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The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a processing engine that functions as a decentralized computer. The EVM matters because it includes millions of executable applications based on the Ethereum system.
It serves as the virtual computer that the Ethereum Foundation has put at the core of its ecosystem. The EVM is the portion of the network responsible for executing and deploying smart contracts.
The Strategic Role of EVM
The EVM’s job is to integrate various additional features into the Blockchain to guarantee a smooth user experience. The EVM aims to minimize the number of issues users may encounter when using the distributed ledger.
Think of the Ethereum blockchain as a peer-to-peer (P2P) structure of nodes. Each node is responsible for the stability and security of the ecosystem. Every Ethereum node uses EVM to maintain consensus throughout the blockchain.
One of the peculiarities of EVM is that we could see it as a closed system. The code inside the EVM does not have access to the network, file system, or any other external activity. This feature is a precise cybersecurity measure since it reduces the potential for malicious use of the EVM.
The EVM is critical to guarantee the functioning of Ethereum, but not all operations require it to run. Simple transactions do not necessitate the use of the EVM’s services. On the other hand, other activities will require an update of the EVM’s state.
In Ethereum, the global state is a system to map all addresses to accounts. Each address represents an account with Ether balance, nonce, storage, and program code.
How Does EVM Work?
As previously mentioned, the EVM is a virtual stack integrated within an Ethereum node. The Ethereum Virtual Machine allows developers to construct Dapps and smart contracts.
Smart contracts on Ethereum generally employ the Solidity programming language. The EVM manages to convert Solidity (and other languages) into bytecode. If you think about it, this is where the separation between the code and the network happens.
The Ethereum Virtual Machine enables developers to write code in a secure environment. The system keeps track of each EVM instruction and cost. As a second step, it allocates a Gas fee to the instruction.
This mechanism is also a clever one. In the event of a transaction failure, validators will always receive a refund on the sum they paid. Furthermore, it puts an end to endless transactions, which may result in costly operations.
An ETH transaction is the result of any activity on Ethereum. To complete any operation, users must pay transaction fees (or “Gas”).
Gas fees tend to increase during periods of heavy network activity, with many transactions. A single transaction can sometimes cost as much as tens of dollars on Ethereum.
Pros and Cons of the EVM
If we were to highlight the perks of using the EVM, we could indeed mention at least a couple of them.
For starters, anyone may use the EVM to construct their own Dapp. There are countless possible applications for this type of software, with no demographic or economic limits.
Furthermore, smart contracts provide a lot of potential advantages. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a recent example of what we are saying. Anyone may make digital art and sell it on a decentralized marketplace by using NFTs.
A piece of code can democratize virtual access to the art market, something unthinkable until a few years ago.
The EVM technology comes with an evident set of limitations. Using the Ethereum Virtual Machine requires at least minimal technical experience. The market currently lacks a real user-friendly alternative to the EVM.
Secondly, the EVM is not a purely decentralized system. You will find it interesting to know that roughly 25% of Ethereum nodes run on Amazon Web Services (AWS). What would happen if AWS discontinued its services or experienced a major outage?
Last but not least, let us mention, once again, the gas fees matter. As smart as the EVM system may be, it cannot help with the network’s data congestion. As already explained, congestion leads to an increase in transaction fees.
Of course, the EVM is not responsible for the high gas fees of Ethereum. While we wait for the famous ETH 2.0 upgrade, transaction costs remain at high levels compared to other chains.
The Ethereum Virtual Machine is the main substructure allowing this blockchain to operate every day. Many define Ethereum as “the future world computer,” so crypto enthusiasts need to know about the EVM.
The EVM is at the heart of function execution and smart contract deployment. It employs various extra functions to guarantee that users do not encounter difficulties on the distributed ledger.