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Wrapped Bitcoin is a tokenized variation of Bitcoin (BTC) that functions on the Ethereum (ETH) network. ERC-20 is the fundamental compatibility standard of the Ethereum blockchain.
WBTC is supported by Bitcoin at a 1:1 ratio through a network of automatically monitored merchants and custodians, guaranteeing that its price is always tied to Bitcoin. It allows users to move liquidity between the BTC and ETH networks in a decentralized and independent manner.
Wrapped Bitcoin was originally introduced on October 26, 2018, and it became operational on January 31, 2019.
The Wrapped Tokens project, of which WBTC is a component, was created collectively by three organizations: BitGo, Kyber Network, and Ren.
BitGo is an institutional digital asset custody, trading, and financial services company that was co-founded in 2013 by American computer scientist and entrepreneur Mike Belshe. BitGo, in addition to being one of WBTC's developers, is also its original custodian – the organization that keeps WBTC tokens and the keys required to manufacture more of them.
Kyber Network is an on-chain liquidity mechanism that enables the integration of several cryptocurrency currencies and DeFi applications. It was established in 2017 and has its headquarters in Singapore. Its founders are Loi Luu, Victor Tran, and Yaron Velner.
Bitcoin, the oldest and largest cryptocurrency, has a massive user base and a liquidity pool worth several dozen billion dollars. However, its blockchain capability is simple by current standards.
WBTC makes it possible for a Bitcoin-like asset to be fully integrated into this cutting-edge ecosystem of financial decentralised apps by "wrapping" BTC in the ERC-20 standard.
Additionally, Wrapped Bitcoin makes it much simpler for exchanges, wallets, and payment providers that use Ethereum to handle WBTC activities by allowing them to host only one Ethereum node instead of two distinct nodes for the ETH and BTC networks.
Finally, compared to actual bitcoins, WBTC may be transferred more quickly because of the Ethereum blockchain's shorter average block time of around 15 seconds vs 10 minutes.
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