Smart Contracts Running on Bitcoin? Internet Computer Founder Explains How It’s Possible

Upon its launch, Internet Computer took the crypto market by storm. It’s an formidable undertaking, supported by some main names within the trade. Designed and created by the DFINITY Foundation, it goals to present extra energy to the folks over the Internet, and it may probably take it into a brand new stage powered by its platform.

Now, the Internet Computer has taken one other step into the longer term. Its group lately voted and accredited the “Increased Canister Storage” as Internet Computer continues to combine extra options and improve its platform.

Next, the group will use the ability supplied by the Internet Computer governance mannequin to vote on integration with the Bitcoin blockchain. In apply, this can enable Bitcoin to have sensible contract performance (or Canisters, as they’re referred to as on Internet Computer) on the Internet Computer community with low-cost transactions and quick finality. Thus, the decentralized ecosystem on each networks may broaden into an unprecedented period.

We sat down with Dominic Williams, the founder and Chief Scientist of the DFINITY Foundation to speak about this proposal, its implications for Bitcoin and Internet Computer, and extra. This is what he informed us.

Q: It has been round four months since Internet Computer was deployed, how would you describe the present state of the undertaking and the position the group is enjoying?

Dom: Developers and entrepreneurs have acknowledged its potential. As a outcome, the Internet Computer is experiencing ferocious development as measured by the variety of canister sensible contracts working, the variety of builders constructing, and the variety of energetic customers the dapps being constructed have, and arguably it’s the quickest rising blockchain when trying fastidiously at these metrics. Moreover, builders have confirmed that the Internet Computer can be utilized to construct issues that can not be constructed on some other blockchain as we speak. For instance, one of the fashionable dapps on the Internet Computer is “Open Chat”, which already has a number of tens of 1000’s of customers despite the fact that it’s nonetheless in alpha. This runs totally from the blockchain, which implies that sensible contracts are used to course of the chat messages, and sensible contracts additionally securely serve the interactive net content material customers work together with immediately into browsers – which solely the Internet Computer blockchain is able to doing as we speak. Therefore, not solely has Web develop into actual, however the functions to which blockchain may be utilized have significantly expanded.

Q: Internet Computer is a comparatively new undertaking in a comparatively new trade, why do you assume individuals are drawn into it, what makes the platform distinctive?

Dom: I feel increasingly individuals are coming to the conclusion that blockchain is the longer term web and has immense potential. For that cause, many, many builders, together with those that are early of their careers and attempting to resolve which tech sector to dedicate their lives to, are magnetized to the blockchain. The Internet Computer is without doubt one of the oldest authentic crypto tasks however was one of many final blockchains to launch due to the large quantity of R&D work concerned in rethinking blockchain structure from the bottom up and creating the brand new cryptography frameworks that energy it. But now that the Internet Computer is out there, it gives capabilities fully in contrast to these of different blockchains.

It is the primary blockchain to scale the seamless surroundings it offers for sensible contracts in order that it may well host any variety of sensible contracts, and any quantity of sensible contract computations, and sensible contract information, it’s the first blockchain to run at net velocity (it may well finalize transactions in 2 seconds and may serve “query transactions” that don’t modify state in milliseconds), it’s the first blockchain to run sensible contracts with effectivity similar to working software program on conventional IT programs, and it’s the first blockchain that permits sensible contracts to securely serve interactive net content material on to these utilizing dapps (as we speak, dapps on all different blockchains must host their web sites on centralized infrastructures, equivalent to Amazon Web Services, which creates all types of safety and different points). These capabilities imply the Internet Computer may even be used to create decentralized variations of mass-market social media companies, which run totally from the chain and may be blended with next-generation DeFi companies. If you need, it may well even be used to construct safe enterprise programs, permitting organizations emigrate away from conventional IT to the blockchain. It has the potential to actually uncork the blockchain genie.

Q: Can you inform us extra concerning the course of that can enable Bitcoin to function sensible contracts energy by Internet Computer? And the way it’ll be totally different from synthesized variations of BTC already working on Ethereum?

Dom: Today, the Bitcoin community hosts virtually a trillion {dollars} of worth, within the type of divisible bitcoins, which play the position of digital gold. However, the Bitcoin community doesn’t presently host “smart contract” software program of the type launched by Ethereum six and a half years after the launch of Bitcoin. Smart contracts are a brand new sort of software program that’s unstoppable and tamperproof, which is assured to run on the blockchain precisely as written and stay safe with out the safety of a firewall, can course of worth within the type of tokens and may even run autonomously with no human or group controlling them. They enable blockchains to be utilized as a brand new sort of general-purpose platform and have facilitated the DeFi (decentralized finance) revolution that Ethereum pioneered. If Bitcoin gained sensible contracts, builders would develop into capable of construct all method of thrilling new programs and companies that course of bitcoins and run from the blockchain, creating immense new worth whereas additionally including worth to Bitcoin.

The huge monetary worth carried by bitcoins has nice utility, and so the present apply is to move bitcoins onto blockchains supporting sensible contracts equivalent to Ethereum by “wrapping” them, which is sadly very harmful. It includes bitcoins being despatched to a company working what is called a “bridge”, which retains them in its custody after which points “wrapped bitcoin” on the vacation spot blockchain, which might then be processed by sensible contracts. The disadvantage of this method is that the bitcoins are handed into the custody of the bridge operators, which should be trusted to appropriately redeem the wrapped bitcoins when required later. This is antithetical to the blockchain mission, which goals to take away the necessity for belief. The method is consequently extremely dangerous, as demonstrated by the current hack of the Poly Network bridge on 10 August 2021. This bridge moved bitcoins and different tokens between the Ethereum, Polygon MATIC and Binance Chain networks, and when it was compromised crypto value 600 million {dollars} was stolen (it was later returned by the hacker).

Enter the revolutionary “chain key cryptography” that powers the Internet Computer community. This will allow sensible contracts hosted by the Internet Computer to immediately preserve, ship and obtain bitcoins, which really reside and instantly transfer on the actual Bitcoin community, obviating the necessity for harmful bridges and token wrapping. This is feasible as a result of the Internet Computer protocol can securely and seamlessly generate the personal key ECDSA signatures concerned in bitcoin transactions on behalf of sensible contracts, utilizing chain key cryptography. Meanwhile, Internet Computer nodes will immediately talk with Bitcoin community nodes, making certain that transactions and steadiness data is moved backwards and forwards and is all the time obtainable. Effectively, the scheme will meld the 2 networks, extending Bitcoin with arguably the world’s strongest sensible contract capabilities.

Q: Once the sensible contract capabilities are applied, what are the potential use instances that can profit folks utilizing these Internet Computer sensible contracts with Bitcoin?

Dom: The potentialities are limitless. The Internet Computer scales, and may run unbounded volumes of sensible contract computation at net velocity. Its sensible contracts are additionally the primary to have the ability to securely serve net content material on to end-users with out intermediaries, with help for the brand new Internet Identity anonymizing blockchain authentication system permitting customers to sign-on to dapps (decentralized purposes) utilizing units together with fingerprint sensors on laptops, and face ID programs,  in addition to {hardware} keys and wallets equivalent to YubiKey and Ledger. This implies that sooner or later, your Bitcoin pockets may be securely served into your net browser and that it is possible for you to to rapidly, securely and conveniently authenticate your self utilizing your fingerprint sensor, earlier than sending bitcoin to any deal with you want through the consumer interface. What is extra, the Internet Computer is permitting social media companies to be constructed that run from the blockchain, which might then be blended with DeFi. In the longer term, your Bitcoin pockets may very nicely be a blockchain chat app, and also you may ship bitcoin with messages, or atomically transact for an NFT after negotiations. For many, this can start to appreciate the imaginative and prescient of bitcoin being utilized inside web companies that Satoshi initially described.

Q: Can the identical course of that can allow sensible contracts on Internet Computer to be suitable with Bitcoin be applied into different networks? If so, which might be the subsequent cryptocurrency to be built-in and why?

Dom: It is feasible to combine the Internet Computer blockchain with Bitcoin due to the brand new “chain key cryptography” framework that powers its protocols. This allows it to create transactions on behalf of sensible contracts, such that they don’t have to handle personal key supplies themselves. Once Bitcoin has been built-in, the identical work will likely be leveraged to immediately combine the Internet Computer with Ethereum. This integration will allow two-way calling between sensible contracts on the Internet Computer and Ethereum, enabling, for instance, Ethereum DeFi dapps to serve their web sites from blockchain reasonably than centralized cloud companies equivalent to Amazon Web Services.

Implementing a blockchain that helps chain key cryptography requires a multi-year R&D effort spearheaded by a powerful group of specialist cryptographers. For such causes, it’s unlikely that some other blockchain will be capable to pull off the identical feat within the foreseeable future.

Q: How do you envision the way forward for the crypto trade, as one the place an “Ethereum Killer” has defeated its competitors or one the place there are a number of blockchains working to the good thing about their customers? Do you assume it’s vital for Bitcoin, Internet Computer, and others to be interoperable?

We imagine in a blockchain trinity consisting of Bitcoin, Ethereum and the Internet Computer. They all clearly fulfill totally different niches and complement one another. Although each Ethereum and the Internet Computer help sensible contracts, the capabilities supplied by the Internet Computer surroundings are vastly totally different and far broader. Arguably, Ethereum may develop into the world’s DeFi settlement layer, and can cede the “world computer” imaginative and prescient to the Internet Computer, which was constructed particularly to appreciate that imaginative and prescient by means of many lengthy years of R&D that can’t simply be replicated.


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