The blockchain industry has experienced significant growth in recent years. This is obvious with the emergence of alternative Layer-1 blockchains that offer faster and cheaper transactions compared to Ethereum. These alternative blockchains are EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible. Meaning, developers can easily deploy their Ethereum dApps on these chains.
History of EVM
The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) was proposed by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in 2014 as a way to execute smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. The EVM was designed to be a virtual machine that could execute code written in the Solidity programming language, which was specifically created for developing smart contracts on the Ethereum network.
The EVM was first introduced in the Ethereum Yellow Paper, which was published by Buterin in 2014. The Yellow Paper provided a technical specification for the Ethereum network, including the EVM, and laid the foundation for the development of the Ethereum blockchain.
Since its introduction, the EVM has undergone several updates and improvements to enhance its functionality and performance. One of the most significant updates was the introduction of the Byzantium hard fork in 2017, which included several improvements to the EVM, such as new opcodes and gas cost adjustments.
What is EVM Compatibility?
EVM compatibility refers to the ability of a blockchain platform to execute and run smart contracts written in the Solidity programming language used by Ethereum. An EVM-compatible blockchain can carry out exchanges on the Ethereum network and allows developers to launch their own coins and create decentralized applications using smart contracts.
EVM compatibility is important because it lowers the entry hurdles for application developers to implement smart contracts on these new chains. It helps in the interoperability and cooperation among layer-1 blockchains. This allows smart contracts to be built, copied, and pasted between chains with ease. This feature also increases the likelihood that new blockchains will succeed in luring developers to their ecosystem by speeding up the process of launching new Dapps and starting to gain market share on a completely untested network.
Some benefits of EVM-compatible blockchains include faster transaction times, lower transaction fees, and access to a vast user base that Ethereum has attracted. These benefits make it easier for developers to deploy their smart contracts and create decentralized applications that can run on these rival blockchains.
Overall, EVM compatibility is an essential characteristic for blockchain networks to gain user adoption and grow the development community.
Top 10 EVM Compatible Chains
Here is a breakdown of the top 10 EVM-compatible chains in 2023:
Binance Smart Chain (Now BNB Smart Chain)
BNB Smart Chain is one of the largest and most popular non-Ethereum blockchains with a TVL of more than $5 billion as of November 2022. It hosts more than 3,000 dApps, including the popular DEX Pancakeswap. BNB Smart Chain’s EVM compatibility makes it easy for developers to deploy their Ethereum dApps on the chain. However, concerns have been raised about its centralization, with only 21 active validators at any one time.
Emerald and Sapphire ParaTimes are both smart contract development environments with EVM compatibility on the Oasis Network. However, they have unique features that differentiate them from each other. Emerald ParaTime offers full EVM compatibility, scalability, low cost, cross-chain bridge, ParaTime Incentives, and Web3 Gateway. Sapphire ParaTime offers a confidential state, end-to-end encryption, confidential randomness, EVM compatibility, scalability, low cost, cross-chain bridge, Web3 Gateway, and more fine-grained confidentiality for dApp development. Emerald ParaTime is suitable for those who require EVM compatibility and scalability, while Sapphire ParaTime is suitable for those who require additional privacy features for their dApp development.
Avalanche is another popular blockchain. It can process more than 4500 transactions per second and functions as a blockchain and an infrastructure allowing individuals and enterprises to create their own custom public or private blockchains. Avalanche is EVM compatible, but it utilizes a separate consensus mechanism from Ethereum.
Cardano has a strong community and an increasing user base, and while it has lower TVL and TPS than other alternative Layer-1s, it launched an alpha version of a new, EVM-compatible Cardano sidechain in June 2022. By using this sidechain, developers can more easily migrate smart contracts to the Ethereum network and utilize EVM-compatible contracts directly on Cardano.
Solana is a strong competitor to Ethereum with high TPS and low gas fees. It was not initially EVM compatible, which made it difficult to deploy Ethereum dApps on Solana and vice versa. But in July 2021, Neon Labs deployed the EVM on Solana, significantly improving Ethereum interoperability and likely contributing to the increased number of dApps on the Solana blockchain.
Polygon is the most popular Ethereum Layer-2 blockchain. It mainly uses ZK-Rollups as a scaling solution and allows for the creation of individual, EVM-compatible sidechains via its popular SDK. Polygon also promotes decentralization by allowing anyone to stake its native $MATIC token to operate a node that validates transactions on the network.
Fantom is a high-performance EVM-compatible blockchain that boasts near-instant finality, allowing for rapid transactions and an efficient ecosystem. It supports a variety of DeFi applications, including DEXs, yield farming protocols, and lending platforms. The ecosystem on Fantom is growing rapidly, with many new projects being developed and launched on the chain.
Fantom has a unique consensus mechanism known as Lachesis. It utilizes Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs) to provide fast and secure transaction processing. This approach allows for faster transaction times and lower fees, as each transaction can be processed independently. The Fantom team has also developed a bridge that allows for easy interoperability between the Fantom and Ethereum ecosystems. Therefore, it is possible to use existing Ethereum tools and applications on the Fantom network.
Harmony is an EVM-compatible blockchain that focuses on speed and scalability. Harmony’s architecture is designed to support fast and secure transactions, with a consensus mechanism that uses both sharding and Proof-of-Stake (PoS). Harmony supports a range of DeFi applications, including lending and borrowing protocols, DEXs, and yield farming platforms.
Harmony is also focused on interoperability. Its bridge technology allows for the seamless transfer of assets and data between different networks. The bridge is designed to work with other blockchain ecosystems, including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon. Harmony’s emphasis on interoperability and scalability has made it an attractive option for developers looking to build decentralized applications that can scale quickly and easily.
Celo is an EVM-compatible blockchain that focuses on financial inclusion and mobile-first solutions. Celo’s ecosystem is accessible to everyone. Meanwhile, it focuses on serving the needs of underbanked and underserved populations. The Celo platform supports a variety of DeFi applications, including stablecoins, lending platforms, and payment networks.
Celo’s consensus mechanism uses PoS. The platform also includes built-in governance mechanisms. The mechanism allows stakeholders to vote on proposals and changes to the network. Celo is also highly interoperable. Its bridge technology allows for the transfer of assets and data between different blockchain ecosystems. This includes Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon.
Near is an EVM-compatible blockchain that focuses on providing a developer-friendly platform for building decentralized applications. Near’s ecosystem is fast and scalable, with a consensus mechanism that uses sharding and PoS. The platform supports a range of DeFi applications, including DEXs, lending and borrowing protocols, and yield farming platforms.
Near is also highly interoperable. Its bridge technology allows for the transfer of assets and data between different blockchain ecosystems. This includes Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon. Near’s focus on developer-friendliness and interoperability has made it an attractive option for building decentralized applications that can scale quickly and easily.
In conclusion, the rise of EVM-compatible chains has brought about a significant change in the blockchain industry. They are providing faster and cheaper alternatives to Ethereum. The ability to execute smart contracts written in Solidity programming language on different chains has brought about interoperability and cooperation among Layer-1 blockchains. EVM compatibility has also made it easier for developers to deploy their smart contracts and create decentralized applications that can run on rival blockchains. The top 10 EVM-compatible chains are Binance Smart Chain, Oasis Network, Avalanche, Cardano, Solana, Polygon, Fantom, Harmony, HECO, and Arbitrum. Each of these chains has unique features that make them stand out from one another, albeit sharing the common trait of EVM compatibility. As the blockchain industry continues to evolve, more EVM-compatible chains will likely emerge, further fueling the growth of this ecosystem.
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