The Urbit Virtual Machine

Network Illustration

As we approach the tenth year of Ethereum’s conception, the EVM has transcended its reference blockchain. The EVM is now used on dozens of blockchains to settle billions of dollars worth of value. The EVM is a common language akin to Javascript or TCP/IP. It is the language of value, a convention of shared state.

It is time to bring the EVM home to Urbit. It’s time to augment it for the next hundred million users. It’s time to launch the Urbit Virtual Machine.

What is the Urbit Virtual Machine?

Put simply, the Urbit Virtual Machine is an L1 EVM network running natively on Urbit.

The Urbit Virtual Machine (UVM) is a superset of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), running natively on Urbit instances. It maintains EVM equivalence with the option to add Urbit native opcodes.

Why an Urbit EVM?

Secondary Benefits


$U Citadel

$U is a universal constant. You can feel it in your essence.

$U is the unit of account for the UVM blockchain. There will only ever be 24 single character ticker symbols. UVM merits ownership of this extremely scarce real estate.

$U is Urbit’s value layer, the fungible sinew between Urbit applications

If one encounters tooling that requires a multi-character ticker symbol, the colloquial ticker given shall be $URBT.

Token Supply

500mm **$U** have been created. With 80% of the $U supply granted to the Urbit community.

Token Allocation

Allocation Chart

Community Allocation

Community Allocation Chart

Airdrop allocations:

Peripheral Addresses:

Every address that appeared in the PKI received 283 $U That includes transfer proxies, spawn proxies, voting proxies, and management proxies.

L2 Ship Owners

Every L2 ship owner address received 921 $U

L1 Ship Owners

Every L1 ship owner address received 12,017 $U

Booted Ship Owners

Every active running ship received 145,195 $U

(Active ship snapshot was performed July 20th, 2022)

Ethereum Addresses

Additionally, 4,509,613 Ethereum addresses received 0.1 $U:

An additional, illiquid, 500mm $U (out of 1 billion total) have been locked as a war-chest for protocol development, incentive programs, future airdrops, or to be burned in it’s entirety.

Your airdrop can be seed funding for contribution to the UVM, or something else in Urbit. $U is is seed funding for the entire ecosystem.

Holding your airdrop for lucrative validator opportunities is recommended.

The Case For $U

As Urbit displaces all of computing, people will come home to Urbit’s own blockchain

Ethereum is presently a $200 Billion dollar protocol. UVM will surpass it through superior decentralization, and superior UX.

Today’s “Ethereum killers” compromise on decentralization to lower gas fees. But one look at their respective market caps shows that the capital allocators value secure, decentralized blockchains above all else.

Urbit’s breakthrough ability to allow users to easily run server side software will drastically increase node count which will allow increased state capacity through sharding. Developers and investors will assign blue chip status to the UVM.

Crypto has a decentralization problem

“A lie is sweet in the beginning and bitter in the end, and truth is bitter in the beginning, and sweet in the end.”

The most decentralized major smart contract protocol: Ethereum, has active censorship on a substantial, if not a majority, of it’s infrastructure: Ethermine, USDC, Infura, & Alchemy, are presently censoring transactions from specific contracts and addresses.

60% of staked PoS Ethereum is currently sitting with four vulnerable entities: Lido (30%), Coinbase (15%), Kraken (8%), and Binance (7%). These entities are vulnerable to censorship pressures, if greater than 50% of staked eth refuses censored transactions, they cannot be included in the chain.

Any protocol that is technically able to discriminate against transactions, inevitably will do so. Said protocol will descend into a virtue spiral, where every transaction is subject to filtration or worse.

Decentralization is an opportunity

Urbit’s UX enables every user to easily run their own validator. This fixes the user’s incentive to delegate tokens to centralized validation pools, as validation is simple and baked in to the Urbit OS.

Urbit is disrupting the command line.

Additionally, the ability to quickly merge new zkEVM research, will prevent validators from seeing transaction content, thus preventing transaction descrimination. An L1 who’s transactions are not visible to validators and infrastructure providers will attract the most capital.

Urbit users are already in the Citadel

UVM ownership has been seeded to the most forward looking, technically gifted community members in the crypto ecosystem. Throughout history technical early adopters have been leading indicators of wealth, a trend that will benefit UVM.

Every ship is a UVM user

With the PKI (Urbit IDs), every user is automatically able to receive tokens and other UVM state. There is no onboarding friction.

The UVM unifies L1 and L2 address space

Private keys used for ship administration on L2 and L1 are both equally valid on the UVM. This saves the PKI from a deeply hindering fragmentation.

Validator UX = superior validator count

Four click validator install increases the validator count, which increases decentralization & security, which increases state capacity in a sharding scenario. Node count is the hidden factor in solving the blockchain trilemma.

$U <-> PKI Flywheel


U Will attract EVM users, which will increase the demand for ship ownership, which will in turn, increase the interest in $U, and so on, and so forth. Users will come for the yields, and stay for the beauty of the Urbit application ecosystem.

1 + 1 = 3, The accretive full stack: blockchain + OS

The dream stack: most blockchains can only dream of having a clean slate OS to pair with their state chain.

Application driven demand

Urbit application development will increase transaction volume and demand for $U.

EVM Equivalence accelerates development

EVM equivalence allows the use of familiar, audited, lindy contracts on the UVM.

Urbit native DEX, Money market, Stablecoins, NFT Marketplaces will increase demand for $U. Native Urbit integration will improve the UX, and reduce frontend UI censorship risk.


Only the Urbit community has the technical chops, and the culture of censorship resistance to incubate the people’s EVM.

Airdrop -> Validators

With 80% of the liquid supply of $U allocated to the Urbit community, and the remaining allocated for development and services, the $U validator citadel will be composed of the most forward thinking, technically literate, and pro civil liberty community members in crypto. Such a citadel is essential during the technical transition from a censorship resistant, to a censorship proof protocol.

Validator yield

Ease of validation creates demand for $U and reduces selling pressure, as stakers need to buy $U to access APR yield.

Deep integration

As Urbit disrupts all of computing, the ability to add Urbit specific opcodes will increase the UVM’s moat against other blockchains. Protocols will come home to $U to do things other blockchains just can’t do.

Multichain future

Ethereum maintaining a reasonable amount of state for decentralization is understandable. However, this necessitates a cap on the amount of activity the network can support.

As Ethereum core developers discuss state rent/pruning, it is a certainty that the global demand for shared state will exceed the single hard drive’s worth of storage on the EVM. Thus a multi chain future is ensured.

Winner takes most dynamics don’t apply when growth is intentionally constrained, a dynamic that will benefit the UVM.

Claim Flow

Your tokens are already deposited to the Urbit PKI, no “claim” is required. You can access and use your $U using the same keys that control your Urbit ship. UVM is compatible with all Ethereum infrastructure and can be used with your favorite wallet/tooling.

Allocation Recap:

L1 Ship Owners:


If your Urbit ships are on L1, and are owned by addresses listed in Metamask, (hot or hardware wallet) accessing $U is quite simple.

Click “Add to Metamask” Add UVM to Metamask

Click “Approve” in the Metamask modal

Approve network

Click “Switch network”

Switch to UVM

Then re-open Metamask and click the avatar icon

Select the address chooser

This will conveniently show you a list of all of your addresses with their $U balances, click a funded address to access that account

Metamask Screenshot

You can transfer your $U, interact with dapps, perform development, and more

Your $U address

L2 Ship Owners:

If your ship is on L2, the mnemonic key that controls your address was given to you in your master ticket. Open your Master Ticket (A “ship-name-Master Ticket.png” file from the file you received when you first booted your ship), and use the “Ownership Seed” mnemonic (highlighted in red) in your favorite Ethereum wallet to access your $U. Master Ticker Picture The first address generated (highlighted in blue) will be the ownership address holding your $U.

Use the seed to activate your address in

Managment Address $U

Management Proxy All L2 ships received a management addresses which was funded with $U, and can be a useful unattached secondary address. You received your management key in your alongside your master ticket. You can view your management key in bridge, see below.


You can view your master ticket, management, and other $U funded proxy addresses through Bridge

Your Next Steps

The UVM has been seeded, it now belongs to the Urbit ecosystem

Integrate $U into your Urbit app

Examples: Send tips to poasters on %channel, make an ad-hoc DAO with a multisig, or place a wager in %chess.

Send tokens to any ship. $U is the perfect complement to the Urbit identity. Every user is pre equipped to interact with $U through the PKI, and through the airdrop, every owner and peripheral PKI address is pre funded with $U.

Build Protocols

Imagine an Urbit community owned DEX, an Urbit owned money market, an Urbit owned yield aggregator, and an Urbit owned NFT marketplace. Additional innovations over incumbent protocols can be achieved by incorporating the native Urbit stack.

1889 Oklahoma Land Rush

Contribute to the UVM

The UVM has a roadmap, and we need you to contribute.

Head over to Roadmap & Bounties to see the roadmap, or build your own feature/library.

Run your own node

A community owned protocol is run by it’s community. Click through to the developer section for documentation on running your own node.

In the near future we will migrate to PoS and thousands of validators will be needed.

Read the whitepaper

Share the text and ideas with other Urbit community members.

Work on UVM full time

UVM is selecting a CTO and additional developers from the community, and has an allocation to compensate full time contributors. Hop in the development group, or message ~doplur, ~bindel-batdul, or ~mipput-bosted if you are interested in helping bring all of crypto home to Urbit. web+urbitgraph://group/~bindel-batdul/urbit-virtual-machine

Technical Primer

UVM is an EVM superset protocol. It provides all EVM endpoints, with the option to add powerful Urbit specific APIs.

Major Development Phases
  1. UVM/EVM Client functionality 1a - Read blockchain state, render locally 1b - Maintain wallet keys/hardware wallet integration 1c - Write to EVM compatible blockchains 1d - Provide documented Hoon SDK for app developers

  2. Hoon Consensus Layer

  3. Hoon Execution Layer

  4. Privacy & Scale

    • zkEVM support

    • Rollups

    • Sharding

    • L1 transaction obfuscation

2-4 Will be developed concurrently

Technical Roadmap

UVM began life with Clique consensus. In the near future the network will migrate to proof of stake. As consensus development proceeds, a minority Hoon client will begin operating and begin to establish lindyness. The targeted validation share of the network will increase as the primary Hoon validation client matures. Development of a second and third client will further diversify the validation network and allow Urbit native validator nodes to take the majority of the network.

The execution layer will follow a similar path.

As the benefits of the Urbit stack become more well known, we expect a material percentage of Ethereum mainnet validation to be performed by Urbit native nodes.

Design Ethos

$U is the decentralization maximalist EVM network. Whenever centralization risks are identified: funded, concerted, and preemptive architectures will be developed & implemented. $U will not be decentralized by crises, $U will be decentralized by design.

Roadmap and Bounties

UVM has allocated a percentage of the genesis supply of $U to the UVM Roadmap.

There will be a general second airdrop in the future, for general participants, contributors, and efforts that don’t fall into these categories.

Task Description Bounty
Hoon UVM SDK Hoon native UVM/EVM bindings & documentation for app developers 0.5%
EVM Read\Write Client A native client to interact with UVM and EVM blockchains 1%
UVM Wallet A native wallet to manage balances and send transactions 0.5%
Azimuth App A native app to interact with Urbit address space 0.5%
EVM Validation Client A native UVM and EVM PoS validation client 1%
EVM Execution Client Geth EVM Emulator in Arvo 1%
Second EVM Validator A second UVM validator with a separate codebase 0.5%
First five apps Grant for the first five apps to integrate $U 0.05%
UVM CTO UVM Technical Leadership Role 2.5%
Hoon -> EVM Compiler A compiler and tooling to produce EVM binary using Hoon TBD
Transaction obfuscation Obfuscating transaction contents to validator nodes by default TBD
Rollups Persistence of UVM state rollups to other L1s, and UVM L2 functionality TBD
zkEVM Merge TBD
L1 Obfuscation TBD
Sharding TBD
RPC Endpoint: Get owner address An RPC endpoint to lookup a ship’s owner/manager EVM address TBD
$U Faucet Bot resistant developer faucet 0.1%
WUBT Wrapped Planet Token A wrapped planet token native to the UVM 0.5%

If you are interested in working full time on any of these efforts, check in to the UVM development channel

Founding Principles

As Urbit approaches it’s J curve of growth and it’s eternal September, now is the time to take a cultural snapshot and leverage the Urbit ethos to create an EVM that safeguards user sovereignty.