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What are EVM Chains?

What are EVM Chains?

Understand the importance of EVM chains in blockchain, their compatibility with Ethereum, and their role in enhancing user experience for dApp developers.

Summary: An Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) Chain is a blockchain network capable of executing smart contracts and processing transactions in a way that is compatible with Ethereum's computational engine, the EVM. This compatibility enables a unified development environment for decentralized applications and smart contracts, enhancing the user experience across chains.

Recent data shows EVM-compatible chains collectively hold a Total Value Locked (TVL) exceeding $80 billion, indicating significant trust and widespread adoption.

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What is an EVM Chain?

An EVM Chain, or Ethereum Virtual Machine Chain, refers to a blockchain network compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This compatibility allows the chain to leverage Ethereum's extensive ecosystem, enabling developers to create decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts using the same programming tools and languages as on the Ethereum network.

EVM compatibility extends beyond development, significantly improving the user experience. Wallets and user interfaces exhibit uniform behavior across all EVM-compatible chains, simplifying user interactions with various decentralized platforms. As smart contracts and dApps become more prevalent, this standardization is crucial. It provides a consistent, user-friendly, and secure environment for developers and users across layer 1 and layer 2 blockchains.

Ethereum Virtual Machine Chain

What is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)?

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is the computational core of the Ethereum blockchain, executing smart contracts and processing transactions. Smart contracts, written in languages like Solidity, are compiled into bytecode for the EVM to interpret and execute.

The EVM's primary function is to run smart contracts securely and in isolation. These contracts can range from simple token transfers to complex decentralized applications (dApps) such as governance systems and decentralized exchanges. By enforcing contract conditions, the EVM ensures a transparent, immutable, and secure environment for all network participants.

What are the Popular EVM Blockchains?

Several blockchains have gained popularity for their EVM compatibility, each offering distinct advantages:

  • Ethereum: The original blockchain with an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), it forms the foundation for web3 applications, including dApps and decentralized exchanges (DEXs).
  • BNB Chain: A Binance layer 1 blockchain known for fast, cost-effective transactions, it has become a hub for DeFi projects and DEXs.
  • Polygon (MATIC): This Layer 2 solution enhances Ethereum's scalability and transaction efficiency.
  • Avalanche: An EVM-based layer 1 blockchain with the unique Snowball consensus protocol.
  • Optimism: This platform is another layer 2 solution on Ethereum leverage the EVM to boost scalability and performance. It is similar to other platforms like Arbitrum, Base and Blast.

Each of these EVM-compatible blockchains offers unique features, addressing various needs within the decentralized ecosystem.

Total Value Locked on EVM Chains

The Total Value Locked (TVL) in EVM-compatible chains is a key indicator of network health and adoption. According to DefiLlama, EVM-based chains collectively secure over $80 billion in assets, with Ethereum leading at $62 billion, followed by BNB Chain at $5.1 billion, Arbitrum at $3 billion, and Avalanche at $779 million.

For context, Solana, a notable non-EVM chain, secures over $4.2 billion in assets. These figures highlight the significant trust and activity within EVM-based networks, underscoring their dominant position in the blockchain ecosystem.

Examples of non-EVM Compatible Chains

Several prominent blockchains implement smart contracts using unique programming languages and frameworks, independent of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Notable examples include:

  • Bitcoin: Primarily designed for peer-to-peer transactions, Bitcoin 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 employs a unique architecture that is not EVM-compatible.
  • Aptos: Although not as widely recognized, Aptos focuses on its distinct features and functionalities without EVM compatibility.
  • XRP (Ripple): Designed for efficient international money transfers, XRP does not support EVM-compatible smart contracts.

These blockchains highlight the diversity in smart contract implementation across the crypto ecosystem.

Bottom Line

EVM chains are pivotal in blockchain technology, enabling seamless dApp and smart contract development with consistent user experiences. Leading platforms like Ethereum, BNB Chain, and Polygon, which secure substantial assets, exemplify the EVM's influence in decentralized finance. Non-EVM chains like Bitcoin, Cardano, and Solana highlight diverse approaches in smart contract implementation, enriching the blockchain ecosystem with varied technical frameworks and use cases.

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