Developers and cryptocurrency investors are constantly looking for blockchain alternatives that achieve high scalability while at the same time remaining decentralized. Ethereum has been, for some time now, the go to platform when creating tokens that run on smart contracts. A majority of Initial Coin Offerings are considering other blockchains especially after researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore’s Yale-NUS College and the UK’s University College London (UCL), discovered that Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts have vulnerabilities. The team singled out an incident where an individual was able to indefinitely lock-down more than $200 million of Ethereum (ETH) on the Parity Project blockchain. Essentially this and a series of other incidences and flaws are making ICOs consider other platforms, for instance, Stellar (XLM) which takes pride in having its own version of smart contracts.
From time to time, people discover problems in technologies while using them, this is usually after groundbreaking releases. The technology performs excellently until a bug or mistake, for example, the Parity debacle mentioned above. Consequently, other mistakes and vulnerabilities are discovered when research like the one identified above on Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts where the researchers studied over 970,000 live smart contracts. They carried out vulnerability and bug tests in addition to writing an extensive paper.
The research found that 34,200 of all the smart contracts that were downloaded for study had different kinds of vulnerabilities. At the same time, 2,365 of these were highlighted for having higher vulnerabilities while 3,759 had been picked to test for proof positive results. The vulnerabilities were discovered within the initial 10 seconds of performing the test. Such kind of vulnerabilities can make the teams behind ICOs to look at alternatives to using Ethereum platform. The ICO space has become a very sensitive one with looming uncertainty due to regulations. Investors are looking for accountability on how their money is utilized; therefore there is nothing to be left to chance when choosing a platform for smart contracts that will ensure the safety and the success of the ICO.
Stellar Smart Contracts (SSC)
Consequently, Stellar (XLM) is presenting an alternative for smart contracts. Although, Stellar (XLM) smart contracts are quite expressive, they have some limits and are not as flexible as Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts. On the contrary, this also makes them less accessible to hackers. Stellar Smart Contracts (SSC) is “expressed as compositions of transactions that are connected and executed using various constraints implemented by the coder. Such constraints include: multisignature, batching/atomicity, sequence and time bounds.”
Furthermore, the multisignature aspect of the SSC requires that various parties sign on transactions that are originating from an account. This feature would have eliminated the situation with the Parity project because of the verification required to complete a transaction. Moreover Batching or Atomicity refers to the concept which puts together various operations in a single transaction. Atomicity is a guarantee that if one of the operations in the batch fails, the rest of the operations will not go through. Sequencing, on the other hand, ensures that particular operations do not go through successfully if alternative transactions/operations are submitted. Lastly, time bounds ensure that transactions are completed in the set time, failure to which they become null and void.
Stellar Smart Contracts require that a team sit down and agree to some conditions, design and the purpose of the contract. Mobius ICO has used SSC to close the gap between the internet and blockchain worlds using various simple protocols that achieve cross-blockchain login, payment as well as governance.