Stellar Development Foundation has become a part of the Bytecode Alliance, propelling the growth of WebAssembly (Wasm), a computation engine alternative that drives smart contracts. This move positions Wasm as a competitor to the widely-adopted Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
The announcement, made by Stellar’s product lead, Tomer Weller, on Aug. 21, underlines Wasm’s broader application not just in blockchain but also in browser-integrated settings. The EVM, an execution engine for smart contracts, powers numerous blockchain networks such as Ethereum, BNB Smart Chain, Avalanche, and more. In contrast, networks including Polkadot, MultiversX, and Internet Computer leverage Wasm.
Founded in 2014 as a payment-centric network, Stellar integrated smart contract capabilities in 2022, enhancing the network’s multifunctionality. Despite EVM’s widespread acceptance, Stellar developers in April 2022, adopted Wasm, citing concerns over EVM’s costly storage and execution models, which potentially hinder scalability and drive up transaction costs.
Stellar lauded Wasm’s aptness for “highly adversarial” environments, like blockchains, given its initial design intent for browser applications. The selection of Wasm over EVM also stemmed from this rationale.
However, Wasm’s growth is significantly powered by the Bytecode Alliance, a non-profit conglomerate comprising tech giants such as Amazon, Cisco, Intel, and Microsoft. At the time of Stellar’s Wasm adoption, Dfinity, the brain behind Internet Computer, was the sole blockchain representative in the alliance.
Weller’s proclamation about Stellar’s collaboration with the Bytecode Alliance underscored the strategic nature of this decision, enabling them to play a pivotal role in shaping Wasm’s development standards. He stressed Stellar’s mission to champion the broader blockchain community and its developers. Weller believes Stellar’s involvement will ensure that the Alliance addresses both blockchain and non-web application needs, facilitating a broader gamut of applications, particularly smart contract platforms.
Wasm’s traction continues to grow in a Web3 landscape predominantly influenced by EVM. A notable instance was Astar network’s announcement on April 3, stating the concurrent deployment of EVM and Wasm contracts on its network, a move they termed as “Wasm launch day.” Further cementing Wasm’s burgeoning prominence, Binance announced a funding commitment of $2.2 million on Aug. 22 for zkWASMHub, a zero-knowledge proof platform rooted in Wasm.