Summary: An Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) Chain is a blockchain network that can execute smart contracts and process transactions in a manner compatible with Ethereum's own computational engine, the EVM. This compatibility facilitates a unified development environment for decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts, streamlining user experience across various platforms.
As of the latest data, EVM-compatible chains have a collective Total Value Locked (TVL) exceeding $42 billion, demonstrating high levels of trust and adoption.
What is an EVM Chain?
An EVM Chain, short for Ethereum Virtual Machine Chain, is a blockchain network that is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This compatibility allows the chain to leverage Ethereum's robust ecosystem, enabling developers to create decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts using the same tools and languages they would use on the Ethereum network.
The significance of EVM compatibility extends to the user experience as well. Wallets and user interfaces often behave consistently across all EVM-compatible chains, making it easier for users to interact with various decentralized platforms. This standardization is becoming increasingly important as the adoption of smart contracts and dApps continues to rise, offering a seamless and secure environment for both developers and users.
What is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)?
The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is the computational engine that powers the Ethereum blockchain. It acts as a virtual computer, executing smart contracts and processing transactions within the Ethereum network. Written in high-level languages like Solidity, these smart contracts are compiled into bytecode for the EVM to interpret and execute.
The EVM's key feature is its ability to run smart contracts securely and in isolation. These contracts can vary from simple token exchanges to complex decentralized applications (dApps), such as governance systems and decentralized exchanges. By ensuring that smart contracts operate under set conditions, the EVM provides a transparent, immutable, and trustless environment, enhancing security for all network participants.
What are the Popular EVM Blockchains?
Several blockchains have gained popularity due to their EVM compatibility, each offering unique advantages:
- Ethereum: The original blockchain with an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), it serves as the foundational framework for web3 applications, including decentralized applications (dApps) and decentralized exchanges (DEXs).
- BNB Chain: An EVM-compatible layer 1 by Binance, this blockchain is favoured for its fast and cost-effective transactions. It has become a hub for DeFi projects and decentralized exchanges.
- Polygon (MATIC): Known as a Layer 2 solution for Ethereum, Polygon aims to improve scalability and transaction efficiency on the Ethereum network.
- Avalanche: Avalanche is a popular EVM-based alternative layer 1 with a novel consensus called Snowball.
- Optimism, Base and Arbitrum: Other popular Layer 2’s built on Ethereum also leverage the EVM for applications.
Each of these EVM-compatible blockchains brings its own set of features and benefits, catering to different needs within the decentralized ecosystem.
Total Value Locked on EVM Chains
Understanding the Total Value Locked (TVL) in EVM-compatible chains is essential for gauging the network's health and level of adoption. As per the latest data from DefiLlama, EVM-based chains collectively secure over $42 billion in assets, making EVM the most trusted smart contract platform in the industry.
Leading the pack in TVL are Ethereum with $21.617 billion, followed by BSC Chain at $5.3 billion, Arbitrum with $1.7 billion, and Avalanche holding $519 million. In contrast, the most prominent non-EVM chain by TVL is Solana, which currently has over $1.5 billion in assets secured. These figures offer a comprehensive view of the current landscape, highlighting the trust and activity levels across various blockchain networks.
Examples of non-EVM Compatible Chains
Several well-known blockchains have successfully implemented smart contracts, but they do so using their own unique programming languages and architectural frameworks, rather than relying on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). These include:
- Bitcoin: The pioneer in blockchain technology, Bitcoin is primarily designed for peer-to-peer transactions and does not support EVM-compatible smart contracts.
- Cardano: Utilizing its own smart contract platform called Plutus, Cardano operates independently of the EVM.
- Solana: Known for high throughput and low latency, Solana uses its own unique architecture and is not EVM-compatible.
- Aptos: While not as widely known as others, Aptos is another blockchain that operates without EVM compatibility, focusing on its own set of features and functionalities.
- XRP (Ripple): Primarily designed for fast and cost-effective international money transfers, XRP does not support EVM-compatible smart contracts.
The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is more than just the backbone of the Ethereum blockchain; it's a unifying standard for various other networks like BNB Chain, Polygon, and Avalanche. Its compatibility enables a seamless experience for both developers and users, making it easier to interact with smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps).
With a Total Value Locked (TVL) exceeding $42 billion, EVM-compatible chains are increasingly becoming the most trusted operating system for blockchains. In essence, the EVM standard is pivotal for scalability, security, and interoperable decentralized ecosystem of applications.