The Stellar Development Foundation and WebAssembly
The Stellar Development Foundation has recently joined the Bytecode Alliance, an industry group that is actively promoting the development of WebAssembly (Wasm). Wasm is a competitor to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) that is commonly used in the Ethereum ecosystem. It is also used in browser-based applications that are not related to blockchain technology.
EVM is a virtual machine or computation engine used to execute smart contracts. It is used by many blockchain networks, such as Ethereum, BNB Smart Chain, Avalanche, and many others. However, a few networks have chosen to use Wasm instead, including Polkadot, MultiversX (formerly Elrond), and the Internet Computer.
Stellar was initially launched as a payments network in 2014. In 2022, it introduced smart contracts in order to provide additional features to the network. In April 2022, the Stellar team opted for 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 hinders scalability and makes transactions more expensive.
The Stellar team also noted that Wasm was perfectly suited for “extremely adversarial” environments such as blockchains, since it was originally developed for browser applications. This was another reason why they chose Wasm over EVM.
The Benefits of Web 3.0 and AI
The Bytecode Alliance, a nonprofit organization made up of major companies such as Amazon, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and others, is leading the development of Wasm. When Stellar chose Wasm as its computation engine, it was the only blockchain network represented in the alliance. Stellar argued that joining the alliance was a “no-brainer,” as it would allow the team to “influence standards and tooling” within the Wasm development community. The team emphasized that its goal was to not only represent Stellar but to “advocate for all of blockchain and its developers.”
The advantages of Web 3.0 and AI are becoming increasingly apparent. On April 3, the Astar network announced that it would allow both EVM and Wasm contracts to be deployed on the same network, allowing developers to use either virtual machine. Astar labeled the event “Wasm launch day.” On Aug. 22, Binance announced it would provide $2.2 million in funding for a zero-knowledge proof application platform using Wasm called “zkWASMHub.”
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