A Fresh Update on Zest Protocol

It's been an exciting year of building with many more milestones to come.


minute read

December 12, 2023

Tycho Onnasch

The excitement around building on Bitcoin this year has been palpable, and our Zest Protocol team is proud to be part of a movement that is bringing DeFi to Bitcoin. 

It’s a movement that has only gained momentum over time, with institutional players gradually recognizing the potential impact of crypto and DeFi (which we predicted would happen, by the way). But institutions aside, the DeFi landscape is also increasingly gaining traction in all walks of life, with the next wave of innovators currently sitting in college lecture halls ideating on how they can make their mark on this growing sector.

We were named one of Blockworks’ best Bitcoin loan platforms in 2023 not only because of what Zest Protocol offers, but also because of our commitment to spreading knowledge and pioneering new innovations in DeFi. This has been a consistent narrative since we launched our testnet last year, and it’s one that we’re dedicated to uphold going into Q4 2023.

But in the meantime, let’s look back on what we’ve achieved so far in 2023. 

Zest Technical Roundup

During our testnet phase at the end of 2022, we recognized the need to enhance the robustness of our UI stack to meet the growing demands of our users. In response, we undertook our biggest engineering feat to date: rebuilding our UI stack from the ground up.

The result was a UI stack that not only was significantly more complex than that of any Ethereum DeFi app, but also the very first Bitcoin-Stacks cross-chain UI stack that rivaled projects like Thorswap in complexity. Our close collaboration with Hiro Systems on key infrastructure that would support Zest Protocol UI also resulted in the launch of Chainhook, a reorg-aware transaction indexer for Bitcoin and Stacks that paves the way for more seamless cross-chain interactions.

Speaking of infrastructure work, we’re equally thrilled to have made essential contributions to sBTC and the upcoming Stacks Nakamoto release. This included upgrading the Stacks-Bitcoin library to enable users to send BTC to Zest Protocol using any Bitcoin address type (be it Legacy, SegWit, Taproot or another alternative). Our team, which includes the likes of Fernando Foy, also designed the peg-in wire format to give Stacks contract addresses Bitcoin addresses, effectively empowering users to send native BTC to Stacks smart contracts enabled by sBTC.

Of course, all of our work has been completed with user security and reliability in mind. That’s why we’re also proud to announce that our Zest team recently passed our second smart contract audit with Least Authority. This audit, combined with the audit we conducted with Coinfabrik in 2022, reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring that users can experience the highest levels of security and reliability with Zest Protocol.

Gearing Up for Go-to-Market

Currently, our team is diligently preparing for our go-to-market launch. This has involved working behind the scenes to secure partnerships with the first BTC liquidity providers, borrowers and pool delegates who will be part of our closed launch. We did provide early access to selected users as part of our closed launch program, and their enthusiastic feedback only reinforced Zest’s potential for Bitcoin DeFi users. 

Our team has also been fielding conversations with institutional users and large BTC holders at key events like Paris Blockchain Week, the Bitcoin Builders Summit, Consensus 2023 in Austin, Bitcoin 2023 in Miami, and ETH CC6 in Paris. Most recently, our appearances at Korea Blockchain Week and TOKEN2049 in Singapore have encouraged us to keep building Zest Protocol’s footprint in the APAC region. 

The positive reception we have received for our protocol worldwide has given us the confidence to continue on our launch roadmap. This is particularly crucial as we head towards the impending launch of the Stacks Nakamoto release, a potential Bitcoin ETF and the next Bitcoin halving. Every one of these events could have significant implications for Zest, influencing how we approach our platform and the impact we want it to have.

Want Early Access to Zest?

It’s not too late! While we already have over 700 people and institutions on our waitlist, you can still request early access to Zest. With your support, we’re poised to make a lasting impact on the wider DeFi landscape. You, too, can be part of a movement to offer secure, cross-chain solutions in the world of Bitcoin and beyond.

And, of course, thank you to those of you who have been part of our community from our earliest days. We couldn’t have gotten to where we are today without your support, and we’re looking forward to bringing all of you with us for an exciting Q4 and beyond.

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Written by
Tycho Onnasch
December 12, 2023

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