IOTA: Testnet for Ethereum Virtual Machine released at side project Shimmer.

In the ecosystem of IOTA, the introduction of smart contracts is getting closer. A testnet for the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) has gone live at the Shimmer side project (SMR) for this purpose. But critics are nagging.

For several years, IOTA has been working on the integration of smart contracts with the aim of gaining a foothold in sectors such as decentralized finance (DeFi). Now there is progress to report. At the IOTA side project Shimmer (SMR), a public testnet has been released for the Etherum Virtual Machine (EVM), which has established itself as the standard for organizing smart contracts. In a blog post, Shimmer’s team is already painting a picture of a future in which “hundreds of millions of dollars” will flow through smart contracts in the IOTA ecosystem.

But critics can’t understand this optimism. “Buffy”, for example, etches on Twitter that one cannot seriously celebrate a testnet for a feature (the EVM) in early 2023, which competitors have had for years. The data service DeFiLlama counts more than 100 projects in which the EVM is used money-wise. Of that, five projects come in at the daily revenues of more than $100 million targeted by IOTA and Shimmer. A list published by Shimmer of partners looking to implement use cases using smart contracts already includes nearly 100 names – but they are largely unknown outside the IOTA bubble.

Since the launch of Shimmer in the fall of 2022, the rule has been that new features for the IOTA ecosystem will be rolled out to SMR first. Thus, an unlock of EVM on Shimmer’s mainnet seems possible for Q2 2023. It will probably be months before the integration into the IOTA Tanglenet is tackled. Accordingly, whether the crypto industry is really waiting for yet another point of contact for smart contacts and EVM will have to be proven in the course of the year.

Conclusion: EVM for Shimmer and IOTA – better late than never

In the discussion about the EVM and smart contracts at IOTA, it is sometimes underestimated that these will still suffer from the flaw that Shimmer’s network is not decentralized in the solution now envisaged. Even with IOTA itself, the central coordinator that can intervene in the network and is controlled by the IOTA Foundation is a relic, but its abolition (“coordicide”) is proving to be a technological challenge. So it certainly remains to be welcomed that Shimmer’s EVM will open up possibilities for use cases ranging from DeFi to blockchain gaming in the foreseeable future – but whether the offering then has the potential to attract massive amounts of money and users is another matter.

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