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 venture, supported by some main names within the business. Designed and created by the DFINITY Foundation, it goals to give extra energy to the individuals over the Internet, and it might probably take it into a brand new stage powered by its platform.

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

Next, the neighborhood will use the facility supplied by the Internet Computer governance mannequin to vote on integration with the Bitcoin blockchain. In observe, this can enable Bitcoin to have sensible contract performance (or Canisters, as they are known as on Internet Computer) on the Internet Computer community with low-cost transactions and quick finality. Thus, the decentralized ecosystem on each networks might 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 advised us.

Q: It has been round 4 months since Internet Computer was deployed, how would you describe the present state of the venture and the position the neighborhood is enjoying?

Dom: Developers and entrepreneurs have acknowledged its potential. As a consequence, the Internet Computer is experiencing ferocious development as measured by the variety of canister sensible contracts operating, the variety of builders constructing, and the variety of energetic customers the dapps being constructed have, and arguably it is 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 another blockchain immediately. For instance, some of the fashionable dapps on the Internet Computer is “Open Chat”, which already has a number of tens of hundreds of customers although it is nonetheless in alpha. This runs solely from the blockchain, which signifies that sensible contracts are used to course of the chat messages, and sensible contracts additionally securely serve the interactive internet content material customers work together with instantly into browsers – which solely the Internet Computer blockchain is able to doing immediately. Therefore, not solely has Web 3.0 grow to be actual, however the functions to which blockchain might be utilized have drastically expanded.

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

Dom: I believe increasingly more individuals are coming to the belief that blockchain is the long run web and has immense potential. For that motive, many, many builders, together with those that are early in their careers and making an attempt to resolve which tech sector to dedicate their lives to, are magnetized to the blockchain. The Internet Computer is one of many 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 growing the brand new cryptography frameworks that energy it. But now that the Internet Computer is accessible, it presents capabilities fully not like these of different blockchains.

It is the primary blockchain to scale the seamless atmosphere it gives for sensible contracts in order that it may possibly host any variety of sensible contracts, and any quantity of sensible contract computations, and sensible contract information, it is the primary blockchain to run at internet pace (it may possibly finalize transactions in 2 seconds and may serve “query transactions” that don’t modify state in milliseconds), it is the primary blockchain to run sensible contracts with effectivity comparable to operating software program on conventional IT techniques, and it is the primary blockchain that permits sensible contracts to securely serve interactive internet content material instantly to these utilizing dapps (immediately, dapps on all different blockchains have to host their web sites on centralized infrastructures, resembling 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 providers, which run solely from the chain and might be blended with next-generation DeFi providers. If you need, it may possibly even be used to construct safe enterprise techniques, permitting organizations to migrate 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 may enable Bitcoin to function sensible contracts energy by Internet Computer? And the way it’ll be completely 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 at the moment host “smart contract” software program of the sort launched by Ethereum six and a half years after the launch of Bitcoin. Smart contracts are a brand new sort of software program that is 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 and not using a 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 grow to be in a position to construct all method of thrilling new techniques and providers that course of bitcoins and run from the blockchain, creating immense new worth whereas additionally including worth to Bitcoin.

The monumental monetary worth carried by bitcoins has nice utility, and so the present observe is to transport bitcoins onto blockchains supporting sensible contracts resembling Ethereum by “wrapping” them, which is sadly very harmful. It includes bitcoins being despatched to a company operating what is often known as a “bridge”, which retains them in its custody after which points “wrapped bitcoin” on the vacation spot blockchain, which may then be processed by sensible contracts. The downside of this method is that the bitcoins are handed into the custody of the bridge operators, which should be trusted to accurately 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 price 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 instantly keep, ship and obtain bitcoins, which really reside and instantly transfer on the true Bitcoin community, obviating the necessity for harmful bridges and token wrapping. This is attainable as a result of the Internet Computer protocol can securely and seamlessly generate the non-public key ECDSA signatures concerned in bitcoin transactions on behalf of sensible contracts, utilizing chain key cryptography. Meanwhile, Internet Computer nodes will instantly talk with Bitcoin community nodes, guaranteeing that transactions and steadiness info is moved backwards and forwards and is all the time accessible. 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 may profit individuals utilizing these Internet Computer sensible contracts with Bitcoin?

Dom: The potentialities are infinite. The Internet Computer scales, and may run unbounded volumes of sensible contract computation at internet pace. Its sensible contracts are additionally the primary to give you the option to securely serve internet content material instantly to end-users with out intermediaries, with assist 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 techniques,  in addition to {hardware} keys and wallets resembling YubiKey and Ledger. This signifies that sooner or later, your Bitcoin pockets is perhaps securely served into your internet browser and that it is possible for you to to shortly, securely and conveniently authenticate your self utilizing your fingerprint sensor, earlier than sending bitcoin to any deal with you want by way of the consumer interface. What is extra, the Internet Computer is permitting social media providers to be constructed that run from the blockchain, which may then be blended with DeFi. In the long run, your Bitcoin pockets would possibly very properly be a blockchain chat app, and also you would possibly ship bitcoin with messages, or atomically transact for an NFT after negotiations. For many, this can start to notice the imaginative and prescient of bitcoin being utilized inside web providers that Satoshi initially described.

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

Dom: It is attainable to combine the Internet Computer blockchain with Bitcoin due to the brand new “chain key cryptography” framework that powers its protocols. This permits it to create transactions on behalf of sensible contracts, such that they don’t want to handle non-public key supplies themselves. Once Bitcoin has been built-in, the identical work might be leveraged to instantly 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 moderately than centralized cloud providers resembling Amazon Web Services.

Implementing a blockchain that helps chain key cryptography requires a multi-year R&D effort spearheaded by a robust crew of specialist cryptographers. For such causes, it is unlikely that another blockchain might be in a position to pull off the identical feat within the foreseeable future.

Q: How do you envision the way forward for the crypto business, 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 completely different niches and complement one another. Although each Ethereum and the Internet Computer assist sensible contracts, the capabilities supplied by the Internet Computer atmosphere are vastly completely different and far broader. Arguably, Ethereum would possibly grow to be the world’s DeFi settlement layer, and can cede the “world computer” imaginative and prescient to the Internet Computer, which was constructed particularly to notice that imaginative and prescient by way of many lengthy years of R&D that can’t simply be replicated.


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