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Ethereum not turing complete

ethereum not turing complete

The Bitcoin blockchain was purposefully designed to be non–Turing complete to target its specific use-case (that of digital currency), where. Despite blockchain having no need for Turing-Complete functionality, Ethereum still ended up being Turing-Complete. How useful is Turing-. The debate started when Ethereum introduced and marketed itself by saying "Bitcoin Blockchain is not Turing Complete, but Ethereum is" and. CARDING BTC

In this article, I wanted to discuss the first few objections related to the Turing completeness property of the ethereum platform. For those unaware, the platform was originally heavily marketed based on Turing-completeness, which sparked a massive debate. The main takeaways from the discussion are the following: The ethereum platform is built with a Turing-complete language that is functionally different from Bitcoin. There is a debate regarding whether such a language is necessary as it has the potential to make the system unsafe and unpredictable.

Buterin disputes this assessment and notes that a decidable language is also available on the platform for additional security needs. Buterin argues that the debate on Turing-completeness misses the point and concedes that the ethereum platform should not have been initially marketed in this way. However, he states that it is still important to have the functionality afforded by Turing completeness to implement more complex and sophisticated logic in smart contracts.

Any system or programming language able to compute anything computable given enough resources is said to be Turing-complete. In simpler terms, it can simulate a computer and is said to be the most expressive. Bitcoin, for instance, is not Turing complete as it only provides a very simple mechanism to distribute money.

Below is an xkcd comic that is often cited to illustrate this idea. Given enough memory and time, a Turing-complete system should be able run any conceivable algorithm also known as capable of universal computation. In this comic, the character uses rocks as analogs for bit strings to, with infinite time and space, model the universe. We can think of decidability in terms of whether a problem can be solved or computed by an algorithm.

Meanwhile, it is impossible to construct an algorithm to answer an undecidable problem. A classic example is the halting problem — can you tell me, with certainty, whether a computer program I am running will go on infinitely or one day stop? In the context of ethereum, this means that it is fundamentally impossible to for us to know what a smart contract will do before you run it.

The greater the complexity, the greater the possibility that something could go drastically wrong. Smart contracts built on Ethereum are unnecessarily complicated because of their Turing-Complete nature. Turing-Complete vs Non-Turing-Complete: what does it mean?

In short, Turing-Complete smart contracts support various codebases and allow building very complex structures with any computable functions, which often leads to more ways of breaking and exploiting them; Non-Turing-Complete programming languages, on the other hand, are more specialised; they do not support concepts like loops, recursions, or other similar processes that usually do not terminate on their own.

When Ethereum was preparing to launch, Turing-completeness seemed like a good idea as it promised significantly broader creative capabilities. But at the time, nobody had any decent ideas about how useful it will actually be. Given the serious implications of Turing-completeness, and the limited benefit, why not simply have a Turing-incomplete language?

How useful is Turing-completeness on Ethereum? It would be naive to expect that the platform will one day reinvent itself and disregard Turing-completeness. But the fact remains—if before, Non-Turing-Complete has been perceived as a possible limitation, now we have studies proving that, in reality, it does not make any impactful difference. On the contrary, there are several reasons for using Non-Turing-Complete smart contracts, which also outweigh the potential benefits of Turing-Completeness and strengthen security at the same time.

Part of the reason is that Turing-Complete smart contracts that take up a lot of space to execute. So, where do we go from here? Whenever there are serious challenges to fixate on, alternative solutions tend to emerge. As such, the development of DeFi highways that value the same principles, but avoid over-complication of Turing-Complete languages, is already going steadfast, lead by several prominent DeFi projects.

Our open protocol Mintlayer, as an example, already offers technical premises for the future of DeFi by embracing intentional Turing-incompleteness. As more players enter the market, sooner than later the future architects of DeFi products will face a vital decision to make.

Is it plausible to keep unusable benefits in exchange for more loopholes, attack vectors and inherent flaws if there is a way around them? Or, jump straight to Mintlayer documentation. Don't miss any news and updates about Mintlayer. Subscribe to our newsletter.

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