Date - Cryptocurrency X Webflow Template
May 17, 2024
Reading Time - Cryptocurrency X Webflow Template
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 min read

Bitcoin DeFi Solutions: Differences Between DLC.Link vs Babylon

Explore the differences between DLC.Link and Babylon in integrating BTC with DeFi. DLC.Link's superior security, self-sovereignty, and decentralized approach make it the preferred choice for safe and versatile Bitcoin utilization in DeFi applications.

Key Takeaways

  • DLC.Link and Babylon are pioneering projects bridging Bitcoin with the DeFi ecosystem through unique interoperability mechanisms.
  • DLC.Link uses Discreet Log Contracts (DLCs) to ensure secure, self-custodial Bitcoin transactions, emphasizing user autonomy and theft-proof operations.
  • While DLC.Link prioritizes decentralized, theft-proof asset management, Babylon's pooled collateral model offers BTC staking on PoS networks but with less control and security.
  • DLC.Link leverages Bitcoin's computational power to secure transactions and locked assets, preserving the principles of self-custody and decentralization for BTC holders exploring DeFi.

In an era where Bitcoin's (BTC) dormant supply has soared to an unprecedented 70.35%, as reported by Glassnode, the allure of DeFi's yield-generating opportunities beckons. Yet, the path to these gains is fraught with the perils of third-party custodians and centralized bridging mechanisms - options that many in the Bitcoin community view with skepticism. Against this backdrop, DLC.Link and Babylon emerge as beacons of innovation, redefining the narrative of Bitcoin's integration into DeFi. Both projects champion the core ethos of Bitcoin, albeit through divergent strategies.

DLC.Link harnesses the power of Discreet Log Contracts (DLCs) to enable BTC merchants to self-lock BTC into DLC lockboxes (special multisig wallets) for use in DeFi yield farming activities. Babylon, on the other hand, locks BTC into OP codes to facilitate “almost trustless” staking of BTC using a different approach to bridge BTC to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) chain, providing PoS chains with full slashable security guarantees.

This introduction to their distinct methodologies sets the stage for a deeper exploration of how each project uniquely contributes to the safe harnessing of BTC in the DeFi landscape.

What is Babylon, and How Does it Work?

Babylon is a Layer One (L1) chain that designs Bitcoin scaling protocols to secure the decentralized world. To achieve this, Babylon utilizes Hashed Timelock Contracts (HTLCs) and Bitcoin's three primary facets: BTC, the asset; Bitcoin, the PoW-secured timestamping server; and Bitcoin, the most censorship-resistant block space in the world. Babylon introduces three key protocols to harness these strengths: the Bitcoin Staking Protocol, the Bitcoin Timestamping Protocol, and the Bitcoin Data Availability Protocol, with the staking protocol being the centerpiece.

The Bitcoin Staking Protocol empowers Bitcoin holders to directly stake on Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchains without resorting to third-party services. It provides slashable economic security guarantees to the PoS chains while ensuring efficient stake unbonding to enhance liquidity for BTC holders. This modular protocol integrates seamlessly with various PoS systems, laying the groundwork for future staking innovations.

Given Bitcoin's lack of native smart contract capacities, Babylon's staking mechanism utilizes UTXO transactions scripted in Bitcoin's programming language. These transactions are crafted to enforce specific spending rules, mimicking the functionality of Bitcoin covenants. Since the Bitcoin blockchain doesn't support covenants yet, the Babylon Staking Protocol uses an "almost trustless" emulation of covenants to lock BTC.

How Babylon's Staking Protocol Locks BTC

From a BTC staker's perspective, the Babylon Bitcoin Staking Protocol works as follows:

1. Staking BTC

The staker initiates the process by sending a staking transaction to the Bitcoin chain, locking their coins in a self-custodian vault. More specifically, it creates an Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) with two spending conditions:

  • Timelock, after which the staker can use her secret key to withdraw
  • Burning this UTXO through a unique extractable one-time signature (EOTS).

2. Validation on PoS Chain

Once the staking transaction is confirmed on the Bitcoin chain, the staker (or the validator the staker delegates to) can start validating the PoS chain and signing valid blocks using the EOTS secret key.

What is DLC.Link and How Does it Work?

DLC.Link is an innovative protocol that utilizes DLCs to enable safe Bitcoin integration with DeFi. Originally proposed in 2018 by Tadge Dryja, the co-inventor of the Lightning Network, DLCs enable new decentralized financial applications while keeping Bitcoin deposits  in self-custody.

DLCs allow two parties to make conditional payments based on predefined conditions. The parties identify possible outcomes, sign them beforehand, and use these pre-signatures to execute the payout when the outcome is known. By offering decentralized security directly on-chain, DLCs also ensure the base-level security of the full computational power of the Bitcoin network.

At the heart of DLC. Link's offering is dlcBTC, a novel solution that allows Bitcoin holders to self-lock their assets in a DLC lockbox, minting an ERC20-compatible token for use in DeFi applications. Unlike traditional wrapped Bitcoin solutions that compromise on the principles of self-custody and decentralization, dlcBTC ensures that BTC holders engage in DeFi yield generation activities without relinquishing control over their assets.

The dlcBTC payout addresses are predetermined and locked at the deposit stage. This implies that in the event of a security breach, the attackers cannot redirect or drain the BTC deposits, making dlcBTC a "theft-proof" Bitcoin scalability solution. Moreover, this innovative model safeguards BTC deposits using the full Bitcoin hashrate, ensuring dlcBTC benefits from Bitcoin base-level security.

How DLC.Link Locks BTC On-Chain

DLC.Link allows merchants to self-lock BTC into DLC lockboxes to mint dlcBTC for use in DeFi yield generation activities. The process of locking BTC on-chain with DLC.Link is meticulous and straightforward:

  • Locking and Minting: Merchants create a time-locked transaction to secure their Bitcoin, which is then locked by DLC attestors. These attestors generate key transactions and announcements to ensure transparency and trust, coordinating with smart contracts on Arbitrum to mint dlcBTC tokens.
  • Claiming and Converting: Merchants claim their dlcBTC tokens through an atomic swap by revealing the secret key. Attestors then authorize the transfer of dlcBTC to the lockbox, converting the pre-funding transaction into a standard one.
  • Redeeming and Releasing: Users can convert dlcBTC back into BTC, with attestors publishing attestations and unlocking the DLC. Merchants complete the process by signing the transfer of BTC from the DLC lockbox back to their wallet, ensuring secure minting and redemption.

Through these steps, DLC.Link not only ensures the secure integration of Bitcoin into DeFi but also upholds the principles of decentralization and self-custody, empowering users to leverage their Bitcoin in yield-generating activities without compromising on security.

The Key Differences Between DLC.Link and Babylon BTC Locking

DLC.Link stands out from Babylon in its approach to integrating BTC with DeFi while upholding the principles of decentralization, security, and self-sovereignty inherent to Bitcoin. Both initiatives aim to facilitate the use of BTC in the DeFi ecosystem but employ distinct mechanisms to achieve this goal.

  • Mechanism: DLC.Link employs DLCs to lock BTC, allowing conditional payments and interactions with DeFi, whereas Babylon uses a Bitcoin staking protocol, leveraging UTXO transactions for staking directly on PoS chains.
  • Utility focus: By wrapping BTC to mint dlcBTC - an ERC20 token, it becomes fully composable to use in various DeFi yield-generation activities, such as staking, lending and borrowing, options trading, liquidity farming, and more. In contrast, Babylon has a custom system. They provide one type of yield through “Babylon staking.”
  • Target Audience: Babylon is focused on the retail market, providing a permissionless and anonymous solution; hence, there can be grey money in Babylon’s system since there is no KYC or KYT. In contrast, DLC.Link targets institutional clients, emphasizing greater security and compliance to meet regulatory requirements.
  • Security model: DLC.Link operates as a protocol on the Bitcoin network, securing transactions with Bitcoin's full computational power. On the other hand, Babylon functions as a Bitcoin L1 chain, with security based on economic incentives and penalties within its staking protocol. Its slashing mechanism presents more of a security vulnerability.
  • Self-sovereignty: DLC.Link preserves the self-sovereignty of users in that the system can’t access the locked BTC deposits to slash or censor them, while in Babylon, there is a possibility of slashing users deposits, which means that it can censor deposits by leaking depositors’ private keys. 
  • Theft-proof mechanism: DLC.Link employs a pre-signature mechanism in minting dlcBTC, ensuring the DLC lockbox only pays out to the original depositor address at all times. Contrary, Babylon lacks a pre-signature mechanism, raising risks of fund redirection during security breaches.
  • Collateral management: DLC.Link allows self-wrapping of BTC, distributing collateral globally across multiple accounts. Babylon, on the other hand, claims to enable self-locking of BTC, but in practice, pools collateral to support PoS staking.

Conclusion

While both DLC.Link and Babylon offer innovative solutions for using BTC in the DeFi space, DLC.Link stands out as the more versatile and secure option. By harnessing the power of DLCs, DLC.Link not only ensures decentralized and theft-proof integration of BTC with various DeFi applications but also preserves the paramount principles of self-sovereignty and decentralization.

Its unique approach to collateral management and the robust security model, backed by the full computational power of the Bitcoin network, offer unparalleled protection and flexibility for BTC holders looking to venture into DeFi. With its focus on enhancing BTC composability and utility without compromising on security, DLC.Link emerges as a superior solution for those seeking to safely and efficiently unlock the potential of their BTC holdings in the DeFi space.