Smart contracts can transform the way businesses and people communicate. Many people think that smart contracts are a new concept and has been discovered with the launch of the Ethereum blockchain platform. But in 1996, the computer scientist, Nick Szabo defined the term “smart contract” as:
“I call these new contracts “smart”, because they are far more functional than their inanimate paper-based ancestors. No use of artificial intelligence is implied. A smart contract is a set of promises specified in digital form, including protocols within which the parties perform on these promises.”
His work then motivated other scientists as well as Vitalik Buterin, who developed the Ethereum platform. Before you get to know how to create Ethereum smart contracts, it is important to know about the Ethereum platform and how it works.
Ethereum: A platform for building dApps
Ethereum is an open-source, decentralized blockchain platform with smart contracts functionality. It is a permissionless network of nodes where each node interacts with a small subset of the network, known as peers.
Ethereum enables you to:
- Create cryptocurrencies
- Raise funds
- Develop decentralized applications
- Build virtual organizations
How Ethereum platform executes smart contracts?
Ethereum platform came up with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) to execute arbitrary code. EVM is a virtual machine that is an interpreter for assembly language. Its functionality is restricted as compared to other similar virtual machines. For example, EVM cannot make delayed requests or calls on the internet or generate random numbers. Therefore, writing programs for Ethereum in assembly language does not make sense.
Ethereum required a programming language for the EVM, which is known as Solidity.
One miner processes each smart contract on the Ethereum platform and the result of this operation is a block added to the Ethereum blockchain. Miners receive rewards for their efforts, so executing any smart contract on the EVM needs a fixed payment known as gas.
You need to mention the amount of gas you want to spend for executing smart contracts for dApps development. The more complicated the smart contract will be, the more gas it will need.
Here is a step-by-step process of building smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain platform
- Create a wallet at meta mask
- Select a test network
- Add some dummy Ethers to your wallet
- Use Remix editor to write the solidity smart contracts
- Create a .sol extension file
- Deploy the smart contract
Once the smart contract is created, the next step is to test Ethereum smart contracts.
How to test an Ethereum smart contract?
Run smart contract methods such as transfer, balanceOf and totalSupply, present at the right side of the Remix editor window and run all processes from there.
Transfer some tokens to other Ethereum wallet addresses and check the balance of that address using the balanceOf method. Get total supply by executing the totalSupply method.
After testing the smart contract, you move to the deployment of a smart contract.
How to deploy a smart contract?
To make the smart contract live:
- Go to the Ethereum main network at metamask.
- Add some real ethers.
- Deploy the contract with Remix as mentioned in the above steps.
- Once a contract is deployed, go to http://www.etherscan.io and look for your smart contract address.
- Choose your smart contract.
Now, click “verify contract” to verify the smart contract, copy the smart contract code, and paste it into Etherscan. Choose the compiler version that you selected at Remix to compile the code.
Check Yes to optimization if you selected optimization at Remix. If you didn’t select it at Remix, select No.
Click verify and it will take a few minutes to make your smart contract live if there is no issue. Now, you can run your smart contracts method at Etherscan.
Creating an ethereum smart contract is not so complicated if you are from a technology background and well-versed in basic programming languages. However, if you are not tech-savvy, you should consider working with a smart contract development company that works on the Ethereum blockchain platform.