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Artbitrum founder says Stylus is a game changer for EVMs

The Arbitrum-building Offchain Labs co-founder Ed Felten said its new tool would allow more seasoned devs to build EVMs, possibly making them safer.

A recently released tool for Arbitrum developers could onboard more devs to Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVM) and improve its code, says Offchain Labs co-founder Ed Felten.

Speaking to Cointelegraph at Korea Blockchain Week, Felten lauded Arbitrum Stylus, which Offchain released on a testnet on Aug. 31, allowing developers to use languages including Rust, C, and C++ to build Arbitrum apps.

Felten said Stylus would allow non-Web3 native devs to “use the languages and the development tools that they’re used to.”

He added it would onboard “a lot more developers” to building EVMs with more mature tools and cited the larger number of devs that program in Rust over Solidity — the latter being the programming language for building Ethereum smart contracts.

“One of the things that comes from those much more mature tools is it’s much faster. So it’s 10 to 15 times faster for typical computations than EVM.”

According to Felten, the benefit of supporting legacy languages is the amount of code that already exists written in languages such as Rust which is already “battle-tested and audited.”

Felten identified Rust as a language that was designed to help catch development errors, with its tools being “really good at reducing the odds that you’ll introduce a bug in your code.”

“You can just use it. Now you can use that directly on-chain. You’re gonna build less from scratch and you’re gonna be able to take better advantage of things that other people have done.”

Felten also highlighted the gas cost was 10 to 15 times lower, which allows for “more complex stuff [to be] done in the same transaction” and opens up the possibility of being able to perform iPhone-compatible cryptography.

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Felten explained that iPhones use a different digital signature standard than Ethereum, which is not supported well, so “cryptography on Ethereum that’s compatible with the iPhone has an extremely high gas cost.”

“But in Stylus, you can drive that down so it becomes really feasible. It’s not prohibitively expensive.”

This could give way to having a crypto wallet integrated on an iPhone — unlocking the ability to use Apple’s FaceID to verify wallet transactions similar to bank card purchases.

Other use cases Felten saw with the lower gas fees were higher levels of realism in blockchain-based games and the on-chain evaluation of machine learning models against live application data.

Ultimately, Felten thought Stylus could help burgeoning projects ship faster as allowing for mature programming languages means they may be better protected against bugs, and errors along with having extra performance.

“You don’t have to squeeze out every last tiny bit of performance in your code and that also reduces a lot of friction for developing protocols.”

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Additional reporting by Andrew Fenton.

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