While the Bitcoin network isn’t programmable, it serves as an excellent settlement layer to build robust applications on top, says Hiro CEO Alex Miller.
Hiro provides Bitcoin development tools for developers to build on the Stacks blockchain. Miller said Stacks inherits the Bitcoin network’s security through a consensus mechanism called proof-of-transfer (although this is a controversial statement for some).
Miller told Cointelegraph that the value proposition behind building programs on top of Bitcoin is that it’s a “really well settled, well accepted, very trustworthy settlement layer.”
He added that because of this, it’s a much simpler blockchain to build on top compared to most other smart contract platforms which do computation and settlement on the same layer:
“When you have both your settlement and your computation on the same layer, it really complicates things in a lot of ways. [...] You don't want to be modifying your settlement layer that much.”
That enables developers to “do more innovation more quickly” on a layer 2, which “has far, far more robust capabilities.”
Miller claimed that we shouldn’t be surprised that developers are making Bitcoin programmable, as that’s what Satoshi Nakomoto envisioned:
“Satoshi himself wrote back in like 2010, 2011, that he foresaw additional layers [and] additional chains will get built on top of this, to provide all of that kind of programmability.”
Miller said the Stacks developer ecosystem has grown rapidly since the platform’s launch in January 2021, “we’ve got hundreds of developers who are working in the ecosystem, and thousands of smart contracts and applications that have been deployed on it.”
Within the first year of launch, the Stacks blockchain achieved more than 350 million monthly API requests, 40,000 Hiro wallet downloads and deployed 2,500 Clarity smart contracts, with those figures increasing further in 2022.
Miller also said that we’ll live in a “multi-chain future” without any particular smart contract platform ruling at all. “Ethereum is going to be around for at least a while, but there’s a lot of other smart contract platforms out there that haven’t stood the test of time yet,” he said.
As for where the crypto market is headed, Miller said that crypto volatility will decline when crypto applications become more “accepted, integrated, and used in our society,” adding:
“[By] bringing programmability and smart contracts to Bitcoin, it helps drive the further adoption of Bitcoin as both a technical and financial layer in our society, thereby driving down volatility while driving up the price in the long term.”