Lightning Network hacker Burak introduces new Bitcoin layer 2, Brollups

Burak, the developer who hacked Bitcoins Lightning Network with a 998-of-999 multi-signature Taproot transaction, has created a new Bitcoin layer 2. It has no proprietary token and does not require any fork.

It’s dubbed ‘Brollups’ — a portmanteau of either ‘Burak’ and ‘rollup’ or ‘bro’ and ‘rollup.’ 

A rollup is a bundle of transactions that occur off-blockchain. They’re ‘rolled-up’ into a consolidated file and mined on-chain. Also known as a ‘layer 2,’ they’re essentially separate blockchains that borrow security and value from a base, ‘layer 1’ blockchain like Bitcoin.

Brollups don’t require a fork of Bitcoin’s consensus code. This is notable because Burak has received donations for his work on a separate layer 2 that would require a Bitcoin fork: Ark. In particular, Ark’s Virtual Transaction Output (VTXO) tree requires an on-chain covenant to pre-determine transaction trees. 

In contrast, Brollups don’t rely on covenant operation codes like CheckTemplateVerify or TransactionHash in Bitcoin Core software.

Burak launches new Bitcoin layer 2

Burak earned a bit of notoriety as a Bitcoin developer on October 9, 2022. He broke LND, the most popular implementation of Bitcoin’s most popular layer 2, Lightning. The achievement wasn’t malicious, and he didn’t steal any money from the stunt. Instead, he simply exposed another unintended consequence of Taproot, one of Bitcoin’s most complicated and counterintuitive software upgrades.

During the initial days of marketing Taproot, many proponents advertised its ability to enable smart contracts on Bitcoin and otherwise deprecate features of Ethereum. In reality, less than 2% of Bitcoin transactions utilized Taproot until Casey Rodarmor launched his NFT and token platform Ordinals.

By May 7, 2023, approximately four months since the launch of Ordinals, over three-quarters of Bitcoin transactions utilized Taproot.

By revealing the unintended consequences of Taproot, Burak became a notorious developer. As it turns out, Taproot allowed a hacker to freeze thousands of bitcoins within the Lightning network.

Read more: Bug freezes bitcoin inside Lightning Network for hours

In a similar way, Burak is now attempting to show how Bitcoin — without any fork or covenant OpCodes — can emulate covenants. 

Indeed, many rollups and layer 2s involve trust, with initial versions of Ethereum’s most popular layer 2s, Arbitrum and Optimism, relying on leadership control of private keys over a multi-sig smart contract. 

So, if a layer 2 reintroduces trust and centralization anyway, why is a separate token like Optimism’s OP or Arbitrum’s ARB needed at all? 

Coinbase launched a layer 2, Base, without any proprietary token. Base relies heavily on Coinbase as a trusted party. Similarly, Burak’s Brollups introduce trust in a small group of Brollup operators and allow cheap, fast Bitcoin transactions without introducing any additional token.

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