Simple Rules to Write Better Smart Contracts

Rising applications in many end-user sectors are crucial market drivers for smart contracts. Self-executing programs significantly impact finance, real estate, healthcare, and gaming, to name a few, reducing or eliminating the need for third-party intermediaries. The development of blockchain technology is expected to accelerate the adoption of smart contracts. It will only improve as governments, private corporations, and universities continue researching and investing in blockchain technology. Smart contracts are the fundamental building blocks of Ethereum applications. Anyone can use them if they have Ethereum’s native token, which can be bought on cryptocurrency exchanges. Price movements go up and down at all hours of the day.

Traditional contracts can be replaced with smart ones executed automatically once pre-programmed conditions are satisfied. They’re enforceable as long as they follow the basic rules of contractual agreements. The difficulty doesn’t lie in writing a smart contract but in understanding how it fits into the larger scheme of things. Here are some best practices for smart contract development.

Focus On the Goal to Keep the Project Headed in The Right Direction

The purpose is the contribution you want to make. Think twice before doing anything – in other words, have a clear understanding of what you want the smart contract to do. Generally speaking, the main purpose of a smart contract is to formalize new relationships and outline various legal obligations that parties owe one another. As mentioned earlier, the outcome is automatically executed when the contract conditions are realized, so there’s no need to wait for the result. Your purpose will include major goals and objectives that will help you measure success. Address the classic questions: Who, What, Where, When, and Why? 

Keep It Simple

The more complex the smart contract is, the more ways there will be to fail and the more difficult it will be to explain it to someone else (who needs to understand it). The best course of action is to ensure the contract logic is simple to minimize the likelihood of misunderstanding, misinterpreting, or manipulating the terms of the agreement. Your smart contract should contain little code and a more unified interface; this allows you to easily adapt it to your needs. You can transfer the self-executing agreement to any platform with a minimal number of problems. In case you didn’t know, Ethereum isn’t the only blockchain technology to support smart contracts. Examples of ecosystems include but aren’t limited to Bitcoin, Solana, and Algorand.

The rich functionality of smart contracts is the reason why platforms like Ethereum are so popular. Bitcoin has very low computing capability, meaning that developing smart contracts with rich logic is challenging in the Bitcoin scripting language. By contrast, Ethereum supports advanced and bespoke smart contracts owing to the Ethereum Virtual Machine. The smart contracts are written in Solidity. Feature-rich languages such as Solidity allow for more sophisticated smart contracts, yet they’re prone to errors and harder to secure. The point is you should be careful with extra functionality, as you risk adding vulnerabilities to the code.

Select The Language for Smart Contract Development

If you’ve had experience developing software, you’ll be A-OK. Over the years, new smart contract programming languages have emerged, such as:

  • Vyper. It’s a contract-oriented, pythonic programming language aimed at the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Vyper is the second most widely used Web3 programming language after Solidity. With added security features (e.g., overflow checking and bounds), it encourages the writing of secure, easily auditable smart contracts.
  • Yul. Yul was developed by the Ethereum Foundation to enable developers to write code for multiple platforms. It excels at optimizing smart contracts and reducing gas costs. Yul is much like Assembly but with higher-level features. Yul+ is designed for optimistic rollup contracts; it’s a highly-efficient extension of Yul.
  • Cairo. It’s a STARK-based, Turing-complete language for scaling applications on the Ethereum Mainnet. With Cairo, you can build fast, scalable smart contracts. The computations are realized off-chain by a STARK prover, and the result is sent to a STARK verifier. Not only is Cairo very specific but also, it’s not bound by the limitations of the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
  • Rust. It was developed to build high-programming applications without the issue of invalid memory. You can write a smart contract and deploy it to the NEAR testnet. Rust is compatible with blockchains like Polkadot and Solana.  
  • Move. Move is a programming language for developing safe smart contracts originally created by Facebook. It’s mainly used within the Aptos and Sui blockchains, unsupported outside of that.

Leverage Blockchain-Specific Development Practices

The success of the smart contract relies on the development process, so make sure to use established blockchain-specific development practices so that everything runs smoothly. You can’t just move fast and break things. Write code that will prevent security vulnerabilities, avoid unnecessary complexity, and minimize gas usage by leveraging storage-efficient data structures. A private smart contract gives permissioned access; it can hold the funds in escrow until the outcome has been delivered. The parties involved in the agreement are protected from outside interference (or malicious activity). If you make the smart contract public, it will be auditable and verifiable by anyone with access to the open-source code on the blockchain.

Test, Test, Test

Needless to say, you should write as many tests as possible to ensure the smart contract functions as it should. Tiny flaws in the code can result in cryptocurrency or NFTs being lost, so testing is of the essence because it outlines vulnerabilities. Attention must be paid to the fact that each blockchain has its own set of tools. If you use Ethereum to develop smart contracts, you can use automated testing tools to check the smart contract for errors in execution. At times, they can miss certain bugs and produce false positives. This is why you should run tests in real-world scenarios.

The Takeaway

All in all, if you’re technically inclined, you can write a smart contract that can’t be altered or deleted. Transactions are cryptographically signed by the creator, so it’s pretty simple to safeguard access. Find a programming language that’s optimized for transparency and security.

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