What is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)?
The Ethereum Virtual Machine is a state machine that stores the smart contracts which are called by protocols on Ethereum, and executes them. It is isolated, meaning it has no access to parts of the Ethereum code base like settings, files, or other processes. If Ethereum is a computer, the EVM is the CPU.
It is seen as the final and canonical state of the Ethereum supercomputer at any given time, and the Ethereum protocol exists to ensure its validity. If Bitcoin is a distributed ledger, then Ethereum is a distributed state machine.
What Does the Ethereum Virtual Machine Do?
Here’s the very short version:
In this large decentralised supercomputer constituted of all Ethereum validators, a protocol ‘calls’ the smart contract, which is then executed and deployed by the EVM. There are two types of accounts, Externally Owned Accounts (EOA) held by individual wallets, and Contract Accounts, which store the smart contracts. Both are treated equally by the machine.
The EVM is Turing complete, meaning that if asked, it will find an answer. Users can write smart contracts in Solidity, Ethereum’s programming language, and send it to the EVM to interpret and execute. The Ethereum protocol works as the consensus architecture for these contracts.
Why is the Ethereum Virtual Machine Important?
Layer-2 efforts to scale Ethereum must, by their nature, be EVM-compatible. Other blockchains with different consensus architecture are not, by default, EVM-compatible, as they are often either written in a different coding language (Ethereum is written in Solidity), or have consensus features and validating procedures that do not match Ethereum’s.
Yet it is possible to code a chain to be EVM-compatible while retaining most of the features of your own chain. It lets users use and bridge assets from Ethereum and EVM-compatible blockchains easily. Compatibility with Ethereum for those loyal to the ecosystem is important, and Onomy’s vision of a truly asset-agnostic one stop shop means EVM-compatibility for our products is a must.
What is an EVM compatible chain?
It is a chain written in Solidity that is coded to interact with Ethereum. It can, however, store bridged tokens from other chains that are not EVM-compatible.
Onomy’s EVM-compatible products means that it is possible to link ecosystems to facilitate capital flows and build a better connected world. The means of transfer varies from protocol to protocol, as there are several kinds of bridge models that we’ll explore in a future article. In Onomy’s case, the DEX allows you to directly trade between assets from EVM-compatible chains, with upcoming support for non-EVM chains as well. In addition, a natively EVM-compatible instance of the exchange will be deployed on Aurora, Polygon, Avalanche, Harmony, and other EVM-compatible ecosystems to serve loyal liquidity by opening up Onomy’s hybrid DEX consisting of an order book UI and an underlying AMM.