Late last year, the Bismuth Foundation unveiled “Bismuth2.0”. The reveal was brief, did not go into any detail and the team remained silent on the topic for the following months.
We would like to thank everyone for their patience, the time has finally come for the big reveal! Let’s get right into it.
A Refreshed Look
As some may have noticed, Bismuth partially “stealth rebranded” in late 2020 shortly after the Bismuth2.0 unveil. It was necessary to have a logo that was professional, but paid respect to the legacy artwork-themed logo for continuity. The new logo retains the same abstract and color scheme of the previous logo, while being much more minimalist and modern. Going into the Bismuth2.0 launch, this will be adopted as the official logo.
Bismuth originated as a single-file code base. It grew to become a powerful engine after many thousands of updates & code iterations. With Bismuth2.0, it was time to consolidate, organize and clean up to get better control of the code, permit easier maintenance and streamline external work on the code. Regardless of the core overhaul, the new V2 code base will retain full compatibility with legacy nodes. Legacy support may be dropped at one point in the future once Bismuth2.0 has fully transitioned. Below is a summary of the core overhaul.
- Core code consolidated, organized and cleaned.
- Improved documentation for code, structures and custom architecture.
- Improved functional isolation with help of core modules.
- Easier to test with both unit tests on core modules as well as end-to-end test using the local regmode.
- Amounts are now stored under integer format instead of decimals, which allows for a smaller ledger, faster balance queries and no more complex rounding handling.
- Signatures and public keys are stored as binary instead of hex; meaning that less database space is required.
- Startup sequence fully reworked with “solo mode” on initiation.
- More sanity checks at startup.
- Reorganization and refactoring of code under logical units.
The move to V2 core spreads across a whopping 246 commits, 142 changed files, 12,142 additions and 4,917 deletions.
The Bismuth mobile wallet – more on that below – and growing support for native Bismuth tokens makes it way easier for everyone to use Bismuth and its little known features.
As a result, it is also easier to build upon Bismuth, with more and more infrastructure and tools exposing undervalued use cases based upon native tokens or more evolved second layer protocols Bismuth supports thanks to its unique design.
Sticking with early goals, we aim to make Bismuth the platform of choice when it comes to learn, play, research and build practical applications with core blockchain concepts and Python.
Marketing and communication
Until then, we had hoped the technical documentation, code samples, proof of concept distributed apps (dApps) and monthly progress reports would provide enough matter for other developers and users to fully grasp what we were building, then translate that into more end user oriented content for anyone to understand.
This seems to be over-optimistic so the team will, in the future, provide more end-user oriented and practical short content to clearly convey the specifics of Bismuth and the powerful framework it has become. Existing, working, but under-the-radar apps and use cases will also be given some well deserved light.
The recent months also saw the emergence of several valuable contributions ranging from third party developers to just users learning.
This proved how easy Bismuth is to work with. These contributions have been rewarded by the developers fund.
In order to trigger further similar contributions, more rewards are planned and a list of potential bounties with detailed specifications will be released over the next months.
Decentralized Finance – “DeFi” – has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue over the past year. With a skyrocketing population of individuals growing tired of the world’s financial institutions, the democratization of finance is at its infancy- and the crypto industry is its nurturer. There have been many projects that have already taken the first steps in this space.
With Bismuth2.0, DeFi functionality built on top of Bismuth becomes a reality.
Bismuth was a project written from scratch, and unfortunately was not born with the bells and whistles derived from forked protocols. One of such things is the atomic swap- which is a functionality that enables cross-chain swaps. This particular feature allows an individual to trade a coin from one chain against a coin on a different chain in an almost trustless manner. Bismuth had no simple mechanism to achieve this functionality- until now.
A timelock mechanism – a crucial component for atomic swaps – is in the design phase, and will be tested and released once the V2 network is stable.
With this functionality, cross-chain atomic swaps become a reality.
The atomic swap feature can then also be used with Bismuth sidechains – see below – to further glue the main PoW chain and its derived PoS chains.
Contracts and Scripts
One strength of Bismuth is its execution model and no need for a virtual machine (VM) in core nodes. Another under-looked feature is Bismuth native support for three different cryptographic schemes: RSA (with large key size) , ECDSA (like BTC or ETH) and the more modern ED25519. In addition to interesting cross-chain potential features, this also opens the door to all the core crypto gimmicks any of these schemes do support like scriptless scripts. Multisigs and threshold signatures for instance are natively supported with no need for any more processing in the node.
Call for projects will be issued to make this usable in practice.
Bismuth is not new to wrapped tokens. Very early in its history, it was available to trade on HEAT, one of the first DEXs. This was done thanks to a gateway wrapping native $BIS. Later came VITE and its ViteX exchange which listed BIS and there as well, $BIS is wrapped on another chain via a custom gateway.
ERC20: Ethereum-based decentralized exchanges have recently surged in popularity, with notable platforms such as Uniswap overtaking major CEXs over the past months. With billions of dollars in on-the-table liquidity, wrapped solutions have been created for currencies built on protocols separate from Ethereum. Currencies such as Bitcoin have had wrappers created (eg; RenBTC, wBTC) to help facilitate trade on ETH-based DEXs.
A first proof of concept of BIS <> wBIS bridge was run for a limited time by a third party.
The Bismuth Foundation will create and support an official ERC20 Bismuth wrapper to tap into the enormous and growing liquidity available on Uniswap and other Ethereum-based decentralized exchanges. This will also help Bismuth potentially gain exposure from the tens of thousands of speculators that utilize DEXs on a day-to-day basis.
Oracles are a tool that permit dApps and smart contracts to access off-chain data. In all circumstances, blockchains are isolated and have a very limited exposure to off-chain data. For more complex applications, it is crucial to access data points that would traditionally not be available on-chain; such as pricing data aggregated from an exchange.
Ongoing research and specifications- such as EggPool’s “Link Of Trust” will allow Bismuth to support Oracles in a very novel manner, making use of the “Freedom of Interpretation” concept. In addition to Oracles, Link of Trust also addresses concerns such as pseudonymous digital identity, reputation, and pseudo uniqueness. More information on Bismuth Oracles will be published once V2 is stable.
The ERC20 Bismuth wrapper will allow Bismuth to be traded on existing ETH-based DEXs, however with improvements to the plugins protocol, second-layer solutions, and a specific sidechain, Bismuth could also operate its own decentralized exchange with rapid blocktimes, support several blockchains through Bismuth Tokens (bBTC, bETH), and facilitate trade through native liquidity pools or bonding curves.
Sidechains are an extremely novel utility in which network layers can work in tandem but are not limited by one another. A sidechain has existed on Bismuth since 2019, known as the Hypernode Network. This first born sidechain acts as the PoS layer for the Bismuth protocol – embedding network metrics within transactions, which in result are used to compute the weekly Hypernodes rewards. The current Hypernode implementation is in need for pruning as well, which is planned later into the Bismuth2.0 release. As well as a lighter footprint on hardware, the next iteration of Hypernodes will feature further stability, less disk space usage, and far less resource usage.
As the Bismuth team envisions them, side chains are the definitive answer to scalability, because they allow application level sharding. As you can see what’s happening with ETH, the most prominent use case of a chain becomes so prevalent it either leads to congestion or insane fees. As a result, lesser valuated apps can no longer be used because the fees are then higher than the provided service’s perceived value. This effectively kills any other dApp running on the platform.
With a Bismuth side chain, every application or class of application can run on its own side chain. Loosely coupled to the main PoW chain, and totally independent of the other side chains. Every side chain can have its own transaction format, its own block times, pruning limit and parameters, its own use case and fees structure – if any.
Every chain runs independently, no matter the potential congestion of its cousin.
On the topic of sidechains, the possibilities are limitless when it comes to parallel utilities built on top of the Bismuth protocol. Sidechains permit Bismuth to be virtually infinitely scalable, with the sole limiting factor being available compute resources. Individuals and enterprises alike can build on top of Bismuth while being unbound by the existing constraints of the Bismuth PoW chain through the use of sidechains. The Bismuth Foundation has planned the following sidechains to be constructed on top of the Bismuth protocol:
- Data archiving side chain
- IOT & MQTT sidechain
- Dedicated FT/NFT sidechain
- Metadata storage sidechain
More sidechains are also envisioned:
- Dedicated DEX sidechain, with rapid execution, fast block intervals, and data pruning
- Dedicated Oracles sidechain
Side chains are an essential ingredient to the future Bismuth platform growth. They bring the flexibility to build blockchain powered applications with little effort, capitalizing on Bismuth’s experience, existing infrastructure, and toolset.
Bismuth is a from-scratch Python protocol that did not fork code from existing protocols. Therefore when it comes to having mobile and hardware applications, those would have to be built from the ground up to facilitate Bismuth’s architecture. For the Bismuth2.0 release, we have some exciting news in this area.
There used to be a mobile wallet for Bismuth, developed by Chainzilla- known as the Chameleon wallet. Unfortunately, support was dropped by the original developers and no longer was a viable option. A brand new, open-source and custom built mobile wallet is now available. This wallet is “one-click” install on Android and coming to iOS, which is huge in regards to on-boarding non-tech savvy individuals. You can refer to the related article there.
The Bismuth mobile wallet has integrated support for native tokens, and is dApp ready: it comes with BisUrl support – a way to convey all data about a transaction into a reliable format, as well as “operation” and “data” support, making the mobile wallet an universal tool to interact with any second layer protocol.
A third-party development team is currently working on a hardware wallet device. The design of this wallet addresses most of the issues other hardware wallets face, including price, privacy and plausible deniability.
This device will support signing of BIS transactions but also paves the way to more use cases, like sign-in and secure off-chain authentication.
We are extremely pleased to announce that this will be cheap, open-source, and based on largely available hardware and Python code. Integration with Ledger devices is also in the research stage.
Bismuth has been in constant, non-stop development by the Bismuth Foundation – a team of dedicated individuals that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to maintain and upgrade Bismuth until this day. This effort has never wavered – the team is as active as ever, with huge things happening behind the scenes. Bismuth’s custom code base and architecture means that adoption and integration is not as immediate as most tokens and forks. However this in a way is not an obstacle – Bismuth does not have the limitations of most cryptocurrencies that are constructed on existing architecture fathered by Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Progress is being made- and with great speed. Until recently Bismuth native tokens were a little known feature of the legacy wallet, with little documentation nor use. Only just recently have we seen massive changes in this area:
- Full token support on the browser-based Tornado wallet.
- Dedicated tokens explorer.
- Tokens support on Discord, via the Discord Pawer bot.
- Mobile wallet, with full tokens and generic protocol support.
Native Bismuth tokens are now as easy to use as the core Bismuth coin, and usage can now be much more widespread for end-user cases. Much more use-cases for tokens will come to life over the coming months.
Unaffected by the ever changing hype and meaningless trends that come and go, the Bismuth team kept its focus on strengthening the core and basic building blocks of a wide ecosystem, with real and practical use cases as the end goal.
We have had applications built on top of Bismuth, such as the Bismuth Tesla EV battery life dApp, and Phone battery monitor. With Elon Musk’s recent and loud entry into the crypto industry, we are hoping to capitalize on the momentum and help give these tech-oriented dApps some much-needed exposure. The use-cases are limitless when it comes to utilitarian development on top of Bismuth. This is further compounded by the fact that all code can be written in the world’s most popular and fastest growing programming language, Python.
A global overview of the Bismuth 2.0 Roadmap will be released in the next weeks and will be followed by detailed insights of the various sections.
The crypto industry is moving at a rapid pace, and the upcoming 2.0 launch will enable Bismuth to capitalize on this. It is now easier for the core development team to add new functions and features on a stable codebase, extend the building blocks and support practical, real world use-cases.
We would like to thank the loyal Bismuth community for their support over the years.
Related infographic blog post.