Introduction to InterValue’s Smart Contracts
Buzzwords such as “decentralized networks” and “Smart Contracts” are quite redundant in the blockchain space. But what exactly is a "Smart Contract"? This is a fairly new concept that many people know very little about. Today, we interviewed Dr. Su, in charge of Smart Contract research and development among the InterValue team. He enlightened us about Smart Contracts and how they can be used.
According to the dictionary, a contract is “a promise or set of promises that are legally enforceable and, if violated, allow the injured party access to legal remedies”.
A "Smart Contract" is a computer code running on a blockchain and containing a set of rules under which the parties agree to interact with each other. It is automatically triggered when specific data conditions are detected. In general, a Smart Contract is a special agreement designed to provide, validate and enforce contracts.
Compared with traditional contracts, the biggest feature and advantage of Smart Contracts is that data cannot be deleted or tampered with. The entire process is transparent and traceable, ensuring more transparency in the way contracts are executed. Because all behaviors are permanently recorded on the blockchain, the interference of malicious behaviors on the normal execution of the contract can be avoided. In addition, the decentralized nature of blockchain technology alleviates the risks related to the traditional centralized contracts, which allows for more cost-effectiveness and reliability. When all conditions specified in the Smart Contract are met, the code will automatically execute without the need of a central authority. No manual process is required and this ensures that the issuer do not default. Although current Smart Contracts are still in their infancy and suffer some problems such as insufficient security, low privacy, and limited external resources, application prospects are close to infinite. Eventually, a large part of traditional contracts will be replaced by Smart Contracts.
Let’s take a closer look at InterValue’s Smart Contract technology. Since Ethereum is the most widely used blockchain platform for Smart Contract design and uses Solidity as the programming language, it has been decided that InterValue's first-generation Smart Contracts will also use Solidity. The major upgrade will consist in implementing tools for formal verification of Smart Contract code, which Ethereum is lacking.
Ethereum's Smart Contracts are based on a chain structure with simple logic and a large number of contract applications. The main shortcoming is that they cannot be executed concurrently and suffer from security flaws.
Unlike Ethereum's Smart Contracts, InterValue's Smart Contracts run through the HashNet consensus mechanism, and transactions are executed concurrently, much faster than Ethereum's Smart Contracts. During the process of Smart Contract writing, the formal verification tool and the sandbox will provide great help to programmers.
It is also worth noting that InterValue’s network runs through a DAG structure and transactions are confirmed in parallel across different shards. This requires us to ensure that the status of the contract-related accounts is consistent during the execution of the contract.
InterValue’s Smart Contracts also include the following three features: tamper resistance, high performance and scalability. From a performance point of view, the MVM virtual machine is used as the execution environment of the Smart Contract. Execution is very fast and the resource requirements are low. It is perfect suits short programs like Smart Contracts.
The InterValue team has already implemented the compilation and execution of the contract language, and it is now further integrating Smart Contract execution into the consensus process, designing a compiler for common languages and building a library of standard contracts. The team also conducted an extensive study on security issues with Smart Contracts. Thanks to formal verification tools, sandbox and malicious behavior detection, security audits can be performed in a smooth manner. Of course, these tools cannot prevent vulnerabilities caused by contract writers' negligence.
Smart Contract applications will undoubtedly grow in popularity. As InterValue's research on Smart Contracts continues to advance, the team encourages the community and supporters to pay a close attention to the progress being made every day as all. The InterValue team is committed to working hard and deliver on its promises