A Guide to Ethereum-Compatible Blockchains

Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) chains offer a seamless way for developers to create and deploy decentralized applications in a familiar environment as on Ethereum. By being compatible with the EVM, they are interoperable with other EVM-compatible blockchains.

Considering that their total value locked (TVL) surpasses $90 billion, EVM chains are becoming increasingly popular among users. In fact, they account for most of the TVL in the $106 billion decentralized finance (DeFi) market.

Key Takeaways

  • EVM chains offer a standardized environment for the development and deployment of decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts.
  • With significant popularity among users, EVM-compatible blockchains account for the majority of the decentralized finance (DeFi) total value locked (TVL), with a TVL of over $90 billion (as of May 21, 2024).
  • Top EVM chains include Ethereum, Tron, BNB Chain, Arbitrum, and Blast.

What Is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)?

DefinitionThe Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is the computation engine of the Ethereum blockchain.
Execution Of Smart ContractsThe EVM executes smart contracts on Ethereum and other EVM-compatible blockchains.
Programming LanguageContracts are written in the Solidity programming language and then translated into bytecode for the EVM to understand.
Security And IsolationEach contract runs in its own isolated environment, maintaining network integrity and offering robust security.
Transparent VerificationAll actions are verifiable on the blockchain, ensuring a transparent and traceable ecosystem.
The key aspects and definitions of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)

The Ethereum Virtual Machine serves as the computation engine of the Ethereum network, enabling smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps) to be deployed and run on top of the blockchain and other EVM-compatible chains.

EVM-Compatible Blockchains Explained

EVM chains: The Ethereum Virtual Machine
The Ethereum Virtual Machine (source)

EVM chains are blockchain networks that are compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. This compatibility makes them a part of the broader EVM ecosystem, allowing them to leverage the same tools and programming languages used for Ethereum. Essentially, these chains help developers build and deploy dApps and smart contracts with ease.

Developer BenefitsEVM chains allow developers to utilize familiar tools as on Ethereum, as well as create and (re)deploy decentralized applications seamlessly from other EVM blockchains.
User ExperienceA similar user experience across EVM platforms.
The key features of EVM chains

As a significant development in blockchain technology, EVM chains grant developers and users access to a standardized and reliable environment that encourages the adoption and growth of decentralized applications and smart contracts.

This standardization not only benefits the development process but also fosters a more intuitive and secure experience for users. In fact, as they are all compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine, EVM chains are interoperable with each other. For that reason, they provide an enhanced user experience with seamless cross-chain transfers.

Which EVM-Compatible Blockchains Are the Most Popular Among Users?

Several EVM blockchains have become popular among users. Examples of such include:

  • Ethereum: As the pioneer, it provides a comprehensive ecosystem for decentralized applications and services, as well as the largest TVL and most established blockchain among all EVM chains.
  • BNB Chain: Known for its efficiency, it accounts for a significant portion of DeFi and DEX activities.
  • Polygon: This Layer 2 solution enhances Ethereum’s scalability and throughput by processing transactions off-chain.
  • Avalanche: Stands out with its unique consensus protocol, with its C-Chain being compatible (but not identical) with the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
  • Optimism, Boba Network, and Arbitrum: These Layer 2 solutions help scale Ethereum through rollups, allowing for innovation in the dApp space and enabling users to take advantage of fast and inexpensive transactions on the second layer.

The TVL of Ethereum-Compatible Blockchains

Ethereum-compatible blockchains, collectively, have secured over $90 billion in total value locked. The EVM chains with the largest TVLs include:

  • Ethereum: $63.495 billion TVL
  • Tron: $9.166 billion TVL
  • BNB Chain: $5.63 billion TVL
  • Arbitrum: $2.99 billion TVL
  • Blast: $1.874 billion TVL

In comparison to these figures, Solana, a popular non-EVM Layer 1 blockchain, features a TVL of nearly $5 billion (as of May 21, 2024).

What Are Some Examples of Non-EVM Chains?

Below, you can find a list with examples of non-EVM chains:

  • Bitcoin: Originally created to facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) financial transactions between parties, Bitcoin is not compatible with the EVM.
  • Cardano: Cardano’s smart contracts are run on a distinct platform named Plutus, separate from the EVM framework.
  • Solana: With an emphasis on quick, inexpensive transactions and reduced latency, Solana is a high-throughput Layer 1 chain that does not work with the EVM.
  • Aptos: Aptos’ scalable, safe, reliable, and upgradeable network is not compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
  • XRP (Ripple): Built to facilitate speedy and cost-efficient cross-border payments, Ripple’s blockchain network is not compatible with the EVM.

The Verdict

EVM chains enable smart contract functionality and seamless dApp deployment with cross-chain interoperability that enhances the Ethereum ecosystem.

They also streamline the development process with the same programming tools and languages used on Ethereum, encouraging efficient application portability and deployment. At the same time, EVM-compatible blockchains deliver a uniform user experience across different platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which are the leading EVM-compatible blockchains?

Blockchain platforms like Ethereum, BNB Chain, Avalanche, Polygon, and Fantom are among the top EVM-compatible chains. They are known for their robustness, speed, and their ecosystems’ growth potential.

How can I connect my wallet to an EVM chain?

To connect a crypto wallet to an EVM blockchain, one needs to:

1. Open the wallet app, such as MetaMask.
2. Navigate to the network selection.
3. Click on “Add Network” or select the specific EVM chain if already listed.
4. Enter the network details, including the URLs and the chain IDs.

What is the difference between EVM chains and non-EVM chains?

Here are the fundamental differences between EVM chains and non-EVM chains:

EVM chains are compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), allowing Ethereum’s smart contracts and dApps to function in their networks.

• Non-EVM chains have unique protocols with distinct virtual machines (or no virtual machines), possibly enhancing scalability or interoperability, but without EVM compatibility.

What Layer 1 blockchains are compatible with the EVM?

Layer 1 blockchains with EVM compatibility include EthereumBNB ChainAvalanche, and Fantom. These blockchains validate and finalize transactions within their own networks while maintaining compatibility with the EVM.

Is MetaMask integrated across various EVM chains?

MetaMask can operate across any EVM chain by adjusting to the chain’s network settings. Users must manually configure MetaMask by inputting the chain’s specific RPC information and network details (unless it is already listed in the app).

What are the key characteristics of EVM-compatible blockchains?

The key features and characteristics of EVM-compatible blockchains include:

• Smart contract execution using Ethereum’s programming language and logic.
• A vibrant ecosystem with numerous interoperable blockchains.
• Easy dApp development and (re)deployment across EVM chains.

Seasoned crypto, DeFi, NFT and overall web3 content writer with 9+ years of experience. Published in Forbes, Entrepreneur, VentureBeat, IBTimes, CoinTelegraph and Hackernoon.

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