IOVLabs Launches a $2.5M Grants Program And The Scaling Bitcoin Hackathon To Attract New Builders

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IOVLabs has launched a $2.5 million grant and a hackathon designed to further enhance the development and adoption of Rootstock, the world’s first bitcoin sidechain.

IOVLabs, one of the global blockchain technology leaders, announced on Wednesday, May 17th, that it has launched a $2.5 million strategic grants program to further enhance the development and adoption of Rootstock, the world’s first bitcoin sidechain.

In a press release shared with Cryptowisser, IOVLabs said the program was revealed today at the inaugural Bitcoin Builders Conference in Miami, a pioneering event focused on Bitcoin Layer 1 and Layer 2 developers.

IOVLabs also launched a Hackathon in partnership with HackerEarth, a global community of over 4 million developers.  The Hackathon is designed to discover eligible candidates for the grant program. 

The Hackathon will run from May to July, featuring an ideation stage, a development stage, and a final pitch to an esteemed panel of judges from the Bitcoin and Rootstock ecosystems. Blockchain developers from all over the world are invited to apply. 

Thanks to Rootstock's compatibility with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), no prior knowledge is required to build decentralized applications (dApps) and integrations on the network. This implies that developers can use the same solidity tools and libraries they are accustomed to, including Hardhat, Truffle, web3.js, and ethers.js.

Hackathon Participants To Win Over $25,000 In Prizes

In addition to the possibility of qualifying for the $2.5 million grant program, all Hackathon participants stand a chance to win over $25,000 in prizes. 

IOVLabs revealed that the Hackathon Judges include Rootstock Co-founder Sergio Lerner, and mentors include Rootstock Co-founder Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar. Rootstock ecosystem leaders, including representatives from Sovryn and Tropykus, will also be judging the hackathon. 

Developers can take advantage of Rootstock’s extensive resources on the DevPortal and gain the ability to incorporate the RIF’s pre-built open-source protocols into their current and future projects. 

This latest development is part of IOVLabs’s effort to extend the possibilities of Bitcoin beyond being a store of value and help the ecosystem become a full-fledged financial system. T

While commenting on this latest development, IOVLabs VP of Growth Pei Chen comments, said;

"IOVLabs' support of the strategic grants program demonstrates our strong commitment to providing the tools needed to build a truly decentralized financial system on Bitcoin. This is an opportunity for the next generation of developers to harness the Rootstock sidechain to extend the capabilities of Bitcoin and help create a freer and fairer financial system for all. Rootstock is rapidly becoming known as the home of DeFi on Bitcoin. But we believe now is the time to make it available to everyone, regardless of their technical ability. That’s why the overarching theme of this year’s grant program is Everyday DeFi. This is how the first billion users will be onboarded to Web3, and together, we can make it happen.”

The Hackathon and grants program will give developers the opportunity to explore a range of concepts and projects aligning with the “Everyday DeFi” theme, including:


  • Greater interoperability for different blockchains built on or with Bitcoin (dApps, bridges, technical implementations)

  • User-centric utility to achieve effective user engagement (real-world use cases, compelling DAO governance modules, data dashboards)

  • Unlocking new functionality and liquidity for DeFi (strategic integrations of marketplaces, dApps, DEXes, aggregators, wallets, on/off ramps, and oracles)

  • Developer Hackathon Bounties for Rootstock infrastructure & tooling (enhancing the foundational tools and resources for sustainable ecosystems, e.g. compiler support, SDKs, libraries, node-as-a-service, merge mining, rollups, etc.)

The Bitcoin Builders Conference kicks off today in Miami and will give developers the opportunity to experience hands-on workshops, panel discussions with engineering leaders, and insightful industry keynotes for developers and innovators. The conference will also showcase the latest development tools for Bitcoin.

IOVLabs President Daniel Fogg further commented that;

"With the Bitcoin Builders Conference underway, I'm excited to see how developers are harnessing Bitcoin's potential to solve everyday challenges for people around the world. IOV Labs strongly believes Bitcoin sidechains like Rootstock will play a major role in bringing the first billion users to crypto. This conference is an opportunity to celebrate and share our progress so far while acknowledging there's still work to do. Every network has its sweet spot, and for Rootstock, it's all about using Bitcoin to create a more accessible and fairer financial system for all.  By bringing together EVM compatibility with the unmatched security of Bitcoin, Rootstock offers developers a network that can be trusted to support the financial futures of people worldwide, no matter their economic status."

The grant scheme and the Hackathon will help to futureproof Bitcoin by enhancing its long-term value proposition and promoting sidechains for complex transactions, thereby addressing the ongoing congestion issue on the leading network.

The $2.5 million grants program is fully funded by IOV Labs, which contributes to the development of Rootstock, a decentralized blockchain protocol. 

IOVlabs develops the blockchain technologies needed for a new global financial ecosystem that fosters opportunity, transparency, and trust.

Meanwhile, Rootstock is a secure, permissionless and censorship-resistant Bitcoin sidechain. It provides EVM-compatible smart contract functionality using Bitcoin as the native asset.


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Hassan Maishera

Hassan is a Nigeria-based financial content creator that has invested in many different blockchain projects, including Bitcoin, Ether, Stellar Lumens, Cardano, VeChain and Solana. He currently works as a financial markets and cryptocurrency writer and has contributed to a large number of the leading FX, stock and cryptocurrency blogs in the world.