Turing-completeness is a central feature of the Ethereum blockchain platform. In contrast to Bitcoin, which is primarily designed to facilitate secure transactions, Ethereum is designed to be a decentralized platform for executing arbitrary code, known as ‘smart contracts’.
Smart contracts are essentially self-executing computer programs that can automatically enforce the terms of an agreement between parties. Turing-completeness is a term used to describe a system or programming language that is capable of performing any computation that can be performed by a Turing machine.
A Turing machine is a theoretical model of a machine that is capable of performing computations by reading and writing symbols on an infinitely long tape. It was proposed by the mathematician Alan Turing in the 1930s as a way to formalize the concept of computation.
To be turing-complete, a system or programming language must be able to perform all the operations that a Turing machine can perform, including the ability to read and write symbols on a tape, move the tape left or right, and change the machine’s state based on the symbols it reads.
The Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) is the runtime environment for executing smart contracts on the Ethereum platform. The EVM is designed to be turing-complete, which means that it can execute any arbitrary code that can be expressed in a programming language that is turing-complete.
This is significant because it allows developers to write smart contracts that can perform complex computations, implement sophisticated business logic, and interact with other smart contracts and external data sources. This flexibility and power have made Ethereum a popular platform for building decentralized applications (DApps) and other blockchain-based solutions.