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What are EVM Compatible Blockchains? A Complete Overview

What are EVM Compatible Blockchains? A Complete Overview

Understand the significance and capabilities of EVM compatible blockchains which are currently shaping the future of decentralized applications and smart...

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Introduction

Welcome to the world of blockchain technology, where EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible blockchains are revolutionizing the landscape of decentralized applications (dapps) and smart contracts. These blockchains are designed to be fully compatible with the Ethereum ecosystem, offering unparalleled flexibility and interoperability. Leveraging the same EVM bytecode and supporting programming languages like Solidity and compatible EVM chains make them seamless for developers to port their Ethereum-based applications with minimal modifications. They provide a vast playground for developers and users, inheriting the rich ecosystem of tools, libraries, and community support from Ethereum, while offering unique features and advantages.

With EVM-compatible blockchains, developers can potentially unlock new opportunities for scalability, interoperability, and customization. They offer alternatives for overcoming the limitations of Ethereum’s transaction throughput and gas fees and provide interoperability bridges for seamless communication between different blockchain networks. Furthermore, EVM-compatible blockchains encourage experimentation and innovation, allowing developers to tailor their solutions to specific use cases and requirements. 

Smart Contracts and Dapps

First things first. Before we get down to discuss EVM, we’ll need to understand what are smart contracts and dapps.

Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into lines of code, which are deployed on a blockchain. They automatically enforce and execute the conditions of a contract when predetermined rules are met, without the need for intermediaries.

Decentralized applications (dapps) are applications that run on a blockchain network, leveraging the capabilities of smart contracts to offer services that are decentralized and tamper-resistant. These dapps can range from financial tools to games, all operating on a blockchain’s secure and transparent infrastructure. Smart contracts are the building blocks or backend of these dapps, enabling them to function autonomously and reliably in a decentralized ecosystem.

What is Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and How is it Important?

The EVM is a runtime environment for executing smart contracts in a secure and decentralized manner across the largest smart contract platform, Ethereum. Some examples of runtime environments in Web2 include web browsers like Chrome, Node.js, Java Virtual Machine. Each of these environments is designed to execute code written in specific programming languages, providing the necessary libraries and tools needed for the code to run correctly.

Let’s understand what runtime environment entails in layman terms.

A runtime environment is like a stage where a play (software program) is performed. Just as a play needs a script and stage with lights, sound, and props to be performed in front of an audience, a software program needs a runtime environment to run on a computer or device. Let’s now understand each of them in detail.

  • The Play: This is the software program or app you want to use, like a word processor, game, or mobile app. In our case, it is the dapps.
  • The Script: Just as a script outlines the actions, dialogues, and events that happen on stage under certain conditions, a smart contract specifies the rules, conditions, and outcomes of an agreement in code. When these conditions are met, the smart contract automatically executes the specified actions, much like how actors follow a script during a play.
  • The Stage: This is the runtime environment. It provides the necessary setting and tools for the software (dapps) to work. This includes managing the program’s memory (smart contract executions), helping it interact with the operating system (base or layer 1 blockchain), and ensuring that all the parts of the program can talk to each other and work together smoothly.
  • The Audience: These are the users who interact with the software program (dapps).

So, a runtime environment is essential for any software to run properly, just like a stage is essential for a play to be performed. It creates the right conditions and provides the necessary support for the software to operate as intended.

EVM, in particular, executes smart contracts written in specific programming languages like Solidity or Vyper, ensuring they run exactly as programmed without downtime, censorship, fraud, or third-party interference. EVM operates in a decentralized environment, where multiple nodes (computers) across the Ethereum network execute the same smart contract to reach consensus. Its operation within the blockchain network ensures unparalleled security and resistance to tampering, fostering a trustless environment crucial for applications like DeFi and DEX. Additionally, the EVM supports a diverse range of programming languages and tools, nurturing a rich decentralized ecosystem of developers and fostering innovation across the Ethereum platform.

What are EVM Compatible Blockchains? 

EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible blockchains are smart contract platforms that operate on a blockchain network that is fully compatible with Ethereum. This means that users can develop decentralized applications (dapps) on these platforms in a similar manner as they do on Ethereum, and these dapps can interact with the Ethereum network.

One of the main reasons for using these EVM blockchains is their potential for faster transaction times and lower transaction fees compared to Ethereum. Transactions on these blockchains are typically completed more quickly and at a lower cost. These platforms offer the similar smart contract functionality and features as Ethereum, albeit, at a lower cost and higher speed.

The success of decentralized finance (DeFi) can be attributed, in part, to the large user base and the advantages of low gas transaction costs and quick transaction times provided by EVM blockchains. These factors have attracted users to these blockchains, providing an alternative to Ethereum for building dapps and processing transactions.

Benefits of EVM Compatible Blockchains

So, what are the benefits of EVM-compatible blockchains?

1. Familiarity and Interoperability

EVM-compatible chains leverage the same EVM bytecode and support the same programming languages, such as Solidity, as Ethereum. This makes it easy for developers familiar with Ethereum to transition and build on these blockchains without learning new languages or tools. It also enables seamless interoperability between different EVM-compatible blockchains and the Ethereum network, transferring assets and data across other EVM chains.

2. Proven Technology

Ethereum’s EVM is a time-tested platform with a robust infrastructure, making it a reliable standard for other blockchains to emulate for smart contract functionality.

3. Flexibility and Customization

EVM-compatible blockchains provide developers with a flexible and customizable environment to build decentralized applications (dapps) and smart contracts. They inherit the rich ecosystem of tools, libraries, and community support from Ethereum while offering unique features and advantages that can be tailored to specific use cases and requirements.

4. Scalability and Cost-Effectiveness

EVM compatible chains often offer faster transaction times and lower transaction fees than Ethereum. This can improve scalability and cost-effectiveness for dapps and users, making transacting and interacting with the blockchain more affordable and efficient.

5. Early Adoption Opportunities

Being compatible with the EVM also allows early adopters to participate in the daily operations of new EVM-compatible blockchains by running nodes, storing blocks (with transactions), ordering transactions, deploying dapps and acquiring a large user base. Early adopters can also participate in other strategic tasks such as creating content, building community, bug bounties and stress testing the network.

6. Interconnected Ecosystem

EVM-compatible blockchains enable the creation of cross-chain bridges, allowing for seamless communication and exchange of assets between different blockchain networks. This opens up possibilities for new use cases and collaborations across other EVM-compatible blockchains and the Ethereum network.

7. Low Entry Barrier for New Developers

By providing a familiar and well-documented environment, based on the widely-adopted Ethereum standards, EVM chains make it easier for beginners to start developing decentralized applications or dapps and acquire the existing Web3 user base. This accessibility is crucial for nurturing fresh talent and fostering a diverse developer community in the rapidly evolving world of blockchain technology.

8. Facilitating Transition from Web2 to Web3

EVM-compatible blockchains offer tools and resources that ease the transition for Web2 developers into the Web3 space. By providing comprehensive documentation, developer support communities, and compatibility layers, EVM blockchains can help Web2 developers leverage their existing skills and gradually adapt to the nuances of blockchain development, thus bridging the gap between traditional and decentralized web technologies.

In summary, EVM-compatible chains offer familiarity, interoperability, flexibility, scalability, and early adoption opportunities, making them a popular choice for developers and users in the blockchain ecosystem.

😃Excited to learn about the key elements of EVM? Check these article on EVM Vs Non-EVM & What is EVM Wallet to get an in-depth understanding about EVM.

Top 7 EVM Compatible Blockchains

  1. Shardeum
  2. Avalanche
  3. Fantom
  4. Polygon
  5. Arbitrum
  6. Harmony
  7. Celo

1. Shardeum (SHM)

Shardeum EVM compatible blockchain

Shardeum is a layer 1 blockchain that aims to maintain high scalability, true decentralization and strong security through dynamic state sharding with very low and constant gas fees forever. It is the first smart contract platform that increases the number of nodes to proportionally increase TPS. The platform, further, can instantly expand or shrink based on the load in the network, enabling both linear and auto scaling while maintaining very low transaction costs even as usage increases. Developers can build and deploy smart contracts and dapps on Shardeum seamlessly because it is an EVM-based platform.

To maintain fairness and eliminate miner extractable value, Shardeum processes transactions on a first-come, first-served basis with the constant gas fee for all transactions. Through transaction level consensus and dynamic state sharding, the network will crucially retain atomic and cross shard composability for a smooth developer experience. By offering a platform that enables decentralized UI & UX that is equivalent or even superior to that of centralized peers, Shardeum — aims to accelerate world’s transition to Web3.

2. Avalanche (AVAX)

Avalanche aims to be a highly efficient blockchain platform with exceptional speed, low transaction fees, and scalability. It employs a unique consensus protocol, enabling rapid transaction finality while maintaining robust security. Designed to support a wide range of decentralized applications and custom blockchain networks, Avalanche stands out for its interoperability and flexible infrastructure, making it a popular choice in the DeFi, gaming, and enterprise blockchain spaces.

Avalanche’s architecture allows for the creation of multiple subnets, enabling various blockchains to coexist and interoperate within its ecosystem, fostering a diverse and customizable network environment. Additionally, its platform aims to be user and developer-friendly, offering a seamless experience for creating and deploying dapps, with an emphasis on speed and reliability that addresses many of the common bottlenecks in other blockchain networks.

3. Fantom (FTM)

Fantom, is an EVM-compatible blockchain, that aims to stand out for its innovative approach to scalability and efficiency in the blockchain space. It is designed to overcome limitations like slow transaction times often seen in other blockchains. Fantom employs a unique consensus mechanism called Lachesis, which enables near-instant transactions, making it an attractive choice for DeFi applications and real-world use cases. Fantom’s architecture not only supports smart contracts but also offers compatibility with Ethereum, allowing developers to seamlessly migrate dapps and leverage its growing ecosystem.

4. Polygon (Matic)

Unlike the layer 1 blockchains discussed so far, Polygon (formerly known as Matic Network) is a Layer 2 scaling solution, designed to augment the capabilities of Ethereum by enhancing its scalability and transaction throughput. It operates on top of the Ethereum blockchain, providing faster and cheaper transactions while inheriting Ethereum’s security and ecosystem. Polygon’s framework enables developers to build scalable user-friendly dapps with the robust security of Ethereum, making it a key player in the effort to address Ethereum’s scalability challenges.

Polygon’s multi-chain system aims to transform Ethereum into a full-fledged multi-chain system (akin to a “blockchain internet”), supporting a variety of scalable solutions like sidechains, zk-rollups, and optimistic rollups. This flexibility positions Polygon as a versatile platform for a wide range of applications, from DeFi to NFTs, while fostering an environment for greater developer innovation and user accessibility within the Ethereum ecosystem.

5. Arbitrum (ARB)

Arbitrum is a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum, designed to improve the speed and efficiency of Ethereum smart contracts while significantly reducing transaction costs. It utilizes a technology called Optimistic Rollups, which optimistically assumes transactions are valid to streamline processing, only performing full computations in case of a dispute. By bundling multiple transactions into a single proof on the Ethereum blockchain, Arbitrum significantly reduces transaction fees and enhances throughput, without compromising on security. This approach enables Arbitrum to offer near-instant transaction finality and greater scalability, making it an attractive solution for developers looking to build and deploy more efficient dapps on the Ethereum network.

6. Harmony (ONE)

Harmony (ONE) is a Layer 1 blockchain that emphasizes speed and scalability, utilizing sharding technology to process transactions quickly and efficiently. It is designed for the creation and use of decentralized applications (dapps) and provides an EVM-compatible environment, allowing developers to easily deploy Ethereum-based applications on its network. Harmony stands out for its focus on reducing validation times and energy consumption, making it an eco-friendly and high-performance blockchain solution. Its aim is to bridge the gap between scalability and decentralization, offering a balanced platform for various blockchain applications.

7. Celo

Celo is a layer 1 blockchain platform that focuses on increasing cryptocurrency adoption among smartphone users. It’s unique for its mobile-first approach, designed to make financial dapps and services accessible to anyone with a mobile phone, especially in underbanked regions. Celo supports EVM-compatible smart contracts and decentralized applications, allowing for a seamless transition of Ethereum-based projects onto its platform. With its own stablecoins and a strong emphasis on user experience, Celo aims to streamline payments and financial services on the blockchain, making them more inclusive and globally accessible.

What are the Use Cases of EVM Compatible Blockchain?

Some of the use cases of EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible blockchains include:

1. Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Creating decentralized financial applications like decentralized exchanges (DEXs), lending/borrowing platforms, stablecoins, and yield farming.

2. NFT Marketplaces

Building marketplaces for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for digital art, collectibles, virtual real estate, etc.

3. Gaming and Virtual Worlds

Developing blockchain-based games and virtual worlds where players can own and trade in-game assets using smart contracts.

4. Supply Chain and Traceability

Creating transparent and traceable supply chain solutions to track goods, verify authenticity, and ensure compliance.

5. Governance and DAOs

Building decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and governance systems for transparent decision-making and voting on proposals.

6. Tokenization and Crowdfunding

Tokenizing real-world assets like real estate, art, and commodities and enabling crowdfunding campaigns through ICOs or STOs.

7. Interoperability and Cross-Chain Bridges

Facilitating the seamless transfer of assets and value across different blockchain networks through cross-chain bridges.

8. Decentralized Identity

Creating decentralized identity solutions for privacy, security, and ownership of personal data.

9. Social Media and Content Platforms

Building decentralized social media and platforms where users control their data and content.

10. Supply Chain Finance

Enabling decentralized financing solutions for supply chain management, such as invoice factoring, trade finance, and inventory financing.

These are just a few examples of the wide range of use cases to which EVM-compatible chains can be applied, showcasing their versatility and potential for innovation in various industries and applications.

Conclusion

In conclusion, EVM-compatible blockchains represent a significant evolution in the blockchain ecosystem, offering developers and users the versatility and familiarity of Ethereum’s well-established environment combined with unique enhancements. From improving scalability and transaction speed to offering specialized features and fostering new communities, these blockchains extend the reach and capabilities of traditional Ethereum applications.

As the blockchain landscape continues to grow and diversify, EVM-compatible chains play a crucial role in maintaining interoperability and accessibility, ensuring a seamless experience for developers and a rich, expansive ecosystem for users. This complete overview underscores how EVM compatibility is not just about maintaining continuity with Ethereum, but also about pushing the boundaries of what blockchain technology can achieve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Are EVM Compatible Blockchains Fully Decentralized? 

While EVM blockchains are designed to be decentralized, the degree of decentralization can vary depending on various factors such as the network’s governance model, consensus mechanism, and the distribution of nodes. For instance, blockchains with a smaller number of validators may be more centralized than one with a larger number of validators. 

2. How Can I Interact with EVM Blockchains as a Developer or User?

As a developer, you can interact with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible blockchains with the use of various tools, libraries, and interfaces. As a rule of thumb, learning programming languages like Solidity would do you a lot of good for you. 

As a user, you can interact with EVM compatible blockchains in many different ways by using Ethereum wallets and interacting with dapps.

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