“Revolutionizing the blockchain world, the ‘BitVM’ plan envisions a future where Bitcoin harnesses the power of Ethereum’s smart contracts, unlocking endless possibilities for decentralized applications and financial innovation.”
Today on First Mover, Garand Fill is presenting a new protocol with Algo Kit. The guest for this episode is Robin Linus, co-founder of zero sync, who has recently released a white paper outlining a new way to bring Ethereum style smart contracts to the Bitcoin network.
The main problem that this white paper aims to solve is the scalability of Bitcoin. Currently, the main layer of Bitcoin is not capable of handling millions of transactions per second, which is why the team at zero sync wants to introduce more expressive smart contracting capabilities to Bitcoin. This would allow Bitcoin to be scaled indefinitely by bridging it to side chain systems or other feature-rich systems.
While this is not the first proposal for smart contracts on the Bitcoin network, what sets this white paper apart is its approach to overcoming the limitations of Bitcoin script. Bitcoin script is intentionally limited to reduce the attack surface of Bitcoin, but BIT VM, the proposed solution, hacks around these limitations to enable more expressive smart contracts on Bitcoin.
In terms of what is currently available, Bitcoin script mostly allows for basic functionalities like multi-signatures and hash locks, but it does not allow for bridging Bitcoin to a side chain. BIT VM aims to enable this functionality. However, it is important to note that BIT VM will not be as expressive as Ethereum, as it is essentially mimicking what Ethereum does.
The reason for implementing these smart contracts on Bitcoin instead of Ethereum is because Bitcoin is a hard asset and the number one asset in the world. It has a strong brand and is widely loved. The potential applications for smart contracts on Bitcoin are vast, with scalability being the main focus. The goal is to see Bitcoin used as a currency for daily life payments, and processing a million transactions per second would make this possible.
There are some limitations with BIT VM, as it relies on piling tricks on top of each other to mimic the functionality of Ethereum. One key difference is that BIT VM always requires a verifier, who monitors the bridge and ensures its honesty. This verifier can punish the bridge if it does not stay honest.
Currently, the team is working on developing the first version of BIT VM, with hopes of having something for developers to play around with by the end of the week. While it may not be usable for regular people yet, the team is eager to receive feedback and advance the project as quickly as possible. They expect to see the first experimental use cases by the end of the year.
Overall, this white paper presents an exciting proposition for bringing Ethereum style smart contracts to the Bitcoin network, with the aim of scaling Bitcoin to handle millions of transactions per second. It will be interesting to see how this project progresses and what potential use cases emerge in the coming months.