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What is Meant By Turing-Complete in Ethereum?

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  • Last Updated : 28 Jul, 2022
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Turing complete refers to the idea that given infinite time, any program in one language could be written (albeit perhaps inefficiently) in another. In Ethereum, Turing complete means using conditional statements and loops to program smart contracts.

The following topics will be discussed here:

  1. What is Turing’s completeness?
  2. Impact of Turing Completeness On Cryptocurrency.
  3. Ethereum as Turing Completeness.
  4. Does a System Have To Be Turing Complete To Be Useful?

Let’s start discussing each of these topics in detail.

What is Turing completeness?

Turing-completeness is a word defined by Alan Turing which it describes the idea that some computing machines are capable of performing any task a computer can perform. 

  • The concept of Turing-completeness is one at the heart of software and application development, where it allows code to be written without having to check beforehand if it will work or not. 
  • In other words, one can write your program without worrying about what else is allowed for it to do. 
  • This is essential in determining usability as well as many other aspects of the software. It is also important to know what “Turing-complete” means and how it relates to Ethereum.
  • In Turing’s paper, the concept of Turing-complete machines is used to disprove the possibility of true artificial intelligence. 
  • For instance, whether a machine can eventually imitate the behaviors of a human. In practical terms, this means that “Turing-complete” allows programmers to write code that can be used by any computer to achieve any result. 
  • It is necessary for introducing new techniques and ideas into software programming such as functional programming or even for understanding ideas about universal computation with regard to general computing.

Impact of Turing Completeness On Cryptocurrency

One of the main obstacles that cryptocurrency runs into is reliance on a third party, typically an entity such as a bank. 

  • These companies are responsible for ensuring that a cryptocurrency can be used in everyday transactions because it must be compatible with traditional banking services. Turing completeness is a characteristic of a programming language. 
  • A language is Turing complete if it can be used to simulate a Turing machine, which means that an appropriately designed program can solve any problem that a Universal Turing Machine (UTM) can solve. 
  • In order for this to be feasible, programs must be free from restrictions, such as halting and infinite loops. 
  • Theoretically, Turing’s completeness enables the development of highly advanced programs in one language and allows other projects or companies to create highly advanced applications using the same tools.

Key Points

  • Ethereum can be built on the blockchain that has been built right now with no need to upgrade. So, one gets a cheap and scalable Blockchain offering storage and processing power that is almost limitless and at the same time evolving.
  • Ethereum will change the whole Blockchain ecosystem by making it possible to do many more things on it. All thanks to its Turing-complete language Solidity. 
  • The whole concept of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts is based on the idea of Turing-complete languages.
  • Smart contracts are being used for all kinds of applications including common transactions like payments, buying a car, or even licensing music or software. Smart contracts can be used in an efficient way to run state channels between users and to make payments transparently.
  • ERC20 is the standard document that provides a structure for tokens (works on Ethereum) and it is compatible with most tokens projects like City Coin, Request Network, and others. 
  • Initial coin offering (ICO) which is a new way to raise money for a project – uses ERC20 as the monetary unit without issuing tradable ERC20 tokens before the ICO launch.

Ethereum as Turing Completeness

Ethereum is a cryptocurrency built with Turing completeness in mind. 

  • Since it relies on programmable smart contracts, Ethereum is not reliant on third-party services to function. 
  • This means that, theoretically, one could buy a house or make other major purchases on the Ethereum blockchain through the use of a smart contract.
  • However, there are concerns regarding whether or not this is feasible due to the high costs associated with Turing complete systems and their ability to run continuously without human intervention.

Theoretically, there are several challenges associated with Turing complete cryptocurrencies. As the cryptocurrency industry continues to grow and expand, new ideas are being brought forth constantly — many of which would not have been possible without Turing completeness.

Does a System Have To Be Turing Complete To Be Useful in Blockchain?

  • A system has to be Turing complete in order to be useful in blockchain, but it can have all the other desirable properties of a blockchain, such as decentralization and trustless transactions.
  • A system is Turing complete if it can simulate an arbitrary computer program. Turing complete systems have to be able to run any possible computation, which includes the most complex types of computation such as those found in blockchain. This type of system also often has better performance than other systems because it can use a set of rules which are more efficient when solving problems with many steps.
  • In addition to being Turing complete, a system must also be decentralized and allow trustless transactions according to consensus in order for it to be useful in the blockchain. These properties are necessary for the security and consistency that a blockchain needs in order for its data records or “blocks” to have value and meaning.

Ethereum is a very new technology with many possibilities that can disrupt our lives in the future. In short, it is a complex network of computers that allows one to create own currency and it is totally decentralized and free to use. 

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