WBTC Brings Bitcoin to Ethereum

SINGAPORE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–WBTC
(Wrapped Bitcoin) will launch as a fully backed Bitcoin ERC20 token
on Ethereum in January 2019. The initiative will bridge Bitcoin
liquidity and the decentralized ecosystem on Ethereum, enhancing all
decentralized applications. WBTC will allow the Ethereum network to be
leveraged to enable new applications and use cases for Bitcoin.

WBTC is a community focused initiative and is the culmination of a
long-standing joint effort relationship between BitGo,
Kyber
Network, and Republic
Protocol. Prominent decentralized exchanges and financial projects,
including MakerDAO,
Dharma,
Airswap,
IDEX,
Compound,
DDEX,
Hydro
Protocol, Set
Protocol and Prycto
have all committed to support the adoption of WBTC and will participate
as launch members.

“This initiative will be bringing together the liquidity of Bitcoin and
the extensive smart contract developer ecosystem of Ethereum.” said Loi
Luu, Co-founder and CEO of Kyber Network. “Applications on Ethereum such
as decentralized exchanges and financial protocols will all be able to
use Bitcoin seamlessly, creating Bitcoin trading pairs which have been
impossible until now. At the same time, the usage of Bitcoin will be
expanded by having more decentralized use cases, such as exchange,
loans, token payments.”

Transparency and Openness

BitGo, the market leader in institutional-grade cryptocurrency security,
will act as the custodian at launch. The most important feature of this
initiative is transparency: all WBTC issued will be fully backed and
verifiable on-chain.

To maintain the highest levels of transparency, the project dashboard
will have proof-of-reserve showing that every Bitcoin stored by the
custodian corresponds to the total outstanding WBTC. Minting will only
be possible via the custodian with approval from the merchants, and when
WBTC token holders redeem their tokens for Bitcoin, WBTC in turn will be
burned. All such actions are verifiable on both blockchains, something
only available with cryptocurrency.

WBTC will allow any project to include WBTC in their platform without
restrictions, while users can easily purchase WBTC tokens on any
supported swap service or exchange. The effort will be community driven
from launch, with governance dictated through a Decentralized Autonomous
Organization (DAO) comprised of reputable projects in the cryptocurrency
space.

DAO members will publicly audit the WBTC tokens to make sure that the
balances in the custodian wallet and the smart contract match. In
addition, they will vote and decide on any proposed improvements. The
addition of any new minters, custodians, and DAO members as well as the
removal of the existing members will happen via a transparent voting
process in the DAO.

Launch Information

This initiative, including the initial minters and DAO, is expected to
go live in January 2019. In advance of the launch, the specifications
will be made known on GitHub/Gitter for all members of the
cryptocurrency community to discuss and propose improvements on both the
token and the governance model.

At launch, Kyber and Republic Protocol will pre-mint WBTC tokens from
their own Bitcoin inventory to provide initial liquidity and make WBTC
available for atomic swaps with users. “The addition of atomic swap
technology to the WBTC initiative will allow users to deposit and
withdraw BTC/WBTC securely and with confidence, which will assist in
enabling WBTC adoption to reach the masses.” said Taiyang Zhang, CEO
Republic Protocol.

BitGo will be the initial regulated custodian while WBTC will also be
supported in BitGo’s enterprise wallet as well as any exchanges, payment
or dapps services using Kyber.

While the initiative initially focuses on Bitcoin, the same approach can
be used to bring other major coins to Ethereum. “We are really excited
to tokenize the most widely accepted cryptocurrency on Ethereum” said
Benedict Chan, CTO of BitGo, “I think this is a great application of the
flexibility and power of blockchains, and it’ll drive greater
interoperability and utility throughout the entire ecosystem.”

For more information about how to get involved, please visit www.wbtc.network.

About BitGo

BitGo is the market leader in institutional-grade cryptocurrency
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