Oct 23, 2023

A goal of Robin Linus's design for "BitVM" is to enable Turing-complete Bitcoin contracts – making the blockchain programmable, similar to a computer – without making the network more complicated for other users.

Video transcript

The protocol is presented by Garand Fill today with Algo Kit. Welcome back to first mover. Our next guest is out with a recent white paper that outlines a new paradigm to bring Ethereum style smart contracts to the Bitcoin network. Joining us now is zero sync co-founder Robin Linus Robin. Welcome to the show. Hi, thanks for having me. All right. Talk to us about this white paper in it. You know that bit VM is a computing paradigm to express turn complete Bitcoin contracts. Explain to us what's going on here and what the real world problem is that we're solving. Well, the very high level rework problem that we are solving is Bitcoin scalability. Um Yeah, we would love to scale Bitcoin to millions of transactions per second. And currently that's not possible on the main layer unfortunately. And yeah, if we had more expressive smart contracting capabilities on Bitcoin, um we could bridge Bitcoin to like side chain systems or other feature-rich systems such that we can uh essentially scale BT C transactions more or less indefinitely. Uh So this is not the first proposal for smart contracts on Bitcoin correct on the Bitcoin network. So what makes this different than any, anything else that's out there right now. Mm So the scripting capabilities of Bitcoin, they are quite limited. Um It's not a very feature-rich platform in comparison to let's say Ethereum or other smart contracting platforms that we know. And um yeah, actually Bitcoin script is intentionally limited to reduce the attack surface of Bitcoin. And um what BIT BM does, it's uh it's kind of like hacking around these limitations. It's like uh a compilation of a couple tricks that allow you to uh overcome the limitations of Bitcoin script. And yeah, to express more uh expressive smart contracts on Bitcoin. OK. But in terms of what, what's out there right now, what's the difference? Um Yeah, you can express more stuff than you, you were used to like um in Bitcoin script, you can mostly express stuff like multi signatures, maybe also hash logs and um the basic stuff that enables also lightning and stuff like that. But um you cannot, for example, bridge Bitcoin to a side chain that is not possible today. Um But BIT VM might enable that. And, and how do you see it differing from what's available on the Ethereum chain right now? When, when, when you, if this were to to be launched, uh what, what kind of structure makes it either comparable, better or worse if you will uh than what's, what's on Ethereum. Um Yeah, Ethereum is designed to facilitate this smart contracts and Bitcoin is not um what we are doing here is um we are, we are, we are applying tricks to mimic what Ethereum is doing. So, uh in the end, it will not be quite as expressive as Ethereum is. Um however, these bridges uh they can enable or like they, they can allow you to bridge Bitcoin to a side chain and that side chain could run essentially the same code as assume and then you could have essentially um yeah, BT C in uh the EBM in, in, in the same smart contracting machine as on a theory, what would be the need for doing it on Bitcoin and not on Ethereum? Yeah. Well, Bitcoin is a hard asset. Bitcoin is hard to change and Bitcoin is by far the number one asset in the world, it's the strongest brand and it's uh the currency that we all love, I think. And that's why we should do it with B BT C and with it, what are some of the potential applications you see here that would be better run in the Bitcoin ecosystem than the Ethereum? One of course, um you mentioned a bunch of problems that you're trying to solve that exist in the Ethereum network. Of course, layer twos have solved, solved some of the issues that you're trying to solve. What are some of the potential applications that might attract developers and users to Bitcoin versus Ethereum? Yeah, I'm personally mostly interested into scalability um uh I wanna see Bitcoin scaling to, as I said, a million transactions per second. And um yeah, I think that would be great to uh see Bitcoin being used as a currency for, yeah, daily, daily life payments and uh for basically any kinds of payments. And uh it would be great if we could um process that many transactions. And are there any limitations here with uh bit VM that you anticipate? Oh yeah, it's, as I said, it's like that's uh it's piling tricks on top of each other to mimic what Ethereum is doing. And um one thing that is very different than the EVM is that um in, in BVM, you always need a verifier. Um So there is like some party doing this, this pack doing this bridge and then there is um there could be like hundreds of very fires and um all of them, they are uh surveilling uh the uh the person that is facilitating the bridge and they are verifying that um they stay honest and if they don't stay honest, then the verifier can punish um the bridge. So this is a white paper. How, how long do you think it would take to get it uh on the ground? Um Yeah, we are developing um the first version of it. Hopefully, hopefully by the end of this week we have like something that's like very early uh like uh like developers can, can start playing around with um there won't be anything that uh will be usable by, by, by regular people. But um yeah, we, we hope we can get something into the hands of, of developers who uh I really want to go into the nitty gritty and like uh check out all the details of how it works under the hood. And um yeah, from there, we will advance it as, as quickly as possible. Many people are excited about it, many people are supporting it. Uh Many people are contributing ideas and uh also code and um yeah, hopefully by the end of the year, we will see the first experimental use cases. Robin, thank you very much for joining us and unpacking your white paper. We look forward to seeing some of those use cases by the end of the year. Thanks a lot for having me. That was Euro Zinc co-founder, Robin Linus.

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