Counterparty’s EVM Port to Enable Bitcoin with Ethereum Smart Contracts Moves Forward

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Update: The quotes given to CCN are attributed to Trevor Altpeter, director of the Counterparty Foundation.

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Counterparty is set to launch Ethereum’s Virtual Machine (EVM) on a testnet in two weeks with Counterparty developer Ruben de Vries making solid progress toward the end result, which will eventually bring Ethereum’s smart contract to Bitcoin.

In late 2014, Counterparty carried out a Proof-of-Concept EVM port; however, in comparison, this port is the newest version of the EVM software that is running on Ethereum today with the team of the opinion that it is mature enough for use on the Counterparty/Bitcoin mainnet. Additionally, it adds the ability for smart contracts to interact with Counterparty assets too.

With a test coverage of 85% and growing, Counterparty’s EVM is higher than Pyethereum itself, which happens to be the python core library of the Ethereum project.

It was only last month that CCN reported that Counterparty were bringing Ethereum smart contracts to the Bitcoin blockchain.


According to a press release from the Counterparty team they said:

Our final release will include all EVM functionality, be fully compatible with existing Ethereum smart contracts, and allow interaction with Counterparty assets.

Of course, unlike with Ethereum, where smart contracts are a fundamental and required component of most of the action besides sending Ether, Counterparty’s system is designed so that their core feature-set is completely independent of any smart contract functionality.

The Counterparty team said:

This means that anyone can use Counterparty’s well-tested asset creation, transfer, and decentralized features without having to interact with or otherwise touch smart contracts.

The DAO Hack

In light of the recent DAO hack, Counterparty said that progress on Counterparty’s EVM port will continue as planned; however, a new bylaw has been added regarding a non-rollback.

The press release says:

This policy forbids the Counterparty development team from publishing code to fork and/or roll-back the network as a response to bugs in specific smart contracts. (Where the fault is due to a bug in the underlying EVM — and not any specific smart contract that runs on it — the development team will of course write and publish bug fixes.

Speaking to CCN, Trevor Altpeter, director of the Counterparty Foundation said:

I think what happened with The DAO is a serious blow to enterprise adoption and enthusiasm. That may be specifically problematic for Ethereum given their corporate endorsements. I do not think users will lose enthusiasm for this technology, but this should make user expectations about the short-term usability of the technology more realistic. It will take a while for this technology to mature and I suggest being wary of those stating otherwise.

The Counterparty community are of the opinion that the community will have final control over EVM. This is further solidified by the fact that with XCP-based stake voting being added to the protocol, Counterparty have ensured a plan for a community-driven EVM safeguard feature. By using this feature, an as-yet-to-be-determined percentage of XCP holders can “initiate a rapid shutdown of the EVM subsystem while the rest of the Counterparty network continues to function perfectly.”

Altpeter added:

The main reason for the non-rollback policy is ideological. Counterparty is run in the same manner as Bitcoin, non-profit, fully decentralized and community-driven. Performing a hardfork to recover funds will rightfully destroy user confidence in a blockchain. It creates a conflict of interest as well.
In the case of the Ethereum hardfork it is likely that developer funds are involved. From a more practical perspective, rollbacks are a serious liability for developers. If developers can perform a rollback to recover lost funds, developers may become legally liable for activity on that blockchain.

Despite the fact that Counterparty’s non-rollback feature is the main benefit against Ethereum it could also present major consequences for Counterparty smart contract users and developers. Saying that, though, Counterparty’s EVM presents more options to the masses creating a race among individuals keen to develop a smart contract network considering how the world of blockchain is growing exponentially among big banks and startups.

Featured image from Shutterstock.



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Originally published at on July 6, 2016.

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