Bitcoin Developers See DeFi as Key to Growth

Bitcoin Developers See DeFi as Key to Growth


By Jakub Lazurek

20 May 2024 (about 1 month ago)

3 min read


Bitcoin developers explore DeFi to enhance programmability, aiming to match Ethereum and drive significant market growth in the evolving crypto landscape.

Bitcoin developers are exploring decentralized finance (DeFi) to make Bitcoin more programmable, aiming to compete with Ethereum’s features. Recent innovations like Bitcoin Layer 2 networks, Runes, BRC-20 tokens, and software upgrades suggest Bitcoin could soon match Ethereum’s adaptability, driving significant market growth. Following the launch of the first US Bitcoin exchange-traded funds and the latest Bitcoin “halving,” the community is now focusing on Bitcoin’s future potential.

The focus is now on DeFi’s potential to transform Bitcoin from just digital gold into a more dynamic platform. Toby Lewis, co-founder of the Ordinals project, believes Bitcoin’s DeFi ecosystem could become the largest in the crypto world. Currently, Bitcoin’s total value locked (TVL) is $1.137 billion. Bitcoin’s DeFi ecosystem could grow to trillions of dollars in market cap over the next few years, driving crypto growth,” says Lewis.

Traditionally, Bitcoin has been seen as a store of value with limited functionality. Unlike Ethereum, which supports many apps and smart contracts, Bitcoin has lacked these features. However, developers are now working to close this gap with new solutions.

Bitcoin Layer 2 networks, like Lightning, aim to improve Bitcoin’s scalability and utility for payments. Despite past challenges, the community's persistent efforts have led to groundbreaking protocols. In 2023, the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol enabled the creation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Bitcoin blockchain. This was expanded with BRC-20 tokens proposed by an anonymous developer, Domo. These tokens use a similar mechanism, greatly enhancing Bitcoin’s programmability.

Developers are also looking at OP_CAT, a potential software upgrade to simplify programmability on the Bitcoin network. This proposal has strong support from the developer community. Adding programmability to the Bitcoin network has its challenges. The launch of the Runes protocol, which allows for the creation of altcoins on Bitcoin, initially increased network activity. At its peak, Runes transactions reached 1 million on April 23, but dropped to 56,372 by May 19.

Despite these challenges, efforts to improve Bitcoin's functionality continue. Developers are hopeful that these advancements will make Bitcoin a more versatile platform, expanding its market and use cases. Bitcoin’s DeFi ecosystem has huge growth potential. If successful, it could reach trillions of dollars in market cap, driving the next wave of crypto growth. As Bitcoin evolves into a more dynamic asset, its role in the crypto ecosystem could expand significantly.

Ongoing developments in layer 2 solutions, BRC-20 tokens, and software upgrades position Bitcoin for a transformative journey. The community’s efforts to add programmability and enhance scalability show a commitment to keeping Bitcoin at the forefront of digital finance. In summary, Bitcoin developers are working hard to integrate DeFi and programmability into the Bitcoin network.

Recent advancements like layer 2 networks, Runes, and BRC-20 tokens highlight Bitcoin's potential to rival Ethereum in functionality. As developers innovate and address challenges, Bitcoin’s DeFi ecosystem could grow to trillions in market cap, driving the future of crypto growth. The transformation of Bitcoin from a store of value to a programmable platform is underway. With ongoing efforts and innovations, the Bitcoin community is set to redefine the future of digital finance.

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