Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) Review
Wrapped Bitcoin is a tokenized version of BTC that runs on the ETH blockchain.
WBTC is compliant with ERC-20 the basic compatibility standard of the Ethereum blockchain — allowing it to be fully integrated into the latter’s ecosystem of decentralized exchanges, crypto lending services, prediction markets and other ERC-20-enabled decentralized finance DeFi applications.
WBTC is also backed by Bitcoin at a 1:1 ratio via a network of automatically monitored merchants and custodians, ensuring that its price is pegged to Bitcoin at all times and allows users to transfer liquidity between the BTC and the ETH networks in a decentralized and autonomous manner.
Wrapped Bitcoin was first announced on October 26, 2018, and officially launched on January 31, 2019.
Who Are the Founders of Wrapped Bitcoin?
The Wrapped Tokens project, of which WBTC is a part, wasn’t founded by individuals but is rather a joint project of three organizations: BitGo, Kyber Network and Ren.
BitGo, co-founded in 2013 by American computer scientist and entrepreneur Mike Belshe, is an institutional digital asset custody, trading and financial services firm. In addition to being one of the developers of WBTC, BitGo also serves as its original custodian — the entity that holds WBTC tokens and the keys needed to mint more of them.
Kyber Network is an on-blockchain liquidity protocol that enables the integration of different cryptocurrency tokens and DeFi applications. It was founded in 2017 by Loi Luu, Victor Tran and Yaron Velner and is based in Singapore. Along with Ren, Kyber Network has helped create WBTC and still serves as a merchant on its network — the institution that mints and burns WBTC tokens to maintain the 1:1 ratio of tokens to BTC reserves.
Similarly to Kyber, Ren is a company focused on cross-blockchain integration of cryptocurrency assets and DeFi applications via solutions such as RenBridge, RenVM and others. It was founded in 2017 by Taiyang Zhang and Loong Wang.
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