This is part two from EVM vs SmartWeave: A Comprehensive Guide to Developer Adoption.
Lazy execution: An alternative perspective
The modular thesis has been one of the most prominent stories in the blockchain space over the past few years. Almost all major L1s, Solana may be the only exception here, set on scaling decentralized networks with a modular approach instead of relying on a monolithic layer responsible for providing all blockchain properties. SmartWeave is a unique approach to the modular thesis, focused solely on scaling the computing capabilities of the distributed ledger by separating data storage from the execution layer.
SmartWeave’s “lazy evaluation” approach transfers the responsibility of executing smart contract code from network nodes to smart contract users.
Essentially, this means that the transaction validation calculation is deferred until it is required, reducing the workload on network nodes and allowing for more efficient transaction processing. This approach enables users to run as many calculations as needed without incurring additional fees, providing functionality that is not feasible with other smart contract systems. As a result, builders no longer have to worry about gas optimization when the rating is outsourced to users.
Assessing suitability of EVM and SmartWeave
Financial primitives are one of the most significant applications of blockchain technology, and EVM is particularly well-suited for this purpose due to its strict and deterministic execution of smart contract code at every network node. Additionally, the massive amounts of money underlying EVM platforms, such as the Ethereum Mainnet and L2 Consonant, 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 compute-intensive 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 futile.
An abstraction layer like Warp’s DRE has been developed to overcome this challenge. It includes a distributed verification network that handles contract calculations, significantly improving response time and user experience.
However, it is important to ensure that this abstraction layer remains fully decentralized in the final stage to avoid third-party dependencies and censorship issues. However, it is worth noting that the upper execution layer, which may be susceptible to hypothetical malicious activity, cannot compromise the decentralization and immutability of SmartWeave data stored in Arweave. Each entity can receive the data directly from Arweave and execute the contract balance independently, thus preventing fraudulent activities.
While many applications already provide added value to Permaweb users, the Arweave ecosystem is still in its early stages. Currently, exploration and benchmarking are ongoing, similar to the early days of Ethereum with the creation of the ERC core benchmarks.
Compared to EVM systems, developer activity and available tools remain unique. 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 Fit
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 fit. This is where SmartWeave could potentially fill a niche. DeSoc (Decentralized Social) has recently emerged as a major trend in the crypto space, generating excitement, community involvement and developer engagement similar to the legendary DeFi summer.
DeSoc aims to solve the challenges of traditional social media, such as monetization separated from the creator and disproportionate value of the platform, through an open architecture that unlocks social graph data. However, social graph protocols such as Lens Protocol, Farcaster, and CyberConnect are still in their early stages of development, with various standards and tradeoffs to consider.
One of the obstacles that must be considered by social graph protocols is the limitations of EVM. This includes high gas rates and a long window of finality. No one wants to wait two minutes to process a “like” action. One possible solution is to store less critical data, such as likes and views, off-chain while posting more important actions on-chain. However, this approach may require sacrificing programmability and on-chain decentralization.
Warp, however, excels in these EVM limitations thanks to its unusual architecture and ability to keep user interactions in the permaweb (Arweave book) without sacrificing user experience. By delegating some high-cost or high-performance operations to Warp, existing social graph 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 chart below:
Adoption of SmartWeave can be increased by exploring AI and financial modeling, thanks to the benefits of transparent underlying data stored on the chain and the ability to combine it with other modules of the Arweave network. Due to high storage costs, such integration is economically infeasible in an EVM system.
While still early days, experimentation with machine learning models using Warp software is already happening here today. One of the most common use cases widely adopted now is a variety of database implementation systems built using the Warp SDK, capable of processing large volumes of interactions on a large dataset that would be unmanageable on the EVM network. Several projects lead the permissionless DB pool, including WeaveDB, FirstBatch, Glacier, and Kwil.
There are still many interesting and unexplored possibilities for the Warp protocol, such as bringing business logic to the chain for managing documents or signing agreements. The early stages of the web3 technology and gaming stack also present opportunities for engine-specific modules to live on the chain, such as scoreboards and item logs. These areas can provide significant traction for Warp growth, even if just one sizable enterprise or game studio decides to offload some of their workflows to the chain.
Ultimately, the decision to use either EVM or SmartWeave will depend on the specific needs of a project and the preferences of developers. While the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is widely accepted as the leading solution for blockchain applications, it may not always be the best solution.
At Warp, we believe that SmartWeave, a permanent and immutable runtime environment without the constraints of network-wide consensus for state authentication, can serve as a complementary network or potential alternative to specific modules in the Web3 ecosystem.
Guest post by: Jakub Wojciechowski, CEO and founder of Warp Contracts and RedStone