What is Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)? Benefits and Drawbacks

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The EVM, which is at the heart of the blockchain's architecture, is the software that executes its application code, or smart contracts, as they are known, by providing a run-time environment for them on top of the Ethereum network. Furthermore, the EVM is Turing-complete, which means it can run any program written in any programming language, allowing developers to quickly design unique smart contracts and DApps for the developing Web3 area.
Aside from these critical functions, EVM has access to all network nodes, executes smart contracts, and basically manages all transactions on the Ethereum blockchain, making it one of the most powerful virtual computers in existence today. In this article, we will explore the Ethereum Virtual Machine as well as discuss its benefits and drawbacks.

What is Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)?

The Ethereum network, which was conceptualized in 2013 by programmer Vitalik Buterin, owes its spectacular success as the preferred blockchain for DApp developers to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which was created by Gavin Wood during his employment at Ethereum. EVM is a customized state machine written in C++ and utilizing the LLVM Project compiler that works constantly and whose immutable actions define the state of each block in the Ethereum blockchain.
The EVM not only determines what nodes can and cannot do with the Ethereum blockchain's distributed ledger, but it also sets the particular rules for altering state from block to block. The latter capability is what allows Ethereum to be recognized for its smart contract functionality.
The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is intended to serve as the runtime environment for Ethereum smart contracts. It is sandboxed and separated from the rest of the system. This implies that no matter how many times you call a certain function on EVM, it should have no effect on your data or applications.
In summary:
  • An EVM is the runtime environment that allows Ethereum smart contracts to be executed.
  • Ethereum has its own Turing-complete programming language, Solidity, and with it comes the requirement to execute this code.
  • This task can be performed by a software known as the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
  • It operates on top of the Ethereum network, which means that all nodes agree on what code should be performed at any particular time.

How does Ethereum Virtual Machine work?

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a software that executes scripts required to carry out certain activities on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Ethereum Virtual Machine facilitates the creation of new tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain. In this context, script refers to a series of instructions or an algorithm that instructs the computer on what it must do in order for something to function properly. The EVM requires access to any network node in order to execute desired instructions and produce new tokens on the blockchain without difficulty.
  • A smart contract is a type of contract in Ethereum. These contracts contain computer code that allows for the exchange of money and information.
  • These contracts are established by the smart contract's designer in order to assure that a specific event will occur based on what happens or does not happen.
  • The Ethereum Virtual Machine provides a Turing-complete environment for script and smart contract execution. This means that EVM can execute everything that can be implemented with a computer.
EVM is important in the Ethereum ecosystem because it provides a framework for decentralized applications (DApps) to be created on top of it.
The Ethereum Virtual Machine guarantees that all transactions and smart contracts performed on the Ethereum blockchain are carried out in the expected and accurate way specified by the smart contract code. It acts as a platform for the execution of applications.
In a nutshell, the Ethereum Virtual Machine supports DApp development and execution on the blockchain.

The Purpose of EVM

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a Turing complete programmable machine that can run scripts to achieve arbitrary results. It was designed to be a "global computer" and had enormous power.
  • It is the computer that not only stores data on blockchains (e.g. bitcoin), but also executes code in smart contracts on the Ethereum network.
  • The machine is designed to run any type of contract that is built on Ethereum’s blockchain. It uses a programming language called Solidity, which is compiled into the EVM for execution.
  • The goal of writing code on the Ethereum network is to develop smart contracts and programs that run automatically when specific circumstances are satisfied. If a term or condition is not satisfied, the system can also perform an "exit" function.

Benefits of EVM

  • Untrusted code can be executed without endangering data: Untrusted code can be executed without endangering data. EVM ensures that its computations will not interfere with anything else going on in the system or with personal data.
  • Running complicated smart contracts: Complex smart contracts can be run in EVM without thinking about how they interact with one another. They can be written once and then executed on numerous platforms, allowing for the establishment of a single contract that operates across multiple computer environments.
  • Deterministic processing: Smart contracts created on EVM have access to all of Ethereum's states at any given moment, allowing for deterministic processing and providing additional assurances regarding their accuracy. In EVM, for example, invoking the same function twice will not result in an infinite loop. It would terminate execution and return a fixed value.
  • Distributed consensus: One of Ethereum's possible uses is to enable distributed consensus, in which everyone runs the same software but from their own computers.
  • Resilient to failure: This is a complicated procedure since the network must be able to reach an agreement at all times. As a result, the system becomes more resilient to individual node failures, and you may update several nodes at the same time without fear of them disagreeing due to how the code was built.
  • Stateful contracts are simple to build: EVM is meant for developers to write smart contracts as well as DApps (decentralized apps), which are programs that operate on distributed networks in a way that assures everyone sees the same version. It also makes it exceedingly simple to create stateful contracts that require access to persistent storage.

Drawbacks of EVM

  • Expensive cost of keeping data: The first one is the usage of gas to pay the fee to execute a smart contract, and the second is the expensive cost of keeping data on the blockchain, which make take up more than 3TB
  • Expensive gas: In Ethereum, all transactions are subject to a charge in order to be completed. These costs are known as "gas" and are paid in ETH tokens. Gas is priced at the point of execution and is determined by the intricacy of the transaction. The harder the computation for a transaction, the greater the gas cost.
  • Extremely high gas cost during congestion: When there is considerable network congestion owing to a large number of transactions being placed onto the blockchain, gas costs rise since there are fewer transactions that can go through (the same amount of computational power has to execute more transactions).
  • Technical knowledge is required: Writing smart contracts and leveraging EVM necessitate technical knowledge. It's a Turing-complete system that lets programmers use any programming language they like. Depending on the aim behind the code, this can be fantastic or devastating. Programming languages are neither excellent nor terrible in and of themselves; it all depends on who uses them and for what reason. The disadvantage of this technology is that it may result in a plethora of complex problems since with greater power comes greater accountability for the code writer.

The Future of Ethereum Virtual Machines

Despite the EVM's revolutionary impact on the blockchain ecosystem, its technology for reading and executing code is being worked upon by a variety of blockchain initiatives.
With cross-chain compatibility being the most crucial factor for developers, a slew of EVM-compatible blockchains have sprung up, with the majority offering lower gas and quicker transaction rates than the Ethereum protocol. As a result, these blockchains may now interact with Ethereum users effortlessly and employ blockchain bridges to facilitate financial transfers to their own networks.
However, once the Ethereum protocol has completed the Merge in September 2022, the next goal is to transition from EVM to Ethereum WebAssembly (eWASM). eWASM, which is designed to be extremely flexible and platform-agnostic, is being hailed as the next game-changer for the Ethereum protocol and may inspire other blockchains to use this run-time environment for smart contracts as well. However, only time will tell if eWASMs will replace the EVM as the most trustworthy mechanism for smart contracts.

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