The developer said the technology would allow “any computable function to be verified on Bitcoin.”
Bitcoin (BTC) developer Robin Linus has introduced an innovative approach to enable arbitrary computation on Bitcoin through BitVM, without needing a soft fork.
Linus’s proposal, titled “BitVM: Compute Anything on Bitcoin,” outlines a method for Bitcoin to incorporate Ethereum (ETH)-style smart contracts. This proposal highlights how BitVM can help the BTC network facilitate Turing-complete contracts without disrupting the original protocol.
BitVM opens the door to more versatile Bitcoin contracts previously believed to require a soft fork for implementation. In simple terms, Linus said the technology would allow “any computable function to be verified on Bitcoin.”
Technically, BitVM shares similarities with Ethereum’s Optimistic Rollups in utilizing fraud proofs and a challenge-response protocol. It employs a prover and verifier system, enabling the verifier to scrutinize and penalize the prover for making false claims.
Furthermore, the white paper envisions that BitVM would expand Bitcoin’s computing capabilities beyond its traditional functions, including signatures, timelocks, and hash locks. It would introduce new functions such as supporting applications like Chess, Go, or Poker and verifying the validity of proofs in Bitcoin contracts.
What are Bitcoiners saying?
The crypto community has reacted to the BitVM proposal with mixed feelings. Major stakeholders, including Tether’s (USDT) CTO Paolo Ardoino, have expressed optimism about the development, while some have raised questions about it.
Venture capital firm Paradigm researcher, Dan Robinson, pointed out a limitation of BitVM to be that “it can’t be used in rollups or other multiparty applications” because it “only works for two parties.”