In the first two articles in the series on smart contracts, we talked about blockchains for smart contracts, real-life applications of smart contracts, and how to use smart contracts. In this third and final article we are going to tell you about creating and deploying smart contracts, and how smart contracts work in Ethereum.
There are quite many cryptocurrencies with smart contacts, such as Nem, Waves, EOS, Stellar, Cosmos and many more. However, Ethereum is by far the most popular smart-contract platform: in the third quarter of 2020 96% of DeFi transactions were processed on the Ethereum blockchain, and in general, Ethereum processed the most transactions in 2020. That is why in this article we are going to tell you about Ethereum blockchain smart contracts.
What Are Smart Contracts?
Smart contracts enable an automated execution of the terms of an agreement between two parties by a set of rules present in every smart contract. Ethereum smart contracts are written in its native programming language Solidity and executed by the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM).
What Is Ethereum Virtual Machine?
The Ethereum virtual machine is a runtime environment for Ethereum smart contracts. It is a virtual machine like a physical computer that executes code. It runs on the nodes hosted on servers worldwide.
The deployment of a smart contract to the Ethereum blockchain means a transaction, and you have to pay a fee in the form of so-called gas for an Ethereum transaction to go through. Therefore, when deploying an Ethereum smart contract, you will need to spend some Ether in the form of gas. However, if you are deploying on one of the test Ethereum networks, dummy Ether will be used.
What Is Solidity Programming Language?
This will change with Ethereum 2.0 when its phase 2 is complete and the Ethereum virtual machine is replaced with the Ethereum web assembly (Ewasm). Then Ethereum smart contracts will be written in more widely used programming languages, such as Rust, C, and C++. Solidity will be Ethereum’s only programming language until the second phase of Ethereum 2.0 is completed, tentatively in 2022.
Creating And Deploying Ethereum Blockchain Smart Contracts
We will tell you how to write a smart contract in an Ethereum programming environment at Remix. This environment provides its own Java-based test virtual machines with dummy Ether that can execute Etherum smart contracts in your web browser or on other blockchains, including the Ethereum mainnet.
Ethereum Remix Tutorial
When you are at Remix site, you will need to click on Solidity, and you will get a development environment. Click on the file icon on the left sidebar, and you will transfer to the file tree. You will see several folders with template contracts and a coding window. You can create your own file and start writing your Ethereum smart contract.
When starting to write your smart contract, you will need to declare the Solidity language version that you will use to compile your code. When your smart contract code is finished, you should go to the Solidity icon on the left sidebar. There, in the compiler, you should select the version of Solidity matching the one in your code.
Leave compiler default as the EVM version. Below, you will have the compile button. Press it, and you will see how your smart contract executes. In case you see some warnings about your code, it will mean your code has errors. You will need to fix them. If your smart contract compiles without any errors, you can deploy it.
Deploying Your Ethereum Smart Contract
To deploy your Ethereum smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain, you should create a wallet in the MetaMask Ethereum wallet that is available as a web browser extension. It is used to run Ethereum smart contracts on in-built test networks and on the Ethereum network. After you have set up a MetaMast wallet, you will need to do the following steps to deploy your Etherum smart contract on the Ethereum main network:
- Go to your development environment at Remix.
- Deposit some Ethers to your address in MetaMask.
- Select Injected Web3 provider in “Deploy & run transactions”.
- Select “Main Ethereum Network” in MetaMask and reload Remix.
- Deploy your smart contract once again.
- Press the confirm button in MetaMask.
You can now go to Etherscan and search the contract you have deployed by its address. It will take a while on the main Ethereum network, so you may have to wait until the status of the transaction changes from “Pending” to “Success”.
Prospects For Smart Contracts
Ethereum is currently the most popular smart-contract platform, and its popularity may grow further with the coming of Ethereum 2.0. With its support of Rust, C and C++ programming languages, more developers will be able to use Ethereum as a platform for deploying smart contracts.
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