Those who are involved in the IT sector would be quite familiar with the term “virtual machine” or its acronym, “VM”.
Those involved in cryptocurrency and blockchain development sector would likely hear more about the term “Ethereum Virtual Machine” or “EVM”.
Here is a brief guide which outlines the difference between VM and EVM.
What is a Virtual Machine?
In essence, a virtual machine is a rendition or emulation of a computer system that is run on another computer.
This provides the computer running the virtual machine with capabilities that can only be accessed by the computational architecture of the virtual machine.
If that was too confusing, let’s try again.
Imagine that you’re running a Windows 10 computer, but you need the capabilities of a Linux distro such as Ubuntu. Instead of resetting your Windows 10 system, install Ubuntu VM or VMware on your computer, and enjoy the capabilities of Ubuntu for as long as you run the VM.
Simply put, a VM provides your computer with functionalities that it otherwise could not have had in its current state. That is why VMs are mostly used by programmers to develop or code into programs that need custom and unique environments.
What is an Ethereum Virtual Machine?
Like a virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine is an environment that provides regular computers with the ability to develop their smart contracts under Ethereum in a decentralized and secure fashion.
Diving a little deeper, EVM is Ethereum’s Sandbox. This virtual stack provides programmers with the ability to code, develop and test their Ethereum smart contracts and applications from their own computer. As such, programmers and developers do not have to invest in a system that is solely dedicated to Ethereum. They can simply turn their existing computer into one that does the job perfectly – and switch it back to its previous state once they are done.
This means that EVM is similar to any other VM, with its dedicated environment or sandbox belonging to Ethereum.
How Does an Ethereum Virtual Machine Work?
EVM is a Turing complete environment run by a full Ethereum node. Since it is a sandbox, testing and development is done in an isolated manner, separated from the network.
EVM is also different from other VMs in the sense that it is completely decentralized and runs through a network of nodes . To minimize spam from bad actors, the EVM charges “Gas” to its users, which is the network fee paid in Ethereum for using EVM.
This provides a safe platform for programmers and developers to test and develop their Ethereum based smart contracts and applications by writing their code in the Ethereum programming language, Solidity.
Through this environment, EVM provides its users with a set of development functions that are ideal for programming in Ethereum.
That’s the difference between the VM and the EVM. To explore EVM further, install and run a full Ethereum node, test your skills under this Ethereum sandbox and have fun.