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Antshares VM: A Light-Weight Universal Virtual Machine

The Leading Chinese Blockchain project Antshares today published the whitepaper of its Virtual Machine, the Antshares VM. The source codes of Antshares VM are also available via GitHub now. The whitepaper introduces a light-weight universal blockchain VM, which can be utilized by users on the Antshares Blockchain to deploy and execute smart contracts, upgrading digital assets into programmable smart digital assets.


Virtual Machine is the key technology to realize a smart contract system. Smart Contract is the vehicle of business logics that exist on the layer of technological implementation. The execution of smart contracts requires a runtime environment, i.e. a virtual machine. On different blockchains, the expression capacity of smart contracts on business rules is limited by the capacity of virtual machines. The developers of blockchain applications should not only master the characters of the technologies of the blockchain, but also functionalities of corresponding smart contract virtual machines.

The designs, esp. the performances of virtual machines differ at home and abroad due to the different blockchain platforms. Bitcoin VM is light, clear and with a good performance. But it has limited support to advanced languages, status maintenance as well as Turing-Completeness. EVM is a more complete system, yet its architecture restrains itself: either stays within the architecture with limited performance, or breaking the architecture with external codes. Fabric has a very interesting strategy, allowing for a flexible selection of VM dockers and languages available on the market, yet losing the control to the VM and certainty. In the meantime, its sandbox VM has limitations over performace.

Antshares Founder Eric Zhang pointed, “when we were designing the Antshares VM, we were thinking about a design that merges the advantages of several other VMs, a light-weight universal blockchain VM that is based on OpCode therefore was born: The Antshares VM, in response to the pursuit.”

When comparing VMs of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Fabric, you can tell that Antshares VM has a faster execution speed, better performance, more complete logic control (Turing-complete) and supports to advanced languages. The ledger data interaction and status maintenance can be more flexible, while the offchain data interoperability and integration can be expanded, empowering the Antshares VM to be a universal VM for multiple blockchains.

Antshares, as we always do, will open source the codes. This will not just be beneficial to the community developers, but in fact echoes with our spirit of shared open-sourceness,” Eric Zhang went on, “an absolutely perfect solution absolutely do not exist, else why we see the difference here and there. However, we can start by merging the outstanding qualities of aforementioned VMs under specific scenarios to quickly iterate and achieve incremental improvement before perfection.”

It has been told that Antshares VM has great performance, Turing-complete logic control and is capable of flexible onchain and offchain data interoperability. Supports to advanced languages can be expected via corresponding compilers. A customable system calling will bring support to any designated blockchain.

Antshares VM GitHub Source Codes:

Antshares VM Whitepaper (English translation in progress, will be released on GitHub Wiki as well):

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