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Crypto Glossary/Ethereum Virtual Machine

Ethereum Virtual Machine

Understand the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and its role in running smart contracts on Ethereum's blockchain platform.

TLDR - Demystifying the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a powerful, sandboxed virtual stack embedded within each Ethereum node, executing smart contracts. By using the EVM, developers can create applications that leverage the power of blockchain technology for diverse purposes, from digital currency to supply chain tracking. Understanding its nuances could be instrumental for those in blockchain development or cryptocurrency investments.

A. An Introduction to the Ethereum Virtual Machine

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is the engine that powers the Ethereum network, one of the pioneering platforms in the world of blockchain and decentralized finance. The EVM executes smart contracts - self-executing contracts where the agreement's terms are written into lines of code. These smart contracts facilitate and verify transactions on the Ethereum network, forming a core part of its operation.

B. Blockchain and the EVM

Blockchain, the technology underpinning Ethereum and its EVM, is a distributed ledger that securely records transactions across many computers, thereby preventing any single party from altering previous transactions. In Ethereum's case, the EVM adds the unique functionality of running the Turing-complete programming language, allowing developers to create smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps).

C. Contracts: Smart and Self-executing

Smart contracts are computer protocols that facilitate, verify, or enforce the performance of a contract. They're programmable scripts stored on the blockchain that execute functions when predetermined conditions are met. The EVM is what enables the execution of these smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. It reads and executes smart contracts' bytecode, which is compiled from a higher-level language like Solidity or Vyper.

D. Decentralization: The Promise of Ethereum and the EVM

Decentralization is a fundamental aspect of Ethereum and the EVM. Decentralization means that no single entity has control over the entire network. It's facilitated through Ethereum's consensus mechanism, currently transitioning from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS), where validators replace miners for maintaining network security and integrity.

E. Ethereum's Turing-Completeness

A crucial feature of the EVM is its Turing-completeness. It means the EVM's programming languages (like Solidity) are versatile enough to solve any computation problem, given enough resources. This property is essential for building complex smart contracts and DApps on Ethereum's platform.

F. Fueling Ethereum Transactions: Gas

On the Ethereum network, computational operations aren't free - they cost gas. Gas is a measure of computational effort in Ethereum. Each operation, from simple transfers to smart contract interactions, requires a specific amount of gas, paid in Ether (ETH), Ethereum's native cryptocurrency.

G. Gas Limit and Gas Price

The gas limit is the maximum amount of gas a user is willing to spend on a transaction. The gas price, meanwhile, is the amount of Ether a user is willing to spend per unit of gas. Both factors are crucial in determining transaction priority on the Ethereum network.


The Ethereum Virtual Machine, a fundamental component of the Ethereum ecosystem, is a robust and versatile environment that supports the execution of smart contracts and DApps, bringing to life the promise of decentralized finance. Understanding the EVM's workings is key to comprehending Ethereum's potential and its role in the broader blockchain industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the Ethereum Virtual Machine?

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a blockchain-based software platform that runs smart contracts on the Ethereum network.

Q2: What is Ethereum virtual machine explained in simple terms?

The EVM is like a global supercomputer; it's the environment in which all Ethereum accounts and smart contracts exist. Its main function is to update the state of these smart contracts as they interact and execute functions.

Q3: How does the EVM work with smart contracts?

Smart contracts are lines of code that live on the Ethereum blockchain. The EVM reads and executes this code when the contract is invoked by a transaction or message call.

Q4: What is the relationship between gas and the EVM?

Gas is used to allocate resources of the EVM so that decentralized applications running on the network don't consume more resources than they're allowed. It's a way to measure and limit computational work and storage in Ethereum.

Q5: Why is understanding the EVM important?

Understanding the EVM is crucial for Ethereum developers and users alike. Developers need to understand it to write efficient smart contracts, and users need to understand it to use Ethereum applications responsibly and effectively.

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