The Role of Virtual Machines in Smart Contract Blockchains

by Chaindustry 23rd October, 2023
4 mins read

Smart contract blockchains have taken the world of technology by storm, and their role in various industries is continually expanding. These decentralized platforms enable the execution of self-executing contracts, ensuring transparency and security. However, behind the scenes, virtual machines are pivotal in making these smart contracts a reality.


Smart contract blockchains like Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain rely on virtual machines to function effectively. In this article, we will delve into the essential role that virtual machines play in enabling the execution of smart contracts, the benefits they offer, and the challenges they face.

Understanding Smart Contract Blockchains

Before we explore the role of virtual machines, it's crucial to understand the concept of smart contract blockchains. Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code. These contracts run on blockchain technology, providing transparency and eliminating the need for intermediaries.

The Need for Virtual Machines

Virtual machines (VMs) serve as the backbone of smart contract blockchains. They are a fundamental component that allows smart contracts to execute seamlessly. The need for VMs arises from the diversity of blockchain platforms and the necessity for a common ground where code can run uniformly.

What is a Virtual Machine (VM)?

A virtual machine is a software-based emulation of a physical computer. It allows you to run code and applications in an isolated environment, independent of your local machine's operating system. In the context of smart contract blockchains, VMs create a standardized environment for executing smart contracts.

Role of VMs in Smart Contract Blockchains

Virtual machines facilitate the execution of smart contracts by providing a consistent runtime environment across various blockchain platforms. They allow developers to write code for smart contracts in high-level programming languages and compile them into bytecode. This bytecode can be executed on the VM, ensuring uniform execution on any blockchain that supports it.

Benefits of Using VMs in Smart Contracts

The utilization of virtual machines in smart contract blockchains offers several advantages. First and foremost, it enhances interoperability. Smart contracts developed on one blockchain can run on another that supports the same VM, making migrating or integrating smart agreements easier.

Popular Virtual Machines in Blockchain

Several virtual machines are widely used in the blockchain ecosystem. Some of the most notable ones include:

Ethereum's EVM and Smart Contracts

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is the pioneer in this field. It powers Ethereum's smart contracts and is responsible for the explosion of decentralized applications (DApps) and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Binance Smart Chain's BEVM

Binance Smart Chain utilizes the Binance Smart Chain Ethereum Virtual Machine (BEVM), making it compatible with Ethereum. This ensures the smooth transition of smart contracts from Ethereum to Binance Smart Chain.

Polkadot and Substrate

Polkadot employs WebAssembly-based virtual machines in its Substrate framework, offering developers a high degree of flexibility and customization.

Challenges and Limitations

While virtual machines are integral to the functionality of smart contract blockchains, they are not without their challenges. These challenges include potential security vulnerabilities, high gas fees, and scalability issues. Additionally, constant updates and maintenance of VMs can be resource-intensive.

Future Developments

The role of virtual machines in smart contract blockchains will evolve further. Future developments may focus on enhancing security, reducing gas fees, and increasing scalability to meet the growing demand for blockchain applications.


In conclusion, virtual machines are the unsung heroes behind the success of smart contract blockchains. They provide the standardized environment required for seamless smart contract execution. As the blockchain industry expands, VMs will play a vital role in shaping its future.

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