This is the second part of EVM vs SmartWeave: A Complete Guide for Consenting Developers.

Lazy Execution: An Alternative Perspective

The modular thesis has been one of the most prominent narratives in the blockchain space in recent years. Virtually all of the leading L1s, Solana might be the only exception here, determined to scale decentralized networks using a modular approach rather than relying on a monolithic layer responsible for delivering all the properties of the blockchain. SmartWeave is a unique approach to modular thesis, focused solely on scaling distributed ledger computing capabilities by separating the data storage from the execution layer.

SmartWeave’s “lazy evaluation” approach transfers the responsibility of executing smart contract code from the nodes in the network to the users of the smart contract.

In essence, this means that the computation of transaction validation is deferred until it is needed, which reduces the workload on the network nodes and allows for more efficient transaction processing. This approach allows users to run as many computations as needed without incurring additional fees, offering functionality that is not feasible with other smart contract systems. As a result, builders no longer have to worry about gas optimization when the evaluation is downloaded to users.

EVM and SmartWeave suitability assessment

Financial primitives are one of the most important applications of blockchain technology, and EVM is particularly well-suited for this purpose due to its strict and deterministic execution of smart contract code on every node in the network. Additionally, the huge amounts of money underlying EVM platforms such as Ethereum Mainnet and consonantly L2s provide a high level of security, making EVM-based smart contract networks better positioned to capture the DeFi market.

Another crucial factor to consider is the need to scale computationally heavy SmartWeave applications. This can only be achieved by delegating the execution layer to specialized entities, as relying solely on the user’s device would be impractical. Trying to evaluate contracts with thousands of user CPU interactions would be pointless.

An abstraction layer such as Warp’s DRE has been developed to overcome this challenge. It comprises a distributed validation network that handles contract calculations, significantly improving response time and user experience.

However, ensuring that this abstraction layer remains fully decentralized at the final stage is important to avoid third-party dependencies and censorship issues. However, it is worth noting that the upper execution layer, which could be susceptible to hypothetical malicious activity, cannot compromise the decentralization and immutability of SmartWeave data stored in Arweave. Any entity can retrieve the data directly from Arweave and execute the contract state independently, thus preventing fraudulent activity.

While many applications already provide added value for Permaweb users, the Arweave ecosystem is still in its early stages. Currently, the exploration and definition of standards is ongoing, similar to the early days of Ethereum with the creation of the main ERC standards.

Compared to EVM systems, developer activity and available tools remain niche. While this may hurt newcomers due to the steep learning curve, it also presents an exciting opportunity for true innovation, which is the backbone of the crypto industry.

SmartWeave Market Setting

While it’s interesting to talk about the advantages and limitations of architecture design in theory, let’s focus on the practical side and explore specific use cases where EVM might not be the best option. That’s where SmartWeave could potentially fill a niche. DeSoc (Decentralized Social) has recently emerged as a major trend in the crypto space, generating excitement, community engagement, and developer engagement similar to the legendary summer of DeFi.

DeSoc aims to solve the challenges of traditional social networks, such as monetization from disjointed creators and disproportionate value to the platform, through an open architecture that unlocks social graph data. However, social graphics protocols like the Lens Protocol, Farcaster, and CyberConnect are still in their early stages of development, with various standards and trade-offs to consider.

One of the drawbacks to consider for social graphing protocols is the limitations of the EVM. This includes high gas fees and a long completion window. No one wants to wait two minutes to process a “like” action. One possible solution is to store less critical data, like likes and mirrors, off-chain, while more important actions are posted on-chain. However, this approach may require sacrificing on-chain programmability and decentralization.

Warp, however, excels in the constraints of these EVMs thanks to its unusual architecture and its ability to keep user interactions in the permaweb (arweave ledger) without sacrificing user experience. By delegating certain high cost or high performance actions to Warp, existing social graphics protocols built on EVM chains can be enhanced with the seamless integration of SmartWeave, leveraging the strengths of both technologies. An example of such a mutual symbiosis can be found in the following graph:

SmartWeave adoption can be increased by exploring AI and financial modelling, thanks to the benefits of transparent underlying data stored on-chain and the ability to combine it with other Arweave network modules. Due to high storage costs, such integration is economically unfeasible in an EVM system.

While still nascent, experimentation with machine learning models using the Warp software is already happening here. One of the most common use cases widely adopted now is a variety of database deployment systems built with the Warp SDK, capable of processing production-ready volumes of interactions on a large data set that would be unmanageable on the EVM network. Several projects lead the permissionless database cohort, including WeaveDB, FirstBatch, Glacier, and Kwil.

There are still many exciting and unexplored possibilities for the Warp protocol, such as bringing business logic to the chain for document management or signing agreements. Early stage of the tech stack and web3 games also present opportunities for specific engine modules to live on-chain, such as bookmarks and item ledgers. These areas can provide significant traction for Warp’s growth, even if only one major company or game studio decides to offload part of their workflow onto the chain.

final thoughts

Ultimately, the decision to use EVM or SmartWeave will depend on the specific needs of a project and developer preferences. While the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) has been widely accepted as the go-to solution for blockchain applications, it may not always be the best option.

At Warp, we believe that SmartWeave, a permanent and immutable execution environment without the constraints of network-wide consensus for state validation, could serve as a viable complementary or alternative network for specific modules in the Web3 ecosystem.

Guest Post by: Jakub Wojciechowski, CEO and Founder of Warp Contracts and RedStone

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