When it comes to decentralised and highly scalable blockchain solutions, investors and developers are always looking for the next big thing. Whilst Ethereum has been the go-to platform of choice when creating smart contracts and tokens, a growing number of ICOs are considering other blockchains.
A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore, Singapore’s Yale-NUS College, and the University College of London discovered several flaws and vulnerabilities within the Ethereum smart contracts. In one particular incident, the team were able to single out an incident where a user was able to indefinitely lock-down over $200 million of ETH on the Parity Project blockchain. This, along with other incidences has led to developers considering other platforms such as Stellar (XLM) which prides itself on having its own type of smart contract.
It is a common occurrence to find flaws in new types of technology. After the ground-breaking release, the technology performs very well until a bug is discovered or a mistake is made. When these incidents occur, other mistakes and vulnerabilities are often found, especially in the case of Ethereum smart contracts.
The aforementioned research team carried out extensive testing over 970,000 live smart contracts and found that 34,200 of them had vulnerabilities of some description. The issues with the security of the smart contracts were all discovered within the first 10 seconds of testing.
Stellar Smart Contracts (SSC)
Because of this, Stellar Smart Contracts are providing a possible alternative for Ethereum based smart contracts. Whilst XLM contracts are more expressive than ETH based ones, they do have limitations and are not as flexible as their Ethereum counterparts. This does, however, mean that they are less accessible to hackers.
The fact that SSCs require multi-signature authentication on transactions is also another feather in their cap as this sort of precaution would have eliminated some of the vulnerabilities with the Parity project. Furthermore, SSCs have the ability to conduct Batching and Atomicity transactions which means they have the ability to put together several operations in one single execution. Atomicity is a guarantee that if one of the operations in the batch fails, the rest of them will not go through. The process of Sequencing that is also present with SSCs ensures that certain operations do not go through successfully if and when other transactions are submitted. Last but not least, time constraints ensure that all transactions are completed within a set time and if they fail, they will become null and void.
For a Stellar Smart Contract to work, a team must sit down and agree on conditions, design, and the overall purpose of the contract and a consensus must be reached in order for it to function.