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Blockchain 101: What's an Ethereum Virtual Machine?

Ray Chen
Product Manager
February 23, 2023
Since this post was written, Hyperledger FireFly has reached 1.0. Learn more here!

An EVM or Ethereum Virtual Machine is a decentralized “virtual computer” that is hosted on nodes or computers throughout the world. It is very powerful as it is Turing-complete, meaning that it can perform any computation given enough time and resources. As such, the EVM is used to create applications and execute smart contracts on the Ethereum network.

Smart contracts are a key feature of the Ethereum network, and are what make the EVM so powerful. A smart contract is a piece of code that is stored on the Ethereum blockchain, and that can be executed by the EVM. Smart contracts are self-executing, which means that they automatically perform the actions that they are programmed to do when certain conditions are met. This is a very powerful concept that is ripe for use cases in the enterprise world.

Benefits of Smart Contracts

One of the key benefits of smart contracts is their ability to automate and streamline processes. For example, a smart contract could be used to automate the process of purchasing goods or services, by automatically releasing payment when certain conditions are met, such as the delivery of the goods or the completion of a service.

Smart contracts can also be used to enforce the terms of contracts, such as ensuring that a payment is made on time, or that certain terms and conditions are met. You can build your own supply chain use case by following our tutorial here.

Another benefit of the EVM is its ability to run decentralized applications (dApps). dApps are software applications that are built on top of a decentralized network, such as the Ethereum blockchain. They offer a number of benefits over traditional, centralized apps, including greater transparency and accountability, resistance to censorship and tampering, and the ability to operate without the need for intermediaries.

Enterprise Use Cases powered by the EVM

There are a wide variety of enterprise decentralized applications (dApps) that have been built on top of the Ethereum network. Generally enterprise use cases are built on private, permissioned chains as opposed to public ones that anyone can see. Some examples include supply chain management dApps, which allow businesses to track the movement of goods and materials through the supply chain in real-time; voting systems dApps, which enable secure and transparent voting processes; and insurance dApps, which streamline the claims process.

Issues that Need to Be Solved

Building and deploying dApps on the Ethereum network isn't without its challenges. Some key issues include:


The Ethereum network can only handle a limited number of transactions per second. This can lead to high gas fees, which are the fees that users must pay in order to have their transactions processed on the Ethereum network.


Users must first set up a wallet and fund it with cryptocurrency in order to interact with dApps on the Ethereum network. This can be a barrier to entry for many users, especially those who are not familiar with cryptocurrency or the Ethereum network.


Enterprises generally don’t want their business logic visible to everyone on a public blockchain.


Building on the Ethereum platform requires a deep understanding of blockchain technology and the Solidity programming language. This can be a steep learning curve for enterprises that are new to the space.

Integration with existing systems

Not everything needs to be on the blockchain and indeed, many companies struggle with integrating their existing systems to the world of Web3.

How We Can Help

Kaleido radically simplifies blockchain development for the enterprise. We help you build for scale in permissioned environments with click-button onboarding of new members to your network. By building on permissioned chains that are EVM compatible, large businesses can then control how they decentralize operations and move toward a public use case on their own terms. Nodes can be deployed across AWS and Azure and across different cloud regions to enable physical compute decentralization. Enterprise customers can also create 'hybrid' deployments where some of the nodes are managed by Kaleido and some of them are self-hosted. Kaleido provides a simple software stack that intelligently and securely connects with the rest of the network. This enables hosting decentralization. Kaleido also makes it easy to launch your own open RPC to your chain to enable open, scalable, and controlled access to that chain.

If you've heard about blockchain in the context of an ethereal virtual machine and now you're wondering how to put this potential to use for your business, set up some time to talk to one of our blockchain experts.

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