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Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)

| April 25, 2024

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What is an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)?

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) plays a pivotal role in the Ethereum blockchain platform, functioning as the runtime environment for the execution of smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps). It acts as a decentralized computer, operating across the worldwide network of Ethereum nodes.

In addition to executing smart contracts, EVM also computes the Ethereum network’s state following the addition of each new block to the chain. Positioned atop Ethereum’s hardware and node network layer, the EVM has a dual role: computing the network’s state and translating various smart contract codes into a readable format known as ‘Bytecode.’

This functionality enables smart contracts deployed on EVM-compatible chains, such as Polygon or Avalanche, to be seamlessly recognized by Ethereum nodes. Importantly, it facilitates developers in effortlessly migrating their decentralized applications (dApps) or tokens from Ethereum to other EVM-compatible chains.

How Does the Ethereum Virtual Machine Operate?

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) operates as a program designed to execute scripts, implementing specific operations within the Ethereum blockchain. It simplifies the creation of new tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain by interpreting scripts as sets of instructions or algorithms guiding the computer’s actions for proper functionality. Access to any network node is essential for executing commands seamlessly and creating new tokens on the blockchain.

Within Ethereum, smart contracts play a pivotal role, embodying computer code that facilitates the exchange of money and information. These contracts, predefined by their creators, ensure predetermined outcomes based on specific conditions. The Ethereum Virtual Machine offers a Turing complete environment for executing scripts and smart contracts, implying that any computer-implementable task can run on the EVM.

In the Ethereum ecosystem, the EVM holds a crucial position, providing a foundation for the development of decentralized applications (DApps). It guarantees the accurate and anticipated execution of transactions and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, aligning with the directives set by the smart contract code. In essence, the Ethereum Virtual Machine acts as a platform for the creation and execution of applications on the blockchain, facilitating the seamless development and operation of DApps.

Advantages of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) presents several benefits:

1. Interoperability Support:

EVM facilitates interoperability among blockchains, extending its support to all bytecode-based smart contract-utilizing blockchains. Moreover, it enables developers to seamlessly connect with diverse layer-2 networks, simplifying asset bridging and the migration of decentralized applications (dApps) between blockchains.

2. Security and Reliability:

EVM establishes a decentralized and isolated environment for executing smart contracts, ensuring the safety and smooth operation of data. The track record of EVMs in terms of security further reinforces the reliability of this environment.

3. Distributed Consensus:

The execution of smart contracts through distributed consensus is a hallmark of EVM. This mechanism guarantees that the failure of a node does not adversely impact the ongoing operations of decentralized applications (DApps) or smart contracts, reinforcing the resilience of the system.

EVM Architecture Essentials:

● EVM Code: Byte code executable by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

● State: A dynamic data structure in Ethereum that records information on accounts and balances. This state evolves block by block as the EVM processes inputs to generate deterministic outputs.

● Transactions: Cryptographically-signed instructions from users executed by the EVM. Two types exist:

  1. Message Calls: Transmit ETH between accounts.

  1. Contract Creation: Generate new smart contracts.

● Space Components: There are three main space components:

  1. Stack: Temporary storage (maximum capacity: 1024 items) where all operations are conducted.

  1. Memory: Temporary storage accessible solely during smart contract execution; contents are discarded post-execution.

  1. Storage: Persistent memory on the Ethereum blockchain, incurring higher gas fees than stack and memory usage.

● Gas: Computational effort quantifying the execution of operations on a blockchain network. Gas fees are imperative for EVM computations; without them, transactions remain unprocessed.