Bitcoin Startup All-In On New Layer 2 Scaling Protocol

A year following its proposal, a new project revealed today is committed to bringing the Ark concept into reality. Ark Labs has announced it is developing the Bitcoin layer-two network and hopes to capitalize on the growing demand for scalable, low-cost Bitcoin payment solutions.

Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Marco Argentieri, CEO of Ark Labs, shared his perspective on the evolution of the protocol since its initial release.

“After months of prototyping and putting together proofs-of-concept, we believe Ark is ready to enter the next stage of its development and we are excited to share this opportunity with the industry”.

Diagram of the Ark network infrastructure

Using accounts and virtual transactions coordinated by a trustless server, Ark enables low-cost off-chain transfers between participants who opt into the system.

Because of its simple server-client architecture, it manages to achieve this without the trade-offs usually associated with non-custodial systems. Argentieri believes the protocol is well-positioned to support the growth of Lightning and other sidechain protocols like Liquid.

“We look at all of those solutions as complementary. There is an obvious synergy between Ark and Lightning which we hope to leverage to build better, more reliable, products for the entire ecosystem”.

The Time Is Now

After the project captured the attention of the Bitcoin community last year, momentum stalled once the protocol got caught up in the conversations around covenants and other upgrades. Argentieri thinks there’s an opportunity to move forward despite the ongoing debate on future soft fork improvements.

“We are working on two versions of Ark that can be implemented today, one on Bitcoin and the other on the Liquid Network. Covenants will improve the user experience but we think the technology already has many commercial use cases”.

Ark Labs is already engaged with partners and expects applications or products to be launched later in 2024.

Right now, Argentieri and his team of veteran Bitcoin developers are focused on delivering a flexible implementation of the protocol to allow easy integration of Ark services into applications. To get there, they have open-sourced their implementation and are inviting other stakeholders to contribute to their efforts.

“We’re hoping other teams and implementations start contributing to the Ark protocol so that we can come up with best standards and practices. Our goal is to give every wallet access to an Ark server in the same way they can use Lightning today”.

While he recognizes that the current infrastructure remains very immature, he is convinced that the pieces are there to execute the original vision.

“We’re all in”.