BitVM aims to enhance Bitcoin smart contract capabilities without fork

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By BitcoinWiki News

Key Takeaways:

– ZeroSync’s co-founder Robin Linus unveiled a whitepaper for BitVM.
– BitVM aims to enhance Bitcoin smart contract capabilities without requiring a soft fork upgrade.
– BitVM allows more expressive smart contracts on Bitcoin, potentially bringing more DeFi use cases and scalability.
– BitVM makes Bitcoin as Turing-complete as any other chain.
– BitVM verifies and executes computations off-chain, utilizing fraud proofs and Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade.
– Potential applications include games, verification of validity proofs, bridging bitcoin to other chains, and emulating smart contract operations.
– BitVM has limitations, including high off-chain data management costs and only working with two parties.
– BitVM is slower, more complex, and more expensive compared to the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
– People are getting over excited about BitVM, and it may face pragmatic scalability limits.
– BitVM is not Turing complete but functionally complete.
– Other protocols, like Botanix EVM Layer 2, are also looking to bring Ethereum-like smart contract capabilities to Bitcoin through sidechain solutions.
– ZeroSync recently implemented the first Stark-based ZK client for Bitcoin, allowing users to validate the network’s state without downloading the entire blockchain.
– BitVM can verify STARKs on Bitcoin for contracts using the chain state proof.


Blockchain developer ZeroSync’s co-founder Robin Linus has unveiled a whitepaper for BitVM, a technology that aims to enhance Bitcoin’s smart contract capabilities without the need for a soft fork upgrade. BitVM allows any computable function to be verified on Bitcoin, making the network as Turing-complete as any other chain. This development could bring more DeFi use cases and scalability to the Bitcoin network.

BitVM works by running computations off-chain and verifying them using fraud proofs, a challenge-response protocol, and Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade. This approach allows complex computations to be carried out off-chain, with on-chain execution only required in the event of a dispute.

The potential applications of BitVM include games, verification of validity proofs in Bitcoin contracts, bridging Bitcoin to other chains, creating prediction markets, and emulating novel smart contract operations.

However, BitVM has some limitations and criticisms. The cost of off-chain data management is significant, and BitVM only works with two parties. Some critics argue that BitVM is slower, more complex, and more expensive than the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Additionally, there are concerns about the scalability limits of BitVM. Some experts argue that BitVM is not Turing complete but rather functionally complete, limiting its practical use cases.

BitVM is not the only protocol aiming to bring Ethereum-like smart contract capabilities to Bitcoin. The Botanix EVM Layer 2 and its sidechain solution called Spiderchain are also tackling this objective.

In addition to BitVM, ZeroSync has also implemented the first Stark-based ZK client for Bitcoin, allowing users to validate the network’s state without downloading the entire blockchain. The chain state proof is not directly related to BitVM but can be used in Bitcoin contracts that utilize BitVM.

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