ZeroSync’s Robin Linus, the entity behind a zk-proof light client for Bitcoin, yesterday released the “BitVM: Compute Anything on Bitcoin” white paper.
This document presents a method that has the potential to change how Bitcoin’s capabilities are perceived.
Traditionally, Bitcoin’s smart contract capabilities have been restricted to basic operations, including signatures, timelocks, and hashlocks.
This makes it distinct from Ethereum, which have typically offered more expressive contracts.
With BitVM, that paradigm is changed.
BitVM introduces a unique design approach that expands Bitcoin’s contract possibilities and allows for off-chain computation.
This opens the door to various applications, such as games like Chess, Go, and Poker, as well as the verification of validity proofs in Bitcoin contracts.
Furthermore, it hints at the possibility of connecting BTC to other blockchain networks.
BitVM introduces a computing paradigm capable of expressing Turing-complete Bitcoin contracts without requiring modifications to the network’s consensus rules.
Turing-complete in this instance means that it is capable of any computation that a Turing machine can.
Such “Turing-completeness” is significant – it implies that these contracts have the potential to execute virtually any task that can be represented algorithmically.
Instead of executing computations directly on the Bitcoin network, these computations are verified, similar to the process of optimistic rollups.
The release of BitVM has generated discussions online, particularly on platforms like Reddit. One Reddit post asserts, “The release of BitVM renders all altcoins useless. Compute anything on Bitcoin without a fork.”