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Sep 29, 2023
Educational
What is an EVM Compatible Chain?
by Orderly Network
what-is-an-evm-compatible-chain

Innovation and compatibility have become critical factors for the growth and adoption of blockchain networks. As blockchains continue to evolve, one term that has gained prominence is “EVM-compatible chain.” While the answer might seem obvious — blockchain networks that are compatible with the Ethereum blockchain — there is more to EVM compatibility. What exactly is an EVM-compatible chain, and why is it significant to the growth of the crypto space and decentralized applications (dApps) in general?

In this article, we delve into the concept of EVM-compatible chains and explore their role in the blockchain ecosystem.

Understanding the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)

Before we dive into the concept of EVM-compatible chains, let’s first grasp what the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is. The EVM is the runtime environment that executes smart contracts on the Ethereum network. It is a crucial component of the Ethereum ecosystem, responsible for processing and executing code written in Ethereum’s native programming language, Solidity.

The EVM operates as a decentralized, turing-complete virtual machine, meaning it can execute any computational task as long as it doesn’t exceed gas limits, ensuring security and predictability. Ethereum’s success largely stems from its ability to enable the creation of decentralized applications (dApps) through smart contracts executed on the EVM.

Read More: What is the EVM in Blockchain Technology

What is an EVM Compatible Chain?

EVM compatibility has become an essential feature for blockchain networks, as it allows developers to leverage the existing Ethereum ecosystem and tools to build and deploy their applications on multiple chains, improving scalability and reducing congestion on the Ethereum network.

Therefore, EVM-compatible chains are blockchain networks that adhere to the same set of standards and protocols as the Ethereum blockchain. Being EVM compatible means that these blockchain networks can run Ethereum-based smart contracts and DApps without requiring significant modifications. This compatibility is achieved by following the same programming languages, transaction formats, and consensus mechanisms as Ethereum, thus enabling builders to easily port their Ethereum applications to these compatible chains.

Key Characteristics of EVM Compatible Chains

Having explained what an EVM-compatible chain is, let’s now dive into the key characteristics of these blockchains. The features of EVM-compatible chains include:

Compatibility with Ethereum’s EVM

This is the most basic requirement for all EVM-compatible blockchains. EVM-compatible chains are specifically engineered to be compatible with Ethereum’s EVM. This means they adhere to the same standards, rules, and bytecode execution mechanisms as Ethereum. As a result, smart contracts written in Ethereum’s native programming language, Solidity, can be deployed and executed on these chains with minimal modifications.

Interoperability

EVM-compatible chains aim to foster interoperability within the blockchain space. They allow for seamless communication and interaction with the Ethereum mainnet, creating a network of interconnected blockchains. This interoperability opens up various possibilities for cross-chain transactions, asset transfers, and data sharing.

Scalability

Scalability is a critical characteristic of EVM-compatible chains. Many of these chains are designed to address the scalability issues that Ethereum has faced, particularly regarding transaction speed and cost. By offering faster transaction processing and lower fees, these chains cater to the growing demand for efficient blockchain solutions.

Developer-Friendly Environment

These chains often provide a familiar and developer-friendly environment. Developers who are already experienced with Ethereum find it relatively easy to adapt to EVM-compatible chains due to their shared programming languages and tools. This familiarity encourages more developers to explore and build on these chains.

Comparing Notable EVM-Compatible Blockchains

Let’s explore some notable blockchains that are compatible with the Ethereum network.

### Arbitrum Approach

Arbitrum is an EVM-compatible Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum. It employs an optimistic roll-up approach, which means that it optimistically processes transactions off-chain and settles them on the Ethereum mainnet. This approach significantly improves transaction throughput and reduces gas fees while maintaining compatibility with existing Ethereum smart contracts.

Characteristics:

Scalability: Arbitrum is designed to address Ethereum’s scalability limitations by processing transactions off-chain. This results in faster confirmation times and lower transaction costs. Ethereum Compatibility: Developers can deploy their Ethereum smart contracts on Arbitrum with minimal modifications, making it an attractive option for DeFi projects and dApp developers. Interoperability: Arbitrum is fully interoperable with the Ethereum mainnet, allowing for easy asset transfers and interaction between the two networks. Security: The optimistic rollup design ensures the security of Arbitrum transactions by leveraging Ethereum’s security model.

Optimism (Optimistic Ethereum)

Approach

Optimism, also known as Optimistic Ethereum, is another Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum. It employs the optimistic roll-up approach to enhance Ethereum’s scalability and throughput. Similar to Arbitrum, Optimism processes transactions off-chain and submits them to the Ethereum mainnet when necessary.

Characteristics:

Scalability: Optimism aims to provide high throughput and faster confirmation times for Ethereum transactions, making it suitable for DeFi protocols and applications.

Full EVM Compatibility: Optimism is fully compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), allowing developers to migrate their existing Ethereum dApps and smart contracts with minimal changes.

Decentralization: While offering scalability, Optimism maintains a focus on decentralization and security by leveraging Ethereum’s security model.

Gas Fee Reduction: By processing most transactions off-chain, Optimism significantly reduces gas fees, making it cost-effective for users and developers.

BNB Chain

Approach

The BNB Chain is a separate blockchain developed by Binance, designed for both smart contracts and fast, low-cost transactions. It uses a delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism.

Characteristics:

Scalability: BSC offers high throughput and lower transaction fees compared to the Ethereum mainnet, making it a popular choice for DeFi projects and dApps.

EVM Compatibility: BNB Chain is EVM-compatible, allowing developers to easily port Ethereum-based applications to the BNB Chain network.

Interoperability: BNB Chain’s cross-chain capabilities enable assets to move between the BSC network and other blockchains, enhancing liquidity.

Binance Ecosystem: The BNB Chain is integrated with Binance’s extensive ecosystem, providing users with access to various services, including centralized exchange functionality.

These are just a few examples of notable EVM-compatible chains, each offering unique features and capabilities to address the needs of developers and users within the blockchain ecosystem.

Why EVM Compatibility is Important to Builders

EVM compatibility plays a crucial role in the decisions made by project developers in the blockchain space. Understanding EVM compatibility and its significance to developers is essential for anyone involved in blockchain development or interested in the technology. Let’s explore how EVM compatibility influences project developers:

Accessibility to a Broad Developer Community

EVM compatibility allows developers to tap into a large and well-established Ethereum developer community. Ethereum has been at the forefront of blockchain development, and its ecosystem boasts a wealth of resources, documentation, and community support. Developers who are already familiar with Ethereum can easily transition to EVM-compatible chains, reducing the learning curve and accelerating development.

Code Reusability

EVM-compatible chains enable developers to reuse their existing Ethereum smart contracts with minimal modifications. This is a significant advantage, as it saves time and effort, allowing developers to leverage their previous work while exploring new opportunities on compatible chains. The ability to reuse code contributes to faster development and deployment.

Interoperability

EVM compatibility fosters interoperability within the blockchain ecosystem. Developers can create applications that interact seamlessly with both the Ethereum mainnet and compatible chains. This interoperability opens up possibilities for cross-chain transactions, asset transfers, and data sharing, expanding the scope of projects and enhancing their utility.

Scalability Solutions

Many EVM-compatible chains offer scalability solutions that address Ethereum’s limitations, such as slow transaction confirmation times and high gas fees. For developers building applications that demand high throughput and low latency, these chains provide a practical solution.

Orderly Omnichain — Starting the journey with EVM Compatibility

We recently launched the Orderly Omnichain testnet which serves as the first step in our quest to unify liquidity across all chains. As a first step, Orderly’s innovative infrastructure has now been expanded to EVM ecosystem, enabling builders to deliver user-centric dApp products.

Orderly Omnichain represents the ongoing evolution of Orderly Network that aims to unify liquidity across all chains via a chain-agnostic trading infrastructure. With Orderly Network now compatible with the EVM, EVM ecosystem builders can now leverage Orderly Omnichain to deliver DEXs (equipped with perps and spot trading functionality) via our low-latency and shared liquidity CLOB trading infrastructure.

In essence, a Polygon trader can engage in transactions with counterparts on different chains such as Arbitrum or AVAX, all without departing from the Polygon network. No bridging of funds is necessary, eliminating additional intricacies. Simply visit your preferred dApp(front-end broker), connect your wallet, and initiate trading.

We have recently announced partnerships with numerous DeFi ecosystem giants (spanning across protocols, infrastructures, networks, and communities) in line with our omnichain strategy. Join the Orderly community to be a part of our journey.

See more about the Orderly Omnichain Testnet: Orderly Omnichain High-Level Architecture

### Conclusion EVM-compatible chains are a significant advancement in blockchain technology. They provide a bridge to Ethereum’s ecosystem while offering solutions to critical issues such as scalability, interoperability, and costs. These chains play a crucial role in the ever-expanding world of blockchain technology, providing a foundation for the development of innovative decentralized applications across various industries. As the blockchain space continues to evolve, EVM-compatible chains are expected to remain at the forefront, fostering interoperability and furthering the adoption of blockchain technology.

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