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Ethereum Virtual Machine or EVM – In Simple Words

What is a VM or Virtual Machine?

EVM in Web 3.0 is short for Ethereum Virtual Machine. My previous work experience involved program managing successful deployment of client applications on local user environments. In simpler words, the systems of local users must have all the client applications required to perform their respective job roles. So how is this ‘deployment’ made possible? Virtual Machine or VM is one among other solutions widely in practice.

In the above mentioned context, the purpose of a virtual machine is to virtualize the version of a client host computer or server and deploy that version on a remote user’s system with the help of software programs. The deployment can be made irrespective of which operating system (OS) or hardware the remote user uses. In other words, software or applications running inside a VM does not interfere with the remote user’s operating system and will remain independent.

EVM Ethereum
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On a successful deployment instance, the remote user could simply log into the virtual machine on his/her computer and access client applications – both web based and desktop based – with appropriate authentication. This enables remote users who, for instance, may be taking over an outsourced work to perform all the required job duties and ensure services delivered to client’s customers stay uninterrupted. VM’s make applications and software portable across servers or host machines. Any new requirement that comes up in the future to add more applications or software inside the VM (due to say implementing an automation) is made possible because VMs enable adding and distributing multiple virtual servers across multiple users.

EVM or Ethereum Virtual Machine

A Decentralized & Safe VM

This positions us perfectly to learn about Ethereum Virtual Machine. You may be well aware of Ether – the cryptocurrency of the second largest blockchain network, Ethereum. But Ethereum is way more than its native coin, ETH. There is a reason why its tagline is “The World Computer”. With the rise of virtual machines, remote desktops and today’s cloud/edge computing, accessing any number of third party applications and digital utilities from anywhere in the world on your mobile phone or laptop is effortless. But it comes at a cost.

One among them is that such utilities are controlled by a third party. Which, in turn, can result in rendering your personal information vulnerable to reckless abuse. Your privacy, security and creativity is more or less in the hands of such third parties. This is where open source technology such as blockchain makes a difference where now the same VM concept is applied, albeit, in a decentralized way.

With EVM, the idea is to randomly distribute the workload on the network across multiple unrelated nodes i.e. who are not influenced or controlled by a central entity. And if someone or a group is really looking to influence any activity within EVM, they have to take over 51% of the network which is highly unlikely. That is because, an activity or a transaction, is processed on the network only after getting at least 50% consensus among the validating nodes. To complicate things for bad actors, each activity is recorded cryptographically and appended chronologically on Web 3 technologies like blockchain which cannot be altered or tampered with. Thereby, privacy is also optimized making it almost impossible for an intermediary to abuse it.

A VM that Executes its Logical Thoughts

Be it VM or EVM, developers play a significant role in developing/maintaining software programs or codes to operationalize the use cases virtually across billions of devices. Software programs can be considered here as a set of instructions while nodes can be considered here as individuals who validate/complete a task by following the instructions. A good understanding of Solidity and JavaScript is a much needed skill as far as EVM opportunities are concerned.

It is important to note that programs are developed not just to operationalize a network, but also to perform any logical step of a computational function. We know all mobile phones have basic call making features but an example of a logical function deployed and executed is ‘face unlocking’ feature. Likewise, EVM has proved for a long time now, that it is capable of auto-executing logical steps through its revolutionary ‘smart contracts’. You are now truly looking at automating various use cases on top of virtualizing them across users/devices that were simply out of reach till recently . Some of the smart contracts use cases :

Smart contract Ethereum EVM

The World Computer indeed

So, in effect, what you are seeing with Ethereum (the network) is not just a decentralized ledger holding data on accounts and balances. Rather it holds an entire state data of a ton of scalable applications and blockchains today. Yes, that’s why even layer 1 blockchains like Shardeum are building an infinitely scalable network that is EVM compatible. Otherwise you are not simply going to be able to scale a project that can support billions of users who will be onboarded into Web 3.0 in the near future.

Let me be clear. Ethereum does not need any promotion. This blog is simply an attempt to illustrate why the EVM state network has really become the ‘World computer’. It is helping multiple diverse projects to launch their platform and ideas in a scalable, decentralized and secure way. Wasn’t that the intended identity of the open source internet so it can inspire others and make the world more inclusive? Well that’s precisely what open source blockchain is achieving anyways with more networks joining Ethereum and building their own distinctive smart contracts.

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Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). They do not necessarily purport to reflect the opinions or views of Shardeum foundation.

About the Author(s) : Subbu is a fintech blogger @ his website livingstable.com. Through his contents, he seeks to guide people to utilize financial resources online and realize the power they have on their fingertips. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter


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