The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) has indeed become something of a standard in the blockchain world for several reasons:
Mature Development: Ethereum was one of the first blockchain platforms to support smart contracts. As a result, it has a mature development environment with robust tools, libraries, and community support.
Network Effect: The large and active developer community around Ethereum creates a network effect. New projects want to tap into this existing ecosystem for quicker adoption and stronger developer engagement.
Interoperability: EVM compatibility allows for easier migration or interaction with projects originally built on Ethereum. This is valuable for decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, decentralized exchanges (DEXes), and other dApps.
Rich Ecosystem of dApps: Ethereum has a vast array of decentralized applications (dApps) which can potentially interact with new EVM-compatible chains, thereby offering immediate utility for new projects.
Developer Knowledge: Since many blockchain developers have learned to build on the EVM, it's much easier to attract talent if your project is EVM-compatible.
Audit and Security: Many security audit firms are familiar with EVM bytecode and Solidity, Ethereum's primary programming language. This makes it easier to secure smart contracts on EVM-compatible chains.
Token Standards: Ethereum has well-established token standards like ERC-20 and ERC-721. Projects that conform to these standards can easily interact with existing infrastructure like wallets and exchanges.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi): Ethereum is at the forefront of the DeFi movement. Being EVM-compatible means that projects can easily tap into various financial primitives like lending, borrowing, or decentralized trading.
That said, there are also reasons to consider alternatives to the EVM:
Scalability: The EVM has limitations in terms of throughput and latency. Other architectures might offer better scalability.
Specialized Use-Cases: Some projects may have specific requirements that are not easily met by the EVM, requiring a different kind of virtual machine or computational model.
Innovation: By not being tied to the EVM, a project has the freedom to innovate in ways that could potentially offer advantages over Ethereum in certain respects.
Consensus Mechanisms: Ethereum uses a specific type of consensus mechanism (currently transitioning from PoW to PoS). Projects may prefer to use different consensus mechanisms that are not compatible with the EVM.
Governance and Economics: Different chains might want to experiment with different governance models or economic incentives that may not be easily implemented within the constraints of the EVM.