New: Wallet recovery made easy with Ledger Recover, provided by Coincover

Get started

Up your Web3 game

Ledger Academy Quests

  • Test your knowledge
  • Earn POK NFTs
Play now See all quests

Ethereum Virtual Machine Meaning

Mar 3, 2023 | Updated May 24, 2023
The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a software framework on the Ethereum network that allows developers to execute smart contracts and create decentralized applications.

What is Ethereum Virtual Machine?

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is like the heart of the Ethereum blockchain. It’s what makes it possible for developers to build decentralized applications (dapps) and execute smart contracts on the network. Think of it like a giant computer that runs on thousands of different devices all around the world.

The main function of the Ethereum virtual machine is to determine the “state” of each block in the Ethereum blockchain. The “state” refers to the network’s data structure that stores information on accounts, balances, smart contracts, and machine state, all of which can change as new blocks are added to the blockchain.

Since the EVM is a virtual system, it is not limited to a particular operating system, and can be accessed by anyone from any geographical location.

How Does EVM Work?

When a smart contract is created and deployed on the Ethereum network, it is written in a high-level programming language such as Solidity. This code is then compiled into bytecode, which is a low-level machine-readable language that the EVM can understand.

The EVM executes smart contracts in a sandboxed environment, which means that they run independently of each other and cannot access resources outside of their designated environment. This ensures that each contract’s execution is secure and isolated from other contracts running on the network.

Developers utilize the Ethereum virtual machine to create various decentralized applications (DApps) including those for decentralized finance (DeFi), EVM crypto apps, games, and marketplaces. 

EVM for Smart Contracts and Decentralized Applications

The Ethereum virtual machine holds a crucial role within the Ethereum network as it is responsible for executing and deploying smart contracts. It functions as the platform where smart contracts and millions of DApps based on the Ethereum blockchain exist and thrive.

In essence, the Ethereum blockchain operates as a peer-to-peer (P2P) system of distinct individual nodes. Each node connects to the next, with each of them being responsible for ensuring the security and stability of the entire ecosystem. To achieve consensus and sustain the integrity of the Ethereum blockchain, every node employs the EVM.

To run the EVM, execute smart contracts, and to ensure that there are no errors, the Ethereum network compensates its validators with computation fees or gas fees.

Wallet Address

A wallet address is a randomly generated string of characters used to send or receive digital assets.

Full definition


Taproot is an upgrade on the Bitcoin blockchain that was approved and implemented by developers in 2021. It was designed to improve efficiency and privacy on the network.

Full definition

Wrapped Ether

Wrapped Ether (WETH) is an ERC-20 compatible token that is pegged to Ether at a 1:1 ratio.

Full definition