The Bitcoin developer community is no stranger to innovation. Finally, ZeroSync leader Robin Linus, who is behind the development of the zk-proof lite client for Bitcoin, Unveiled Tomorrow’s “BitVM: Compute Anything on Bitcoin” white paper. This paper presents a groundbreaking methodology that could potentially redefine the perception of Bitcoin’s capabilities.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
BitVM presents a computing paradigm that can express Turing-complete Bitcoin contracts. The significance here is that it does not require any modifications to the network’s consensus rules. Rather than performing calculations directly on Bitcoin, these calculations are simply verified, drawing parallels with the process of optimistic rollups.
The community is full of enthusiasm on online forums, especially Reddit. Under the headline “BitVM release makes all altcoins worthless. Compute anything on Bitcoin without a fork. This proposal is being hotly debated on Reddit as well as on Xx (formerly Twitter).
Could Bitcoin Make All Altcoins Worthless?
Bob Bodilli, CEO of Bionic Markets, provided his insight via a tweet: “BitVM is a new Optimistic Roll Up + Fraud Proof + Taproot Leaf + Bitcoin Script computing paradigm designed by Robin Linus at Zero Sync. While this offers the main benefit of advanced programmability over BTC without any upgrades, it is important to note that BitVM is slower, more expensive, and has more complexity than EVM.
“Bitcoin is now Turing complete, like any other chain, and it requires zero changes to Bitcoin,” explained Sam Parker, head of technology and co-founder of Blockchain Transition. However, he also clarified that technically Bitcoin may appear to be more Turing complete, but it is equipped with a runtime that makes it “sufficiently Turing complete” for any realistic program one might want to execute. Is.
Parker also emphasized the non-mandatory nature of BitVM. Users who do not wish to trust their coins in a Turing complete contract do not have to do so. He further mentioned potential uses such as eliminating reliance on centralized “Bitcoin Edge” services and advocating moving from trusted/semi-trusted services to fully trustless interactions.
Taproot wizard Eric Wall expressed cautious optimism after studying the whitepaper. He expressed reservations about the setup phase, especially with regard to very large pre-signed transaction exchanges, but was eager to see real-world experiments. He said, “If BitVM works efficiently to verify the zk proof within itself, BitVM will assume the role of the zkwasm layer.”
Wall summarized BitVM’s current work, suggesting that it describes a way to appropriate a bond from a prover to a verifier based on the result of a Turing complete computation. However, it does not yet fully describe an architecture for peg-in/out to external participants.
more skeptical voices
Blockstream CEO Adam Back’s response was more critical. He compared it to Greg Maxwell’s 2016 ZKP contingent payment implementation example. However, Robin Linus countered Beck’s point by saying, “In ZKCP, the strategist has to know the solution in advance,” demonstrating BitVM’s superiority over Maxwell’s 2016 ZKP example.
One of the reviewers of the article, Super Testnet, called this development perhaps “the most exciting discovery in the history of the Bitcoin script.” The potential access to contracts, sidechains, and power like Liquid or EVM, without the need for forks, makes this an important step forward.
However, some complexities associated with BitVM cannot be ignored. As developer Rijndael pointed out, using CTVs (BIP-119 = Simple Contracts) can make BitVM more efficient. The consensus was that BitVM’s potential could be enormous, but its real-world applicability and how it might impact existing systems remained to be seen.
Maxim Orlovsky of the LNP/BP Standards Association praised the innovation but also expressed concern. He said, “Real-world programs, including things like zk-STARKS, require multiplication and modulo division, which are absent in Bitcoin Script. For any realistic implementation, this would also be possible in 2^127 NAND gates. may not fit, which is the restriction imposed by the BTC consensus. Although this is a remarkable computing science exercise, practical results may require years or perhaps even a soft fork.
So, does the launch of BitVM mark the end of altcoins? Given the above limitations and challenges, the consensus seems to be moving toward “probably not.” While BitVM undeniably enhances the capabilities of Bitcoin, there are still various challenges to overcome.
At press time, BTC traded at $27,669.
BTC price remains below $27,700, 1-day chart | Source: BTCUSD on tradingview.com
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