Execution Machine (EXM) has launched its beta version this week.
1/ Introducing Execution Machine (EXM) Beta: Create permanent, serverless functions on the blockchain.
— Execution Machine (Join our Beta) (@exmbuild) August 29, 2022
To put it mildly, EXM has the potential to be one of the most important catalysts of conversion from Web2 to Web3. Given the foreseeable importance of this new Arweave-based venture, we tried to have a little talk with its founder, Andres, before his schedule will become more crowded than a mall on Black Friday. Without further ado, learn about EXM directly from its creator:
Q: Let’s start with the beginning: if I remember correctly, at the start of 2022 you released something that was called evm3 (or something like that). What’s the connection between the prior product and the latest development of the execution machine?
Yes. I like to recognize 3EM as the underlying technology. In this comparison, 3EM can be simplistically considered an operative system, whereas EXM is an application built on top of the operating system. EXM would not have been possible to conceive in the way it is conceived without 3EM. To answer your question more precisely, EXM is a platform, and 3EM is a developer tool that powers the platform. Down to the technicals, 3EM is simply a virtual machine. EXM takes advantage of that virtual machine and creates a whole set of tools and interfaces for builders to build on the permaweb. No wallets, no tokens, nothing of that kind required. EXM as a platform offers this smooth experience.
Q: We still encounter the vibe of the first crypto enthusiasts “not your keys, not your tokens”. To which extent will EXM collide with this view? To be more clear: will EXM just be a way to make the blockchain accessible for Web2 users, or could it somehow reconcile both worlds?
I do believe it reconciles the best of both worlds. I don’t think it messes with keys or tokens as the crypto enthusiast could think. EXM isn’t meant to be smart contracts, if you had smart contracts, sure, there’s a lot involved there, but EXM is the concept of trustless functions, to think of this in more simple terms, it enables developers to create permanent backends. You send a request, and you get a response, that’s how Web2 works and how EXM works. It’s a new concept in the industry that hasn’t been tested until now with EXM. It wasn’t possible before but Arweave makes it possible.
Q: So, In a way, with EXM, one can built truly permanent machines on the web that can work long after their creators are gone?
That is correct. Permanent backends with permanent APIs. There are a lot more complexities to this statement, but this is ideally the concept. Although, we wouldn’t be considered Smart Contracts because one still needs to send the interactions for these apps through EXM. In the case of smart contracts, transactions are sent directly to the L1 (Arweave, for example). In the case of EXM, there’s a requirement to interact through EXM; anything outside of EXM is not considered part of the “truth”.
Q: About the complexities involved, the current web services are not exactly built with permanence in mind (taking into consideration, for eg., web domains or even web browsers updates that could render a particular build useless), wouldn’t this imply that, in order to reach its true potential, EXM should be paired with other kinds of web services, that are still to be built?
Absolutely. I think we are yet to see what can be truly built with EXM just because it’s an early technology, we have some ideas of how EXM can be used in different industries from Banking to Supply Chain to DeFi to Data Processing even to Oracles, but we’re letting developers figure out what they want to build with EXM, because at the end, EXM is for anyone to build anything in permanency. I definitely envision a near future where EXM seamlessly integrates with both centralised and decentralised applications to bring permanency
Q: It seems that projects and developers that are representing the traditional Web are still not very keen on adopting Web3 technologies into their stacks, what are your thoughts regarding this?
I agree. This is why we want to expand the usage of Web3 and permanent storage by reducing the friction lines or removing them completely. I think Web3 has failed to accomplish this because of all the steps it takes to actually build and use something globally useful, but this is what Arweave has achieved in some ways, and what EXM is trying to expand in benefits in other ways. Think about it. Do you want to build a dApp? You need to hold tokens on the L1 you want to use, you need to set up a wallet, you need to wait for transactions to be confirmed, and the latency of the responses for these dApps is high. But then I tell you, you could build a Dapp without wallets and tokens, at the lowest latency, with any language, and EXM ensures your data will be stored in the Permaweb. That’s a game changer, for individuals and companies alike. Our process of development is as smooth if not smoother as deploying an application in AWS Lambda. Data permanency is guaranteed in EXM.
Q: If I understand correctly, every Web project, disregarding the chain on which it operates, could become immutable through the use of EXM? What you see is what you get for the entire duration of that website?
Yes. Real Web3 backends. It’s all about joining Arweave and EXM and creating this Web3 computer. Arweave itself is meant to store data, what’s data if it can’t be processed? And what’s its finality if it can’t be permanent? This is where EXM comes in, enabling highly scalable applications to be built on Arweave and make data something executable in permanency.
Q: I want to go a little back to one of your statements, the one about the necessity to interact through EXM, before going to Arweave-L1. In this aspect does EXM work like everPay? Based on a “storage-based consensus paradigm”? Does this mean that users will have almost instant interactions while using EXM?
That is correct. It takes only a few milliseconds up to seconds for your transaction to be considered final. This improves both the developer and user experience. The beauty of all this is that it’s always verifiable. If you want to know more about what’s verifiable computing and how it plays a role in EXM you can check it out here.
Q: Any closing thoughts? A peek into the future?
I think this has been great. Stay tuned for game changing features we are yet to release later this month most probably, and a message for builders: don’t miss out on our onboarding sessions.