What is an x86 Virtual Machine?

In the context of cryptocurrency, the meaning of x86 Virtual Machines (VMs) refers to virtual machines used to run nodes of blockchain networks. These nodes are responsible for verifying and validating transactions on the network and maintaining the integrity of the blockchain. Running a node on an x86 VM allows for increased security and control, as the node operates in a virtualized environment that is isolated from the host machine.

Additionally, the use of x86 VMs can provide flexibility in terms of deployment and scaling, as nodes can be easily created, moved, or deleted as needed. This can be particularly useful in decentralized networks, where multiple nodes are required to ensure the security and reliability of the network. The use of x86 VMs in cryptocurrency can also improve compatibility with existing infrastructure, as x86 is a widely used architecture in data centers and cloud computing environments.

Simplified Example

A virtual machine is similar to a computer simulation of an operating system that runs on a host machine. This simulation allows multiple instances of the operating system to run independently and isolate one from another, much like how multiple virtual machines can run on a single physical machine. For example, a person could run a virtual machine on their laptop to test a new operating system, while still using their regular operating system for everyday tasks. The virtual machine operates as if it is a separate computer, but is actually running within the host machine.

The History of x86 Virtual Machines

The notion of an "x86 Virtual Machine" emerged in the early 2000s alongside the rapid advancement of virtualization technology. Rooted in the established x86 architecture pioneered by Intel's 8086 microprocessor in the late 1970s, this innovation facilitated the creation of virtual instances mirroring x86-based hardware environments. These virtual machines enabled simultaneous operation of multiple operating systems on a single physical server, optimizing resource utilization and enhancing flexibility in computing infrastructures. As a result, x86 virtual machines became instrumental in data centers, allowing for the consolidation of diverse workloads and applications on a unified server while maintaining robust isolation between them.

The term "x86 Virtual Machine" denotes the emulation of x86-based hardware environments within virtualization software. Its historical trajectory parallels the evolution of virtualization technologies, profoundly impacting computing systems' efficiency and scalability. This innovation reshaped enterprise environments and the landscape of cloud computing by enabling efficient utilization of resources and facilitating diverse operating systems' simultaneous execution on a singular physical machine.


Containers: Containers are a type of virtualization technology that allow multiple isolated applications to run on a single physical machine. They are lighter weight than traditional virtual machines and provide faster start-up times and more efficient use of resources.

Hypervisors: Hypervisors are virtualization software that run on a host operating system and allow multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical machine. Examples of hypervisors include VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer.

Sandboxed environments: Sandboxed environments are isolated environments used for testing or running untrusted software. They provide a level of isolation from the host operating system, and can be used to run applications or scripts in a controlled environment. Examples of sandboxed environments include those provided by browser vendors for web applications, or those used by security software to isolate potentially harmful software.

  • Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVM): Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVM) are a decentralized virtual computing environment running on the Ethereum blockchain.

  • Network-enhanced virtual machines (VM): Network-enhanced virtual machines (VM) are designed to facilitate better management and control of cloud-based resources. This technology helps optimize network performance, ensure secure communications and protect data integrity while providing faster access to applications running in the cloud.