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How to Develop a Smart Contract?

Cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and smart contracts have become a subject of interest currently. With the prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies growing rapidly, it has opened up new possibilities. 

For both developers and users, cryptos and blockchain have become a sort of modern-day gold rush. This has made many developers create their own tokens. Etherscan has found out that around 49% of the transactions that take place with Ethereum cryptocurrency (ETH) are done within smart contracts. 

Now, the question comes, what are smart contracts? How do they work? Can you, as a developer, create a smart contract? In this article, I’ll walk you through everything that you want to know about developing a smart contract. 

What is a Smart Contract?

A smart contract is a piece of code or a program that helps in regulating transactions with cryptocurrencies and assets between two parties. Similar to traditional contracts, smart contracts have a set of rules. These pre-determined rules govern the smart contracts, guiding them to what could happen in certain circumstances. 

The most interesting thing about smart contracts is that they are executed automatically. The automated execution of a smart contract takes place when all the conditions predefined in it are met. In case, something goes wrong during a transaction, the exchange of assets is not performed, and the contract gets revoked. 

As smart contracts are based on blockchain technology, the piece of code describing the smart contract is fully transparent and verifiable by everyone on that blockchain. Besides automated execution, there is another major benefit of a smart contract. When you use a smart contract, it does away with the need of using a third party. This makes the process more cost-effective and faster to execute. 

There are some transactions that are more complex in nature. Just consider AXA’s Fizzy (involving insurance premiums) or WeiFund app (involving crowdfunding). They are more complex and therefore need more transactions in multifarious fields. With the use of smart contracts, many functions that currently involve third parties (such as lawyers and notaries) can be removed. 

What is the process involved in the Execution of Smart Contracts?

4 steps are involved in the entire process of smart contract execution:

Step #1: Pre-Defined Contract

The counterparties involved in a smart contract transaction start by establishing the terms. Some of the examples of the pre-defined contracts are:

  • The currency in which payment will be done.
  • Rate of currency.
  • The rate of variable interest (say, LIBOR).

The conditions for execution are also pre-defined:

  • Time and date
  • Rate of variable interest (say, LIBOR) at a given value

Step #2: Events

Specific events act as triggers for the execution of contracts. What do I mean by events? Here are some examples of events:

  • Initiation of a transaction.
  • Information received.

Step #3: Execution of Smart Contract and Transfer of Value

It is the terms of a smart contract that decide the movement of value. The value transfer happens only when the conditions are met.

Step #4: Settlement of Smart Contract Execution

  • The on-chain assets (which are mainly digital assets like cryptocurrency) are settled automatically.
  • The off-chain assets (which are mainly physical assets like stocks and fiat currencies that are represented off the chain) change to accounts on the ledger. They are then matched on the basis of the off-chain settlement instructions. 

How to Develop a Smart Contract?

A smart contract can be created on:

  1. Ethereum Blockchain
  2. TRON blockchain
  3. Binance Smart Chain (BSC) blockchain

#1 How to Write a Smart Contract on Ethereum Blockchain?

Ethereum blockchain is the most preferred technology for developing smart contracts. Solidity language is used to develop Ethereum smart contracts. This language is quite similar to that of JavaScript in its syntax. 

Before going into details about how to write a smart contract in Solidity, it is important to consider the things you should consider while developing a smart contract. 

What to Consider before you Develop a Smart Contract?

Consider these 4 things before developing a smart contract:

  1. Does Creating a Smart Contract for your Business Make Sense?

Not every business needs a smart contract. If your business operates on a blockchain platform, developing a smart contract becomes simple. It also makes sense. In case, your business doesn’t deal with blockchain, you should learn more about it. 

  1. Are there Limitations of Smart Contracts?

Yes, there are certain limitations of smart contracts:

  1. You can apply these smart contracts to things that need complete execution in the digital world. 
  2. Blockchain systems are decentralized domains. Therefore, regulations are not legally tenable. If there are cases that need outside involvement, these smart contracts become legally null and void. 
  3. Smart contracts are based on objective facts and not on subjective judgments of parties (which are more likely in the real world).
  4. Sophisticated variations of execution are not taken into account because smart contracts are executed in an “if-else” form.
  1. Is Planning Essential during Smart Contract Development?

When it comes to developing smart contracts, planning is essential. This is because you must have a clear idea of what you want the contract to do. 

Suppose, you want to develop a smart contract that wants to:

  • Verify transactions
  • Transfer payments for a service
  • Perform a crypto exchange

To achieve any of these goals, you have to look into something that has been created already. Otherwise, you must research the market thoroughly for understanding how beneficial it is for you. 

  1. What Tools and Technologies are Needed to Implement Ethereum Smart Contracts?
  • Solidity

This is a programming language that is used to write smart contracts on Ethereum. Solidity uses class and methods, which makes it quite similar to object-oriented programming languages. It is created on top of the Ethereum Virtual Machine or EVM. 

Though you can carry out arbitrary computations, you can use Solidity for sending and receiving tokens and store states. From the context of syntax, This smart contract programming language on Ethereum is influenced by C++, Python, and Javascript. That’s the reason why developers can easily and quickly understand the syntax of Solidity.

  • Truffle

Truffle is an Ethereum development framework on which developers can write and test their created smart contracts. This framework is written in Javascript. For the Solidity programming language, Truffle Ethereum development framework comes with a compiler. You can import compiled smart contracts from the JavaScript library of Truffle Contract. 

  • Web3.js

Web3.js is an Ethereum JavaScript API. It uses RPC calls to interact with the Ethereum network. 

  • Visual Studio Code

It is a functional code editor.

  • Ganache CLI
    Within the Truffle framework called TestRPC, it is an Ethereum remote procedure call client.
  • Parity
    To handle Ethereum accounts as well as Ethereum tokens, Parity is a secure and fast Ethereum client.
  • Node.js

Node.js is a javascript runtime environment that uses server-side programming. You can use it to test the functionality of the Ethereum smart contract. However, it also ensures its security as well as proper operation. For better results, you can install Yarn (a package manager) with Node.js. 

How to Write a Smart Contract in Solidity?

Here is a step-by-step guide for you to create and deploy Ethereum Smart Contracts with the help of Solidity language:

Step #1: Create a Crypto Wallet by using Meta-mask Chrome Extension

The first thing you have to do is download or add the MetaMask as a Chrome Extension. MetaMask is available as an extension on multiple browsers including Chrome, Firefox, and Brave. This browser wallet is also available on iOS and Android. It supports Apple Pay too.

MetaMask acts as an Ethereum browser as well as a wallet. With the help of MetaMask, you can not only create a wallet but also submit Ethereum (ETH). If you want to start writing smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain with Solidity, downloading the Metamask Chrome extension is your first step. 

Once done, you can:

  • Either create a new wallet or
  • Import an already created wallet

If you want to create a new wallet, do the following things:

  • First, click on the MetaMask icon on the top right of your browser page. 
  • A new tab on the browser will open. 
  • Click on the “Create Wallet” tab. 
  • Click on the “I agree” box to agree to the terms and conditions.
  • You’ll be prompted to create a password. Create it.
  • A secret backup phrase used to back up and restore the account will be sent to you. 

It is important to note that you shouldn’t disclose or share this secret backup phrase to anyone else. Otherwise, others may siphon off your Ethers ETH from your MetaMask wallet account. For deploying Ethereum smart contract, you must have some Ether ETH in your Ethereum wallet.

For securely preserving your secret backup phrase, you should write it down on a piece of paper and then store it in a safe place, where no one can find it. Now, you have to ensure, you’re in the “Main Ethereum Network”. You can be sure that you’re in the right place if you find a checkmark next to “Main Ethereum Network”. 

Step #2: Select a Test Network

Now, you’ve to choose a test network in your MetaMask wallet. There are 4 MetaMask wallets and they are:

  • Robsten Test Network
  • Kovan Test Network
  • Rinkeby Test Network
  • Goerli Test Network
Step #3: Add Dummy Ethers ETH to your MetaMask Wallet

For testing the smart contract, there must be some dummy Ethers ETH in your MetaMask wallet. Now, let me illustrate how you can add dummy ETH to your wallet account. 

Let’s suppose that you have selected the Robsten test network for testing a contract. Once you select it, as the initial balance you’ll find 0 ETH in your account. To receive dummy ETH, you’ve to navigate to Test Faucet and under it click on the “Deposit” button first followed by the “Get Ether” button. 

Now, click “request one ether from the faucet” to proceed. Once you do it, 1 ETH will get deposited to your MetaMask wallet. You can deposit as much ETH as you wish to the Robsten test network or any other test network you choose. You can now start writing smart contracts once you’ve deposited ETH in your Metamask wallet. 

Step #4: Write Smart Contract in Solidity by using Editor Remix

Start writing the smart contract with the help of Solidity programming language on the Remix Browser IDE. As Remix offers many features and a comprehensive development experience, it is the best option available for writing a smart contract. Usually, developers use Remix Browser IDE to write smaller-sized contracts. 

Features offered by Remix Browser IDE are:

  • Warnings: It provides warnings for you to check whether functions are constant or not. Some of the most common warnings offered are:
  • Gas cost 
  • Unsafe code
  • Checks for overlapping variable names
  • Syntax and highlighting of errors
  • Functions that are injected with Web3 objects
  • Integrated debugger
  • Static analysis
  • An environment for integrated testing and deployment
  • Facility to deploy smart contract to either Metamask or Mist directly. 

Visit https://remix.ethereum.org and start writing smart contract code.

Step #5: Create a .sol extension file

You’ve to create a .sol extension file. So, open the Remix Browser first. Now, on the top left side, you’ll find a plus icon. Click it. 


Step #6: Create a Sample Smart Contract Code for Developing ERC20 Token

For ERC20 tokens, the standard template is ERC20.sol. Here’s a sample smart contract code:

pragma solidity ^0.4.0;

import "./ERC20.sol";

contract myToken is ERC20{

mapping(address =>uint256) public amount;

uint256 totalAmount;

string tokenName;

string tokenSymbol;

uint256 decimal;

constructor() public{

totalAmount = 10000 * 10**18;

amount[msg.sender]=totalAmount;

tokenName="Mytoken";

tokenSymbol="Mytoken";

decimal=18;

}


function totalSupply() public view returns(uint256){

return totalAmount;

}

function balanceOf(address to_who) public view

returns(uint256){

return amount[to_who];

}

function transfer(address to_a,uint256 _value) public

returns(bool){

require(_value<=amount[msg.sender]);

amount[msg.sender]=amount[msg.sender]-_value;

amount[to_a]=amount[to_a]+_value;

return true;

}

}


Choose a compiler version from Remix for compiling the solidity Ethereum smart contract code. 

Step #7: Deploy your Smart Contract

Now, it is time to deploy the developed smart contract at the Ethereum test network. You’ve to navigate to the right-hand side of Remix’s window. Now, press the deploy button and wait for the transaction to get completed. Once the transaction gets completed successfully, you can view the smart contract’s address at the right-hand side of the remix window. 

Once the ERC20 token is created, it’ll be stored in the wallet of the person who is deploying the smart contract. Now, to check the ERC20 tokens in the wallet, you’ve to do the following steps:

  • Step #1: Go to the MetaMask window.
  • Step #2: Click “Add Tokens” button.
  • Step #3: Enter the address of the smart contract.
  • Step #4: Click “Ok”.
Step #8: Test an Ethereum Smart Contract

To test the smart contract you created on the Ethereum blockchain, you’ve to do the following steps:

Step #1: Run all the methods of smart contract. You’ll find all of these methods at the remix window’s right-hand side. It is from here that you can run all the processes. 

Step #2: Now, transfer some tokens to other Ethereum wallet addresses. Once the transfer is complete, call the balanceOf method for checking the balance of that address. 

Step #3: Run the totalSupply method for getting the total supply.

#2 How to write a Smart Contract on TRON?

You can create a smart contract on TRON because similar to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), it is also a Turing-complete machine. Blockchain developers can use TRON for developing smart contracts through the use of their customized blockchain system. This TRON blockchain system is secure, scalable, stable, convenient, and efficient. 

To create, deploy, and debug smart contracts on TRON blockchain, you can use an IDE, TRON Studio. For registering accounts, deploying, and triggering smart contracts, However, no support for an HTTP gateway is there still now. 

Let me walk you through in a step-by-step manner for writing a smart contract on TRON blockchain:

Step #1: Download Source Code of TRON Studio

You can download TRON studio’s source code easily as it is an open source platform. Visit https://developers.tron.network/docs to download the source code. Once the download is complete, cd into the directory like this:

$ cd tron-studio

Step #2: Run & Launch TRON Studio

To run and launch TRON Studio, here are the involved processes:

$ ./gradlew build

The download speed will depend upon the machine you are using and how fast the internet is. 

$ java -jar build/libs/TronStudio.jar

Step #3: Code & Compile the Smart Contract

The dev stack at Tron is quite similar to that of Ethereum, which makes it easier for developers to write a smart contract on that platform. If you are comfortable with Solidity, the language used at Ethereum blockchain for writing a smart contract, you can use it at TRONblockchain too. No new language is needed. 

Here is an example of the code where I’m adding two numbers:

pragma solidity ^0.4.24;

contract Addition {

  int public sum = 0;  

  function add (int x, int y) public {

    sum = x + y;

  }

}

Once it is done, you have to click the COMPILE tab on the IDE. 

Step #4: Run the Smart Contract

For running the smart contract, you have to find the RUN tab on the IDE and click DEPLOY. 

Step #5: Add the Numbers

  • Under DEPLOYED CONTRACTS, clock on the deployed contract. 
  • Click ADD after passing in the parameters.
  • Click on SUM to get the result of the sum. 
  • The result will be visible to you now.

Once you see the result, it means that the deployment of the smart contract has been done successfully. 

#3 How to Write a Smart Contract on BSC (Binance Smart Chain)?

Binance Smart Chain (BSC) has emerged as one of the most sought platforms for developing smart contracts. It is one of the best platforms for Dapp growth. The 5 major reasons for using BSC for smart contract development and Dapp growth are:

  1. Consensus Mechanism
  2. Compatibility with Cross-Chains
  3. Frictionless Interoperability
  4. Enhanced Liquidity
  5. Perfect for the Development of DeFi (Decentralized Finance)

You can develop and deploy smart contracts on BSC at a far lesser cost than that of Ethereum blockchain. So, let’s start by creating your own BEP20 token. It is a very easy process and they have to conform to the BEP20 standard, a similar concept as the ERC20 standard. 

BEP20 standard ensures some basic functionality for the BEP20 token and they are:

  • Transfer the token
  • Return a balance
  • View ownership of the token, and many others

View BEP20’s API here: https://github.com/binance-chain/BEPs/blob/master/BEP20.md

Now, let’s check the step-by-step guide for creating a BEP20 token:

Step #1: Use Token Create for Creating a BEP20 Token 

Visit “Token Create” and fill out the details for the token you are going to create. For approving the transaction, select “Create Token”.

Type in cointool.app/bnb/BSCCreateToken in the address bar of Trust Wallet Dapp Browser. On the top right, set to the Binance Smart Chain network. 

Step #2: Give Token Details

Now, give the following details:

  • A name to your token 
  • A symbol to your token
  • Specify the initial supply quantity of your token
  • Specify the number of decimal places each token can be divided into

Step #3: In Token Create, check Mark Settings

Checkmark the following settings on Token Create:

  • Can Burn
  • Can Mint
  • Can Pause
  • Blacklist

Step #4: Create BEP20 Token 

Now, choose “Create Token”. In the next interface, you’ll be prompted to pay a certain amount as a fee for creating the token. Once you approve this transaction fee on BSC, you’ll be able to create the token. 

Step #5: Add a Customized BEP20 Token to Trust Wallet

Now, you’ve to display the created token in your Trust Wallet. For this, you’ve to do the following things:

  1. In the top-right corner inside the wallet, you’ve to choose the icon of the two sliders.
  2. Choose “Add Custom Toke” by scrolling down to the bottom of the token list.
  3. Now, choose “Smart Chain” as the network.
  4. Just below the network setting, you’ve to enter the address of your smart contract.
  5. Enter details (name, symbol, number of decimal places, etc.) of the BEP20 token you created. 

Step #6: View Token in the Wallet

You can now view the token in the wallet by going back to it.

These are the 6 important steps involved in creating and deploying smart contracts on the Binance Smart Chain.

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