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Bitcoin Enthusiast Releases BitVM Whitepaper

The architect of BitVM’s framework, Robin Linus, drew inspiration from Ethereum’s optimistic rollups with fraud proofs and incorporated recent advancements in Merkle tree technology.

An innovative approach to introduce versatile off-chain smart contracts to Bitcoin without the necessity of a soft fork has been proposed by a Bitcoin developer.

Revealed in a white paper published on October 9th, titled “BitVM: Compute Anything on Bitcoin” by Robin Linus, the project lead at ZeroSync, BitVM allows the implementation of Turing-complete Bitcoin contracts without changing Bitcoin’s consensus rules.


A Turing Complete system theoretically has the capability to solve any computational problem.

With BitVM, Bitcoin contract logic processing occurs off-chain, while validation takes place on the Bitcoin network, similar to Ethereum’s optimistic rollups.

BitVM’s design is rooted in fraud proofs and a challenge-response model. In this model, a “prover” asserts claims, and a “verifier” uses fraud-proof mechanisms to penalize false claims.

Linus explained that Bitcoin, in its current state, is limited to fundamental operations like signatures, timelocks, and hashlocks. However, BitVM can expand these capabilities, enabling the execution of various applications.

“Potential applications include games like Chess, Go, or Poker, and particularly, verification of validity proofs in Bitcoin contracts.”

“Additionally, it might be possible to bridge BTC to foreign chains, build a prediction market, or emulate novel opcodes,” stated Linus.

Linus mentioned a constraint of this model is its confinement to a two-party scenario, involving a prover and a verifier, and it requires a substantial amount of off-chain computation and communication to execute programs.

Linus also outlined the next crucial step as achieving complete implementation of BitVM, alongside Tree++, a high-level programming language designed for creating and debugging Bitcoin contracts.

The activation of BitVM was made possible by the Taproot soft fork, implemented in November 2021.

Linus acknowledged the influence of Ethereum’s research on optimistic rollups and a study on Merkle Trees as contributing factors in the creation of the eight-page white paper.

Read the whitepaper here.

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