Bitcoin (BTC) developer Robin Linus has introduced a new proposal, titled “BitVM: Compute Anything on Bitcoin,” that outlines a method for enabling arbitrary computation on Bitcoin without requiring a soft fork. This would allow for the implementation of Ethereum-style smart contracts on Bitcoin without disrupting the original protocol.
BitVM works by using a prover-verifier system, similar to Ethereum’s Optimistic Rollups. The prover is responsible for executing the program, while the verifier is responsible for verifying that the program is executed correctly. If the verifier detects any fraud, they can challenge the prover, and the prover will be penalized if they cannot prove that their execution was correct.
BitVM has the potential to open up a wide range of new possibilities for Bitcoin applications. For example, it could be used to create decentralized exchanges, prediction markets, and other financial applications. It could also be used to create more complex smart contracts that can automatically execute when certain conditions are met.
What are Bitcoiners saying?
The crypto community has reacted to the BitVM proposal with mixed feelings. Some major stakeholders, such as Tether’s (USDT) CTO Paolo Ardoino, have expressed optimism about the development. However, others have raised concerns about the practicality of BitVM and its potential impact on Bitcoin’s scalability.
One concern is that BitVM could be expensive to use, as it requires the prover to post a large bond. Another concern is that BitVM could add complexity to Bitcoin’s scripting language, which could make it more difficult to develop and maintain Bitcoin applications.
Despite these concerns, the BitVM proposal is a significant development for Bitcoin. It shows that there are still new ways to innovate on the Bitcoin protocol without requiring a soft fork. It remains to be seen whether BitVM will be widely adopted, but it is a promising step towards making Bitcoin more programmable and versatile.