Robert Linus – project leader at the Bitcoin development group ZeroSync – has proposed a new system that would allow developers to “compute anything on Bitcoin”, giving it functionality more similar to neighboring cryptocurrency network Ethereum.
Unlike other proposals to expand Bitcoin’s capabilities, “BitVM” does not require any changes to Bitcoin’s code that could controversially cause a schism between the network and the community.
What is PTFM?
According to the project White papers Published on Monday, BitVM is “a computational model for expressing Turing-complete contracts for Bitcoin.”
Instead of performing complex computations on the blockchain itself, the system proposes that they be “verified” only on Bitcoin, with the computation performed off-chain. Linus likened the system to Optimistic Blocks – an Ethereum scaling solution that processes many off-chain transactions before publishing them in batches to the main chain.
“This allows for more expressive Bitcoin contracts,” to explain Linus on Twitter. “In particular, it enables functions for which we thought we would need a soft fork.”
Linus said this could make games like chess, go, or poker possible on Bitcoin. He also suggested that it may enable “trustless sidechains” for Bitcoin, meaning that Bitcoin could be reliably linked to other networks without the need for centralization, although this possibility remains unconfirmed.
The Bitcoin community has hotly debated implementing a “Drivechains” upgrade this year, which would create a system for trustless bridges and blind embedded mining on Bitcoin. In theory, this could make Bitcoin transactions more private, programmable, and efficient.
However, the risks of implementing and coordinating the upgrade, which would change Bitcoin’s consensus rules, made many skeptical of the proposal. According to the author of Drivechains Paul StorkChains of command may become possible via BitVM, although they would be “highly inefficient” compared to his own proposal.
Limits of BitVM
Like most proposals, Linus said BitVM still has limitations. “The main drawback… is that it is limited to a two-party setup with a prover and verifier,” he noted, adding that it also requires “large amounts of computation and off-chain communication… to implement the programs.”
Despite achieving over 2.4 million Twitter impressions, many developers were quick to call the project overrated.
“This is getting a lot of attention in the Bitcoin world.” He said Model researcher Dan Robinson on Monday. “The protocol only works for two parties, so it cannot be used in batch or other multiparty applications.”
Blockstream CEO and Bitcoin OG Adam Back also Proposal A variation of Linus’s proposal has been around since 2016, in the form of Greg Maxwell’s Zero-Knowledge Conditional Payment (ZKCP) system.
However, Linus emphasizes that there are key differences. “You can’t play chess in one ZKCP game,” he said.
Free Binance $100 (Exclusive): Use this link to sign up and get free $100 and 10% off Binance Futures in your first month (conditions).
PrimeXBT Special Offer: Use this link to register and enter code CRYPTOPOTATO50 to receive up to $7,000 on your deposits.