What is EVM?

Software is developed using programming languages, such as C++. However, such a language cannot be understood by the CPU of a computer. Given that, programs based on C++ must be translated through a compiler into bytecode for the CPU to understand. In this way, the software can run on a computer with commands executed by the CPU.

Let’s look at a brief example to see how this mechanism works.

Despite engaging in the blockchain industry, Bulu, imToken’s mascot, cannot understand English. To address the language barrier, he needs a translator to translate blockchain news and updates written in English into Bulunese (Bulu language). After that, he can get access to the up-to-date industry information.


This example is similar to the process of compiling programs designed through C++ into bytecode for the CPU to understand before running the programs.

Now that you’ve understood the relationship between CPU and computers, it is very simple to explain what EVM is. EVM is to Ethereum what CPU is to a computer. Ethereum, known as the “world computer”, doesn’t consist of physical components, such as a CPU. In this case, how can smart contracts run on it?

This is when EVM comes into play as the CPU of Ethereum. Smart contracts written in Solidity by Ethereum developers are compiled into EVM bytecode for those contracts to run on EVM.


What are EVM-compatible chains?

A code execution environment that is similar to EVM is created on EVM-compatible chains where smart contracts on Ethereum can be effortlessly ported to these chains without writing the codes from scratch again.

Compared with Ethereum, these chains are characterized by their lower gas fee, faster settlement speed, and the same address format as that of Ethereum starting from 0x.

The relationship between EVM-compatible chains and public chains

Blockchains can be divided into three categories, namely public blockchains, private blockchains, and consortium blockchains.

  • Public blockchains, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, BSC, HECO, allow all to send transactions and access on-chain data.
  • Consortium blockchains refer to those managed by several pre-selected institutions having the exclusive right to send transitions and access on-chain data.
  • Private chains are those managed by a single institution having access to record and read information on the chain.

BSC and HECO are public blockchains developed by Binance and Huobi Global respectively and they are also EVM-compatible chains. To be specific, EVM-compatible chains are a subset of public blockchains.


Notably, the addresses on EVM-compatible chains also start from 0x, just like Ethereum. Therefore, when you withdraw assets from exchanges to imToken through EVM-compatible chains, be sure to switch your wallets from Ethereum to the corresponding chain so that you can see the received tokens. You can check out this blog for step by step instructions.