Smart contracts integrated into the blockchain are able to operate in almost all spheres amenable to automation. Nevertheless, there is an informal classification of the types of such projects spread among developers, which is designed to facilitate their efforts. Let’s take a closer look at each of these classifications.
Smart Legal Contract
The main feature of such smart contracts is their compliance with real legal contracts drawn up on paper. This implies the fact that counterparties of such a smart contract are not only obliged to fulfill the terms of the agreement, but also bear legal responsibility for it. The scope of application can vary: from real estate transactions to operations on converting digital money into fiat.
Today, most of the active smart contracts belong to this type. In particular, almost all cryptocurrency exchanges use Smart Legal Contract, and DeFi and GameFi developers projects also focus on this type. Suffice it to say: platforms for creating and supporting tokens, NFT marketplaces, real estate trading platforms – all of them operate according to a scheme similar to offline legal mechanisms.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
There is no binding to the real legislative framework. All the rules and conditions are spelled out in the contract itself, including those concerning non-compliance with these rules. Thus, DAO contracts, being embedded in blockchain, monitor the compliance with the rules and punish the perpetrators.
Typical projects of this kind are the following managing protocols: Polkadot, Uniswap and Decentralland. According to the established rules, the management of such projects is carried out by the holders of the corresponding native tokens. That is, they are the internal “police” and the legislative branch of government: they are delegated the rights to adjust the blockchain code, change the fee amount and rules for charging fees. Surely, all these actions are carried out on the basis of consensus. As a rule, smart contracts of the DAO type are responsible for achieving consensus: they organize and conduct voting and count votes.
Application Logic Contracts
Intellectual contracts of this type are responsible for the interaction of blockchain with a certain control program. A good example is the smart contract of the Spider Tanks game, which allows you to introduce an individual NFT into the gameplay. ALC smart contracts are often the link between oracle and blockchain.
Now that we have figured out the classification of SC, let’s try to consider the algorithm for their development.
Features of creating smart contracts
So, let’s consider the sequence of steps used to develop a smart contract of any complexity, regardless of the scope of its use.
Choosing the right platform
Although most smart contracts employ Ethereum blockchain platform, many worthy competitors have entered the market recently, so the choice is not that easy. The point is that the Ethereum blockchain does not have a high speed of operation, besides, it is considered too expensive to implement. There are frequent issues with scaling, so many developers prefer to use other platforms without these disadvantages: Solana, Tezos, Polygon, Cardano, Hyperledger and a number of less “hyped”, but quite functional.
The capabilities of some blockchain platforms are given in the table:
Choice of development tools
The development environment is also very important, but here the choice is great. As for the set of components, there are mandatory elements (for example, a programming language), and there are those that you can do without. Let’s consider the most popular tools and their approximate composition:
|Integrated Developer Environment||Visual Studio Code, SettleMint, Reniz, Atom, EthFiddle|
|Frameworks||Hardhat, Brownie, ApeWorX, Truffle, DappTools|
|Test networks||Rinkeby, Hyperledger Umbra, Goerli, Ropsten, Kovan|
|Crypto Wallets||Metamask, Coinbase, Binance, TrustWallet, AlphaWallet|
The framework is an optional component, but it provides more efficient testing of the smart contract and its deployment.
Smart contract development
Programming a smart contract is the crucial stage, but it does not have to be done “from scratch”. You can use ready-made templates by searching for them on relevant resources, or use libraries distributed under open source conditions. Note that many blockchains provide developers with their own sets of tools.
The importance of complying with the security requirements of a smart contract is beyond doubt. Since in most cases we are talking about open source software, it is very important to avoid the vulnerabilities in the program that can be exploited by qualified hackers. Many of these “holes” can be detected at the testing stage. If you deploy a smart contract written with errors, it will no longer be possible to change it, which is fraught with big troubles.
Smart Contract Deployment
The final stage of development. If errors appear as a result of the SC operation, you will need to launch a hard fork with corrections, but the old version of smart contract will not be eliminated from the blockchain, and if it cannot be deactivated in some way, then these errors can completely ruin the reputation of your startup.
Let’s consider some features of choosing blockchain and programming language.
As for the programming language, you`d better choose a compiled or interpreted language. Among the first are the well–established Solidity and Vyper, the most well-known interpreted language is Python. Both types have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, but compiled ones are much more widespread. The Solidity platform, for example, is good because it is compatible with EVM, which is used by many blockchains.
As for choosing blockchain, a large number of factors need to be taken into account here, and since knowledge of specific programming languages is primary, your choice should depend on this, and only then on the features of the blockchain and its ecosystem. Of course, Ethereum, due to its prevalence and reliability, can be called a good choice, but on one condition: if the high cost of transactions and the low speed of their processing are not a big obstacle for your project. And if, for example, you want to integrate your smart contract with dApps, then there is simply no alternative to Ethereum.