Ethereum WebAssembly (ewasm) is a part of a series of upgrades to the original Ethereum network under the banner of the consensus layer. It focuses on upgrading and replacing the existing technology platform that enables developers to build smart contracts and decentralised apps – the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) – and aims to increase its speed and efficiency.
When comparing and contrasting both systems, you can think of EVM as a jack of all trades master of none, that has lots of functions but doesn’t really do any particular one well. Whereas ewasm is geared specifically towards web applications like Ethereum.
Developed by engineers from Apple, Microsoft and Google, ewasm is designed to be fast, efficient and portable and achieves this by being compatible with common hardware. By providing this level of accessibility, developers gain creative freedom in writing code to run on the blockchain without the need to learn a native Ethereum-only language.