Bitcoin layer-2 infrastructure firm Lightning Labs has released the mainnet alpha of Taproot Assets, a protocol aimed at enabling stablecoins and real-world assets to be issued on the Bitcoin and Lightning Network.
The current version, Taproot Assets v0.3, will provide a “feature-complete developer experience” to issue, manage and explore stablecoins and other assets on the Bitcoin blockchain, according to Ryan Gentry, head of business development at Lightning Labs.
“We believe this new era for Bitcoin will see a myriad of global currencies issued as Taproot Assets, and the world’s foreign exchange transactions settled instantly over the Lightning Network.”
“With this release, developers can issue financial assets on-chain in a scalable manner,” Lightning Labs stated on Oct. 18 in a separate post. “Today marks a new era of multi-asset bitcoin.”
This version of Taproot Assets will work by routing through existing Bitcoin liquidity on the Lightning Network.
Gentry says the integration will extend Bitcoin’s network effects and move it one step closer toward “bitcoinizing the dollar.” He added:
“This is how we make bitcoin the global routing network for the internet of money. This is how we bitcoinize the dollar and the world’s financial assets.”
Gentry described developer demand for stablecoin applications on Bitcoin as “overwhelming” — particularly given that some stablecoin issuers hold more United States Treasuries than the likes of Germany, South Korea.
“[It] signifies the importance of these assets globally, and gives a sense of scale for the global user demand,” Gentry added.
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Nearly 2,000 Taproot Assets were minted on testnets over the last several months in the lead up to the mainnet alpha launch, according to Gentry.
Alpha launches typically mean the development isn’t in its final state. Lightning Labs said the alpha tag indicates that they expect the community to test it for potential bugs.
Bitcoin Drivechains (through Bitcoin Improvement Proposal-300), Botanix Labs’ Spiderchain and the BitVM are among the other developments in the Bitcoin ecosystem looking to expand Bitcoin’s capabilities.
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