Discrete Log Contracts Are Bringing Private, ‘Scriptless’ Smart Contracts to Bitcoin

Discrete Log Contracts Are Bringing Private, ‘Scriptless’ Smart Contracts to Bitcoin

“Republican_win”; “Democratic_win.” These are the parameters (and call functions) for the first smart contract escrowed bet placed on Bitcoin’s mainnet.

On Sept. 8, BTCPay Server founder Nicolas Dorier and Suredbits founder Chris Stewart entered the bet on the 2020 U.S. presidential election outcome using a discrete log contract (DSL), a form of smart contract that became feasible on Bitcoin just this year, thanks to independent Bitcoin developer Lloyd Fournier’s technical advancements in the realm of so-called “scriptless-scripts” on Bitcoin’s blockchain.

As for who took which side of the bet, Dorier and Stewart didn’t say. Even after Election Day when the votes are tallied we still won’t know who won the bet. And that’s very much the point.

Otherwise, the contracts wouldn’t be discrete.

What are discrete log contracts?

Described by developer Gert-Jaap Glasbergen as “invisible smart contracts,” discrete log contracts are structured to look like standard multi-signature transactions on Bitcoin’s blockchain. If someone were searching for the transaction on the ledger, they would have no way of knowing it’s a smart contract or, in Dorier and Stewart’s case, the details of the bet.

These smart contracts have theoretically been feasible since Bitcoin’s inception, but groundbreaking work with ECDSA adapter signatures (a cryptographic signature

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