Saturday, 30 September 2023

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Stellar joins Bytecode Alliance to help develop EVM alternative Wasm

Stellar joins Bytecode Alliance to help develop EVM alternative Wasm

The Stellar Development Foundation has joined the Bytecode Alliance, an industry group promoting the development of WebAssembly (Wasm), according to an Aug. 21 announcement. Wasm is a competitor to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) used by the Ethereum ecosystem. It is also used in non-blockchain, browser-based applications.

EVM is a virtual machine or computation engine used to execute smart contracts. It is used by most blockchain networks, including Ethereum, BNB Chain (BNB), Avalanche (AVAX), and many others. But a few networks use Wasm instead, including Polkadot (DOT), MultiversX (formerly Elrond) (EGLD), and Internet Computer (ICP).

Stellar began as a payments network in 2014. But in 2022, it implemented smart contracts to provide more functionality to the network. In April 2022, Stellar developers chose Wasm as their computation engine. They argued that despite the popularity of EVM, its “storage and execution models are expensive and challenging to parallelize,” which “gets in the way of scalability,” making transactions more expensive.

Related: Stellar dips into treasury to buy minority stake in MoneyGram

Stellar also argued that Wasm was perfect for “extremely adversarial” environments like blockchains, as it was originally developed for browser applications. This was another reason the team chose Wasm over EVM.

But much of the development work for Wasm is produced by the Bytecode Alliance, a non-profit organization made up of internet companies such as Amazon, Cosco, Intel, Microsoft, and others. When Stellar chose Wasm as its computation engine, Internet Computer developer Dfinity was the only member of the alliance representing a blockchain network.

In its Aug. 21 announcement, Stellar argued that joining the Bytecode Alliance was a “no-brainer,” as it would allow the team to “influence standards and tooling” within the Wasm development community. They emphasized that their goal was to not only represent Stellar but to “advocate for all of blockchain and its developers.” According to Stellar, its participation in the organization will help the alliance support the needs of Web3 and blockchain developers:

“This influence ensures that the Alliance considers the unique needs of blockchain and non-web use…

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