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Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)

Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)

Prathamesh Patil's photo
Prathamesh Patil
·Feb 24, 2023·

6 min read

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Table of contents

  • What Is EVM??
  • Terms of EVM
  • Conclusion

Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a critical component of the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem. It is a virtual machine that executes code written in the Solidity programming language, which is used to create smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. The EVM is designed to be a secure and reliable execution environment that ensures that the code written in Solidity is executed consistently and accurately across all nodes on the Ethereum network. In this article, we will explore the Ethereum Virtual Machine and its key terms.

What Is EVM??

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is the runtime environment for smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. It is a powerful and flexible platform that allows developers to create decentralized applications (DApps) that can be executed in a trustless and transparent manner.

The EVM is a sandboxed environment, meaning that it runs each smart contract in its own isolated virtual machine. This isolation ensures that the execution of one smart contract cannot interfere with the execution of another, providing a high level of security and reliability. The EVM also provides a gas mechanism that ensures that the execution of a smart contract is properly incentivized and that the network resources are not misused.

Smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain are written in the Solidity programming language, which is a high-level language similar to JavaScript. Solidity code is compiled into bytecode, which is then executed by the EVM. The bytecode consists of a series of opcodes, which are the basic building blocks of the EVM.

The EVM operates on a stack-based architecture, meaning that data is pushed onto a stack and then popped off for execution. The EVM also provides access to memory and storage, which can be used to store and manipulate data within a smart contract.

One of the key features of the EVM is its ability to execute complex and arbitrary computations. This capability is made possible by the Turing completeness of the EVM, which means that any computation that can be performed by a Turing machine can also be performed by the EVM. This makes the EVM a powerful platform for building complex decentralized applications.

The EVM is also highly adaptable, and new features and optimizations can be added to it through a process known as a hard fork. Hard forks are major changes to the Ethereum protocol that require all users to upgrade to a new version of the software. The EVM has undergone several hard forks since its inception, each of which has introduced new features and improvements to the platform.

In summary, the Ethereum Virtual Machine is a powerful and flexible platform that enables developers to build decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain. Its sandboxed environment, gas mechanism, and stack-based architecture provide a high level of security and reliability, while its Turing completeness and adaptability make it a powerful tool for building complex DApps.


Terms of EVM

Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are self-executing programs that run on the Ethereum blockchain. They are written in Solidity, a high-level programming language, and are stored on the blockchain. Smart contracts are used to automate transactions and enforce the terms of an agreement between two parties without the need for intermediaries.

Gas

Gas is a measure of the computational resources required to execute a smart contract. It is used to determine the transaction fees paid by users to execute a smart contract on the Ethereum network. The gas price is set by the user, and the gas limit is set by the Ethereum network.

Gas Price

The gas price is the amount of Ether (ETH) that a user is willing to pay per unit of gas. A higher gas price will result in faster execution of the smart contract, but it will also cost more. The gas price is determined by the user and is typically measured in Gwei, which is a unit of Ether.

Gas Limit

The gas limit is the maximum amount of gas that a user is willing to pay for a smart contract execution. If the execution requires more gas than the gas limit, the transaction will fail, and any gas used up to that point will be lost.

State Machines

A state machine, also known as a finite state machine, is a mathematical model used to represent systems that can exist in a finite number of states and transition between them based on a set of defined rules. It is a type of automaton that can be used to model a wide range of systems, including software programs, electronic circuits, and mechanical systems.

In a state machine, the system is modeled as a set of states, and the transitions between these states are represented by a set of rules. The rules define the conditions under which the system can transition from one state to another. When an event occurs, the system transitions to a new state based on the current state and the conditions defined by the rules.

Opcode

An opcode is a code instruction that is executed by the Ethereum Virtual Machine. These instructions perform operations such as adding two numbers, transferring Ether between accounts, and storing data on the blockchain. Solidity code is compiled into opcodes that are executed by the EVM.

Stack

The stack is a data structure used by the EVM to store and manipulate data during the execution of a smart contract. It is a Last In First Out (LIFO) data structure, which means that the last item added to the stack is the first item to be removed.

Memory

The memory is an array of bytes used by the EVM to store data during the execution of a smart contract. Memory is limited in size and must be allocated by the smart contract.

Storage

The storage is a persistent key-value store used by the EVM to store data on the blockchain. Each smart contract has its own storage space, which can be accessed and modified by the smart contract. Storage is expensive in terms of gas, so smart contracts should minimize their use of storage.


Conclusion

In our next article, we will be diving into the programming side of things with an introduction to Solidity - the programming language used to write smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. However, before we begin, it's important to note that an understanding of JavaScript is required to follow along with the examples and concepts we'll be exploring. Familiarity with web development frameworks like Next.js or React.js will also be helpful in building frontend for decentralized applications. So, be sure to brush up on your JavaScript skills and get ready to take your first steps into the exciting world of blockchain programming!

I hope the information provided was helpful and informative. If you have any further questions or need clarification, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me through Twitter or LinkedIn. It would be great to connect and continue the conversation.

👋Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Until next time!

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