The ICON Strategy Team has been actively looking into how to make ICON 2.0 EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible. Firstly, for those that don’t know, EVM compatibility, in simple terms, will allow developers to deploy smart contracts written in Solidity on ICON.
This is beneficial for 2 key reasons:
1.) LOTS of code has been written in Solidity. We can reuse the libraries, dev tools, dev environments and audited code from the Ethereum Ecosystem. This allows us to iterate and innovate on products much faster.
2.) Developers that consider leaving Ethereum for a faster & cheaper blockchain will be able to easily redeploy their smart contracts on ICON without needing to rewrite code in Python/Java
Now, getting back to where we stand. We have researched a few different options with the help of @robcio and the Insight P-Rep team along with ICONLOOP developers:
1.) Add a 3rd runtime environment to ICON and support EVM natively - this idea has been mostly ruled out because it adds significant complexity to ICON’s core code. We also want to get the community involved in this project and expand our core contributor set, but this idea would need to be mostly done by internal ICON developers.
2.) Build a Transcompiler - This is one of our top ideas right now. We have spoken at length with Web3Labs and are awaiting a proposal and timeline to build and maintain the Transcompiler. For those that don’t know, a Transcompiler will take Solidity source code and translate it into Java bytecode so it can execute in the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) which is what ICON 2.0 has.
3.) Connect to a Substrate-based (PolkaDot) Parachain/blockchain that runs the EVM - this route is also still on the table and is currently in discussion thanks to the introduction to the PolkaDot team by @Icon-4-Business. The plan would be to deploy (or connect to an existing) parachain that supports EVM, deploy Solidity contracts on this chain, and connect to this chain with BTP so we can send ICX to and from these contracts.
Overall, this is an exciting and important feature for the ICON Public Blockchain. I will follow up on this thread as our strategy progresses. Thank you to the community members that have supported us in this endeavor and if anybody has any ideas, feedback, or developers that would be interested in participating in this work please let me know!