Created by Gavin Wood, co-founder of ethereum and Parity Technologies, Polkadot may be the biggest competitor to Ethereum. This week, Polkadot announced efforts to launch PolkaBTC in Q1 2021 to build a trustless, non-custodial Bitcoin (BTC) product for defi interoperability—thanks to a partnership with Interlay and a grant from Web3 Foundation. Interlay allows you to convert any crypto asset into a token for use in decentralized finance (defi), and their first project was to bring Bitcoin to the Polkadot ecosystem using a trust-minimized bridge called BTC-Parachain. Once deployed, users will be able to mint Bitcoin-backed assets onto Polkadot at 1:1 ratio, as PolkaBTC, for use on decentralized exchanges, stablecoins, and/or lending protocols. The BTC-Parachain will be run by a decentralized network of individuals, community members, and companies and anyone can participate in operating the bridge. A first alpha test is scheduled for November 2020 and a feature-ready beta test will be launched in January 2021. Once the audit of the code base is completed (by February 2021) and parachains are enabled on Polkadot and Kusama, the BTC-Parachain will go live on Kusama, then on Polkadot's mainnet.

Polkadot Blog (Oct 15, 2020)