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  • Writer's pictureClaudia Campisano

What is EVM in crypto?

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

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If you’ve been in the crypto world for a while, you’ve probably had to deal with the EVM.

This is an acronym that stands for Ethereum Virtual Machine, the beating heart of Ethereum’s protocol as well as the machine that makes all the operations work inside.

It aims to grant developers the ability to create smart contracts and dApps in the Solidity programming language.

This article will cover all you need to know to understand how EVM functions.


What is a Virtual Machine?

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a software environment that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. It's like a virtual computer that can execute smart contracts written in programming languages like Solidity.

When a smart contract is deployed on the Ethereum network, it's compiled into EVM bytecode. This bytecode is then executed by the EVM on each node in the network, which ensures that the contract is executed consistently and correctly across all nodes.

The EVM is a key component of the Ethereum ecosystem, as it enables developers to write decentralized applications (dApps) that can execute complex logic and interact with the blockchain.


An introduction to the Ethereum Virtual Machine

The EVM is the runtime environment that deploys and executes smart contracts. It is similar to JVM (Java Virtual Machine), and it provides an abstraction of computation and storage. Imagine it as an isolated global environment containing millions of executable objects and their related data store. Its execution processes are limited to a finite number of steps by the amount of gas available for any given smart contract; for this reason, it is considered a quasi-Turing complete state machine.

For a more complete explanation, it should be noted that Ethereum doesn’t have an individual CPU and isn’t considered a computer. It is distributed worldwide with computers running the EVM simultaneously. The EVM functions like a virtual CPU running inside a specific standalone program called Go Ethereum or Geth. We can say that the EVM is not a piece of hardware installed inside a machine running the programs. It is more like a software CPU that executes the bytecode (a compiled form of smart contracts). If you run Geth on your machine, you become a part of the Ethereum network.

Its architecture is stack-based, working in 256bits to facilitate hashing and elliptic curve operations.

It is made of:

  • An immutable program code ROM, loaded with the bytecode of the smart contract to be executed;

  • A zero-initialized volatile memory;

  • A permanent storage based on the Ethereum state;

  • A set of environment variables and data available during execution.

Moreover, the EVM has no scheduling capacity because execution ordering is organized externally to it – Ethereum clients run through verified block transactions to determine which smart contracts need executing and in which order. “Mastering Ethereum”

For this reason, the Ethereum world computer is single-threaded and completely virtual.

The EVM instruction set offers these operations:

  • Arithmetic and bitwise logic operations;

  • Execution context inquiries;

  • Stack, memory, and storage access;

  • Control flow operations;

  • Logging, calling and other operators.

It also has access to account and block information such as block number, balance, gas price and so on.

The EVM requires that one has access to any network node to be able to execute the desired commands and create new tokens without any difficulties. In other words, the Ethereum Virtual Machine ensures that all transactions and smart contracts are executed in the correct and expected manner as desired by the smart contract code. This plays a crucial role in the entire Ethereum ecosystem facilitating the creation of a wide range of dApps.

For detailed information, visit and read the book” Mastering Ethereum”.

Here you can delve more into what is an Ethereum Virtual Machine.


What are the Benefits of EVM crypto?

Ethereum Virtual Machine brings with it a lot of benefits, such as:

  • Execute untrusted code without risking data. EVM guarantees that its computations will not affect your data or programs in any way; it is isolated from the other parts of the system.

  • Deterministic processing: Smart contracts written on EVM have access to all of Ethereum’s states at any given time, allowing for processing to happen deterministically. For example, one cannot make an infinite loop in EVM by calling the same function twice.

  • Can run complex smart contracts.

  • Distributed consensus.

  • Resilient against failure.

  • Easy to write.

Here you can read more about EVM characteristics.


What are the drawbacks of Ethereum virtual machine?

Of course, it also has negative aspects that can be identified with:

High cost of gas and storing data

Firstly the gas, the number of ETH fees you need to pay to run a smart contract. It depends on the difficulty of the transactions, in fact, the more difficult the computation for a transaction, the higher its gas cost will be. You need to pay attention to the congestion of the network. Secondly, the high cost of storing data on the blockchain could take up more than 3TB.

Technical expertise is required

Writing smart contracts and using EVM requires technical expertise. It’s a Turing-complete system which allows developers to write scripts in any programming language they wish. This can be excellent or disastrous, depending on the intention behind the code being written. Programming languages are not inherently good or bad in their nature; it all depends on who is using them and for what purpose.


Final thoughts

EVM is one of the biggest projects in the world of cryptocurrencies. It paves the way for many future developments and numerous dApps.

EVM network communication steps
EVM network communication steps

There is a long list of projects that have launched an EVM-compatible layer1 blockchain, such as Binance Smart Chain, Fantom, Avalanche, Polygon, Cardano and many more. They offer greater speed and sometimes low transaction costs compared to Ethereum. The EVM-compatible chains help developers to migrate smart contracts without having to write the code from scratch again.


List of Ethereum virtual machine Networks

Ethereum Mainnet Ethereum Testnet (ROP, RIN, GOR, KOV) Expanse Network Ethereum Classic Ubiq Network Metadium Mainnet / Testnet ThaiChain ELA-ETH Sidechain RSK Network Mainnet / Testnet GoodData Telos EVM Mainnet Telos EVM Testnet XinFin CoinEx Smart Chain Zyx Mainnet Binance Smart Chain Ontology Mainnet EOS Mainnet Ellaism OKExChain Mainnet / Testnet Optimistic Ethereum SoterOne Mainnet GateChain GeneChain PrimusChain TomoChain (TOMO) xDAI Chain (xDAI/STAKE) Velas EVM Mainnet ThunderCore EtherLite Chain Huobi ECO Chain Polygon Mainnet (Matic Network) Lightstreams Mainnet / Testnet

BitTorrent Chain Arbitrum One Permission Energy Web Chain Fantom Opera Boba Network KCC Mainnet / Testnet Shiden Theta Mainnet / Testnet PulseChain Mainnet Rupaya Tao Network cheapETH Callisto Mainnet / Testnet Acala Network Wanchain Mainnet / Testnet Ambros Chain PulseChain Lucky Network MathChain Popcateum Mainnet HALO Mainnet Moonbeam Moonriver Moonrock Moonshadow Catecoin Chain Teslafunds EtherGem Edgeware Ecoball IoTeX Network Syscoin

EraSwap Smart Bitcoin Cash MetaDot Ethersocial Network Celo Mainnet Athereum Avalanche Mainnet / Fuji Testnet Polyjuice QuarkChain Mainnet / Devnet Akroma ARTIS Polis Mainnet / Testnet Etho Protocol Xerom Auxilium Network Aquachain Joys Digital Mainnet Neon EVM OneLedger IPOS Network Aurora MainNet / Testnet / BetaNet Harmony Mainnet / Testnet Pirl Palm Mainnet / Testnet xDAI Chain Newton Sakura Clover


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