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Uncover the Expansive Ecosystem of EVM-Compatible Chains


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The advent of blockchain technology has changed the way we approach transparency, security, and decentralization in digital interactions.

However, in this dynamic landscape, as technology evolves, some challenges have emerged, particularly in the context of the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain – scalability, interoperability, and transaction speed.

Addressing these critical issues is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible blockchain, creating new pathways for a future where blockchain becomes a cornerstone of our digital lives.

These chains represent the next level of blockchain technology, opening new horizons of scalability, interoperability, and transaction efficiency. They are the bedrock for wider adoption and fuller awareness of technology.

We delved into the discussion with Alex Shevchenko, co-founder and CEO of Aurora Labs, the team behind the EVM-compatible Aurora chain built on the NEAR protocol, to explore the massive implications of these chains.

From their real-world applications, their safeguards against vulnerabilities, to their role in the decentralized financial (DeFi) ecosystem, this conversation navigates the multifaceted terrain of EVM-compliant chains.

Alex, can you elaborate on the primary advantages of EVM-compliant chains over other blockchain platforms and how do you translate those benefits into real-world applications? How do these chains ensure security against vulnerabilities such as the 51% attack?

like: EVM-compliant chains have proven their credibility within the blockchain space largely due to their interoperability, which means they can communicate and exchange data effectively with other platforms.

This quality is a boon for developers, as it allows them to benefit from an extensive ecosystem of development tools and services. These include Graph and Covalent for querying blockchain data, and frameworks such as Truffle and the Open Zeppelin SDK that provide the building blocks for blockchain applications.

A 51% attack refers to an event where a single entity controls more than half of the network’s mining power. While such an occurrence is theoretically possible, many EVM-compliant chains use Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms, which makes such an attack not economically feasible.

With PoS, control of the network is proportional to the number of tokens held, which means that an attacker would need to obtain the majority of the tokens — an expensive endeavor.

How do EVM-compatible chains handle scalability and large transaction volumes? How does this scalability facilitate the creation of dapps?

like: One of the limitations inherent in EVM-compatible threads is the concurrent design, which means that transactions are processed sequentially, which limits the number of transactions that can be processed per second.

However, scalability solutions have been developed to address this problem. For example, multiple EVMs can run concurrently, each processing a subset of transactions to increase overall throughput.

Scalability directly affects the creation of dapps. More scalable chains can support dapps with more users and more transactions. Notably, many tools and frameworks (such as the Aurora cloud solution, for example) have been developed to simplify the creation of scalable dapps.

Meanwhile, services like Infura and Alchemy make it easier for developers to access the chain, enabling them to focus on developing applications rather than infrastructure.

Balancing privacy and transparency seems difficult. How do EVM-compliant chains address privacy concerns and protect user data while maintaining transparency and immutability?

like: Yes, finding the right balance between privacy and transparency is a challenge unique to public blockchains.

On the one hand, the transparent nature of blockchains allows for public scrutiny and accountability, but on the other hand, it can expose sensitive user data.

Zero Knowledge (ZK) technology is an emerging solution to this conundrum. ZK proofs allow one party to prove to the other that they know certain information without revealing the information itself. This technology enables private transactions on public blockchains.

It is also worth noting that cooperation with regulators and financial institutions is essential to creating a regulatory environment conducive to broader and safer use of cryptocurrencies.

Can you discuss a role Smart contracts What are the EVM-compatible threads and how can developers improve them for performance and cost efficiency?

like: Smart contracts, self-executing contracts with the terms of agreement written directly into the code, are the cornerstone of EVM-compliant chains. They allow developers to create applications that interact with the blockchain in a decentralized and trustless way.

However, since every operation on the blockchain requires gas (a measure of computational effort), it is critical for developers to optimize their smart contracts for performance and cost-effectiveness.

In terms of optimization, developers can focus on a number of areas. One is to reduce the amount of storage used under the contract, as storage operations are among the most expensive in terms of gas costs.

Another is to reduce contract complexity, as more complex contracts require more gas. Reducing the number of outside contract calls can also result in significant gas savings.

How do EVM-compatible chains impact the DeFi ecosystem, and what opportunities do they present to developers and users?

like: DeFi is arguably one of the most revolutionary developments to emerge from blockchain technology. It refers to the use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to recreate and improve traditional financial systems.

With DeFi, transactions and financial services can be conducted peer-to-peer, without the need for intermediaries such as banks or brokers.

EVM-compliant chains are a boon to the DeFi ecosystem. Since DeFi projects are mostly built on Ethereum, the ability for chains to be EVM-compliant means that these projects can be moved around with relative ease.

For developers, this opens up a world of possibilities for experimentation and innovation within the DeFi space. For users, this means increased access to a wider range of DeFi applications, with improved scalability and lower transaction fees.

For starters, how can the accessibility and usability of blockchain, EVM, and smart contracts be improved?

like: When introducing beginners to blockchain technology, the steep learning curve can be intimidating. For example, we at Aurora Labs have integrated protocol-level meta-transactions and account abstractions into their systems to make the process more accessible to newcomers.

Meta transactions allow users to interact with the blockchain without having to hold any cryptocurrency themselves as transaction fees can be paid by third parties. On the other hand, account abstraction simplifies interaction with the blockchain by enabling smart contracts to pay for their execution.

In this way, users can interact with dapps without understanding the intricacies of gas fees and other blockchain mechanics.

How do EVM-compliant chains address interoperability with other blockchain networks, and why is this important for broader adoption of blockchain technology?

like: In the world of blockchain, interoperability refers to the ability of different blockchain networks to share and verify information with each other. Given the variety of blockchains that exist today, interoperability is essential to creating a unified and efficient ecosystem.

In the context of EVM-compliant chains, interoperability is typically achieved through protocols known as “bridging”. Bridges are basically programs that allow the transfer of information and tokens between different blockchain networks. They can be thought of as “lines of communication between the two blockchains”.

Aurora Labs has developed its own bridge – the Rainbow Bridge, which is a protocol that facilitates communication between Ethereum and Aurora / NEAR. It is completely permissionless and untrusted, which means anyone can use it without needing any special permissions, and without having to trust any third party.

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