A recently released Bitcoin whitepaper argues major altcoin use cases can now be replicated on Bitcoin without a soft fork due to a new computing paradigm called BitVM.
The paper claims any computable function can be verified on Bitcoin using BitVM without modifying the network’s consensus rules. Computations are verified rather than executed.
A prover makes a claim that a function validates for given inputs and outputs. If false, the verifier can submit a fraud proof to punish the prover.
Although complex off-chain computation and communication are initially required, the resulting on-chain footprint is minimal. Parties can thus conduct complex stateful applications with no trace left on-chain unless there is a dispute.
The whitepaper asserts that this enables all altcoin utilities to run natively on Bitcoin, rendering alternative cryptocurrencies redundant. It congratulates Bitcoin holders for owning the “correct” coin with maximal utility.
However, some analysts are skeptical that BitVM can fully replicate major altcoin use cases, especially smart contract platforms. The technology remains unproven at scale.
Nonetheless, being able to mimic more altcoin functions without tradeoffs does increase Bitcoin’s capabilities and value proposition. If BitVM works as envisioned, it could bolster Bitcoin’s competitive moat versus other cryptocurrencies.
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