Algorand Boosts Smart Contract Performance With ‘Virtual Machine’ Launch

The project is making the development process more in line with that of other networks.

AccessTimeIconSep 29, 2021 at 6:41 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:38 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Algorand smart contracts are getting a performance boost.

On Wednesday, the company behind the proof-of-stake blockchain released a back-end upgrade to increase the computing power of Algorand-based applications. Algorand Virtual Machine (AVM) will also make it easier for newcomers to develop programs atop the chain.

AVM brings Algorand smart contract development “closer to the mental model” developers on other blockchains are used to, Chief Product Officer Paul Riegle told CoinDesk. The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is widely used, with EVM-compatibility being a key way for new networks like Avalanche and others to gain steam.

Getting more developers running faster code could be key for Algorand’s growth in the bustling decentralized finance (DeFi) landscape. It is the 29th-largest blockchain by total value locked, according to DeFi Llama, well behind Ethereum, Solana and Tron.

Riegle said AVM simplifies smart contracts’ treatment of escrow payments, their ability to send transactions and their handling of slippage in trades. It also improves on the complex math underpinning “complex DeFi applications,” he said, such as the authentication procedures protecting cross-chain mechanisms, or bridges.

One developer is building a bridge with 14 signature verifications, he said. (Riegle noted that 14 cross-checks is “pretty out on the tail” of what’s normal, and as such would require uncommonly high computing power). “We can support those kinds of things now,” he said.

Algorand supported some of those things before – in a far more piecemeal manner. AVM makes it simpler to join those previously disparate bits together, according to Riegle.

The self-imposed guardrails regulating how much computing power Algorand smart contracts can call are also getting a 16-fold raise. Riegle said the boost does not impact overall performance on the chain, which can process 1,000 transactions a second.

Coming rollouts will further juice performance 10- to 40-fold “at a minimum,” he said.

Correction (Oct. 14, 1:49 UTC): Corrects the spelling of Paul Riegle’s last name.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.

Danny Nelson

Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.