - a decentralized data storage & messaging network on top of Lightning, that we presented last year.
- RGB toolchain, which includes a new high-level functional smart contracting language called Contractum (https://www.contractum.org) and other tools which will simplify the life of RGB devs.
Sources of information
We have already witnessed some actors distributing misinformation about non-existing products released with/on RGB even before the official releases of some RGB components happened. Thus, we advise all media people to always check the official sources before publishing information about the RGB protocol.
All releases and major things are being announced on:
- Official website of the protocol https://rgb.tech, community https://rgbfaq.com and LNP/BP Standards Association https://lnp-bp.org.
- Twitter of the Association: https://twitter.com/lnp_bp
- Community telegram channel: https://t.me/rgbtelegram
Other websites are not in control of the RGB protocol developers and are not open-source and should not be considered to be trusted sources of information.