A Comprehensive Survey on Smart Contract Construction and Execution: Paradigms, Tools and Systems

by   Bin Hu, et al.

Smart contract has been regarded as one of the most promising and appealing notions in blockchain technology. Its self-enforcing and event-driven features make some online activities possible without a trusted third party, especially those related to financial and business. However, problems such as high security risk and low processing rate prevent it from being widely applied. In order to facilitate the construction of secure smart contract, and to improve the execution performance, various schemes and tools are proposed. However, to our best knowledge, a comprehensive survey for these proposals is absent, hindering new researchers and developers from a quick start. This paper surveys the literature on constructing and executing smart contracts over the period 2008-2020. We review the literature in three categories: 1) design paradigms that give examples and patterns on contract construction; 2) design tools that facilitate the development of secure smart contracts by providing security analysis or other auxiliary helps; and 3) extensions and alternative systems that improve the privacy or efficiency of smart contract executions. We start by a brief introduction of essential backgrounds, and then investigate the contract construction schemes on the most prevalent and representative smart contract platforms, i.e., Bitcoin and Ethereum. We list and group them into the first two categories according to their utility. As for the last category, we review the existing contract execution mechanisms, and further divide the state-of-the-art solutions into three classes: private contracts with auxiliary tools, off-chain channels, and extensions on the core functionality. Finally, we summarize the future research directions towards secure and privacy-preserving smart contracts. As far as we know, our work is the first systematic survey on schemes of contract construction and execution.


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