Scaling Ethereum with Fuel

Why alternative VMs are crucial to scaling Ethereum.

Scaling Ethereum with Fuel

This article has been translated by the Fuel Ambassadors in French.

Alternative VMs are Crucial to Enable Ethereum to Scale

Despite existing in an environment where new L1s are becoming increasingly popular, Ethereum still leads the web3 space in many ways. It has a large ecosystem of developers and end users, a strong roadmap toward scalability on the consensus & data availability layer, and massive amounts of liquidity.

Ethereum hosts significantly more assets than any other blockchain (source: DefiLlama)

There is undoubtedly a lot of value to be captured by building within the existing Ethereum ecosystem, as evidenced by the many rollups and L2 scaling solutions building on Ethereum.

But at the same time, there is a growing narrative that the EVM and Solidity are becoming less important.

EVM compatibility is no longer a make-or-break feature when it comes to new blockchains - even ones building on top of Ethereum.

The Opportunity

Currently, the main bottleneck to scalability is not the speed of transaction execution; rather, it is the limited bandwidth that the consensus & data availability layer can support. In this environment, the EVM’s slow transaction execution capabilities are “good enough”, because they still outpace the bandwidth Ethereum can provide.

However, Ethereum is on a path toward massive scalability on the consensus & data availability layer, with proto-danksharding coming soon and sharding scheduled to ship in 2023. With base layer scalability on the horizon, blockspace will no longer be the core constraint. The next bottleneck will be computation: how fast execution layers can process transactions.

In this future, the relatively slow and computationally costly EVM will no longer be sufficient to keep up with the expanding supply of bandwidth on the consensus & data availability layer.

The EVM was designed to be sufficiently performant in the context of the original version of the Ethereum blockchain. While both have seen improvements since their initial release, meaningful progress on the EVM side has been continually restricted by the need to maintain backward compatibility.

The EVM has been unable to keep up with innovations in scaling computation (image source)

In order to maximize the value added by increasing bandwidth on the Ethereum base layer, L2s will need to match these scalability improvements by building and deploying more performant VMs on the execution layer.

This new paradigm provides an opportunity (and a challenge) for execution layers to pursue true scalability for Ethereum by going beyond the EVM.

The Solution

Fuel was designed for this exact purpose: scaling Ethereum by transcending the EVM.

Current L2s and rollups are primarily designed for monolithic blockchain stacks, meaning they are typically not optimized for large amounts of L1 bandwidth potential. Fuel is uniquely configured to handle this potential.

By adopting new and improved VM design principles, modular execution layers like Fuel can specifically optimize for efficient & scalable computation, superior developer experience, and maximum security - all while contributing directly to scaling Ethereum.


How Will Fuel Help Scale Ethereum?

With all this established, how will Fuel help to scale Ethereum? There are a number of factors to this:

♦️ Deployment on Ethereum

The current roadmap for Fuel includes deploying on Ethereum mainnet. The beta-2 testnet has already been launched with a bridge to Ethereum’s Goerli testnet, and a full mainnet implementation is planned for 2023.

🛣️ Alignment with Ethereum Roadmap

The Ethereum core dev community has explicitly stated that it is building toward a rollup-centric Ethereum. As part of this roadmap, Vitalik has noted that “Ethereum base-layer scaling [will] primarily be focused on scaling how much data blocks can hold, and not efficiency of on-chain computation”.

In other words, Ethereum’s scaling efforts are focused on providing bandwidth for modular execution layers, while relying on those layers to make improvements in the speed of transaction execution. As such, Fuel is focused on providing fast & efficient computation on the execution layer to support Ethereum’s scaling roadmap.

🔐 FuelVM: Fraud-Provable within the EVM

The FuelVM instruction set is specifically designed to be both expressive yet fraud-provable within the EVM. In other words, Fuel has been designed with the express goal of supporting the use of Ethereum as a settlement layer.

⛓️ Bringing Developers to the Ethereum Ecosystem

Fuel has been designed with developer experience at the forefront, and the Sway language is already gaining significant traction. By building a Rust-based DSL and comprehensive tooling that developers love, Fuel is positioned to attract scores of new developers to the ecosystem.

In addition, the FuelVM’s design enables new use cases that can’t be feasibly built on the EVM (such as orderbook DEXs). More features & a better developer experience will lead to more projects, more versatile use cases, and more end users.

Because Fuel will be deployed on Ethereum with a trust-minimized bridge between the two networks, these developers and users will be directly contributing to the growth of the Ethereum ecosystem, rather than migrating to alternative L1s.


Fuel: All In on Scaling Ethereum

Ethereum’s commitment to a modular roadmap means that making computation more scalable and efficient on the execution layer is the next step in building a more scalable Ethereum ecosystem. Alternative VMs are a crucial piece of this puzzle, and Fuel is leading the charge when it comes to this challenge.

By building the fastest modular execution layer, Fuel is bringing maximum security and the highest flexible throughput to Ethereum.


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Fuel is the fastest execution layer for the modular blockchain stack. Powerful and sleek, the technology enables parallel transaction execution, empowering developers with the highest flexible throughput and maximum security required to scale. Developers choose the FuelVM for its superior developer experience and the ability to go beyond the limitations of the EVM.

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