When debugging an Ethereum transaction with Remix, there is a section called "Step details" on the left-hand side of the screen:

Remix step details

Is the "vm trace step" the same as the program counter?

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No, that's just a linear counter that disregards the EVM rule that push instructions increase the program counter (PC) by at least 2 (as compared to all others opcodes, which increase the PC by 1).

The program counter is to be found on the column on the left-hand side, next to the opcodes:


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