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Challenges and Common Solutions in Smart Contract Development

Challenges and Common Solutions in Smart Contract Development

Veröffentlicht: 2021 Oktober

Journal: IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering

Verlag: Institute of electrical and electronics engineers

Nicht-referierte Veröffentlichung


Smart contracts are a promising means of formalizing and reliably enforcing agreements between entities using distributed ledger technology (DLT). Research has revealed that a significant number of smart contracts are subject to programming flaws, making them vulnerable to attacks and leading to detrimental effects, such as asset loss. Researchers and developers call for a thorough analysis of challenges to identify their causes and propose solutions. To respond to these calls, we conducted two literature reviews and diverse expert interviews and synthesized scattered knowledge on challenges and solutions. We identified 29 challenges (e.g., code visibility, code updateability, and encapsulation) and 60 solutions (e.g., gas limit specification, off-ledger computations, and shadowing). Moreover, we developed 20 software design patterns (SDPs) in collaboration with smart contract developers. The SDPs help developers adjust their programming habits and thus support them in their daily development practices. Our results provide actionable knowledge for smart contract developers to overcome the identified challenges and offer support for comparing smart contract integration concepts across three fundamentally different DLT protocols (i.e., Ethereum, EOSIO, and Hyperledger Fabric). Moreover, we support developers in becoming aware of peculiarities in smart contract development and the resulting benefits and drawbacks.

DOI Link: 10.1109/TSE.2021.3116808


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