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What is Ethereum Smart Contract in Blockchain Technology? An Overview

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21st Dec, 2020
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What is Ethereum Smart Contract in Blockchain Technology? An Overview

Basic Overview of Blockchain Technology

To understand the Ethereum Smart Contracts’ fundamental concept, one must understand the basics of blockchain technology. A blockchain is a database containing the transactions or digital events distributed and shared between the parties. This implies that once the information has been entered into the system, it cannot be erased, creating a verifiable record. The transactions between two people are hence unregulated by any third party.

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The Functioning of Smart Contracts concerning Blockchain

Smart Contracts are an exciting feature of blockchain technology. The Smart Contracts is a code that runs as a blockchain in order to enforce an agreement between the two parties, and this does not involve the third party.

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The transactions that happen usually between two parties are conducted through a centralized format. This involves a third party, which is a bank in most cases. This, however, involves several security issues or high fees. Since blockchain was originally introduced for Bitcoin, it has considerably been used for other decentralized apps as well. 

The smart contracts are the code that runs on the blockchain to execute the terms and conditions of the agreement between the two parties. It is a system that releases all the digital assets to the parties once the contract rules have been adhered to.

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One of the most popular platforms for the development of smart contracts is Ethereum. One of the primary reasons is that it supports the language of ‘Turing Completeness’ and provides the liberty to create advanced contracts.

Read: 8 Reason why Blockchain Technology is the future

What is Ethereum

Ethereum is claimed to be a programmable blockchain globally; this technology enables you to transfer cryptocurrency to any individual for a specific amount. Ethereum is a platform that provides access to the users, to digitized money, along with services that are data-friendly, irrespective of their background and location.

Ethereum, hence lets you utilize your digital money due to it being programmable, making it of a versatile nature. What constitutes Ethereum is that it’s a tech built by the community, behind the cryptocurrency ether (ETH) and other thousands of applications that come across every day. This also implies that Ethereum can be used not only for financial services but also for other apps that cannot steal or censor your data.

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What Ethereum aims for is to make financial transactions more straightforward. It also guarantees to provide a more private webspace, as filling out personal details is not a requirement for the app.

Moreover, a peer to peer network is promised, which eliminates the communication with the middle-companies, which then helps establish direct contact with the person. Moreover, it is unregulated by a third party since it is decentralized. Another winning factor about Ethereum is the compatibility of the products.

Using Ethereum to formulate smart contracts

Smart Contracts imply a program that operates completely on the Ethereum Blockchain. Both code and data reside in a special address on the blockchain. Hence, Smart Contracts are composed of Ethereum Accounts, which have a specific amount and can transact through the network.

A user does not control it, but the user accounts can communicate through the smart contract by submitting the transactions that fulfill the contract’s function. The Smart Contract hence acts as a standard contract which contains all the rules and regulations regarding the same, and will automatically enforce the same through the code.

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The main intention of Ethereum is to combine and improve the concepts of scripting, altcoins, and hence allows to invent and creation of more arbitrary, and well as consensus-based applications that are scalable, standardized, and have feature completeness, and to the ease of the develop different paradigms at the same time.

What Ethereum does is by constructing an abstract foundational layer. It is a blockchain made ‘Turing completeness’ programming language and allows anyone to write smart contracts for decentralized apps where there are arbitrary regulations for ownership.

Must Read: Best 5 Ethereum Wallets

Ethereum Accounts

In Ethereum, there are several small ‘accounts ‘that are objects, with each account holding addresses up to 20 bytes, and there are direct transfers of the values and the information between the two accounts. 

There are, namely, four fields that make up the Ethereum Account, as follows:

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    1. Nonce: A counter, which makes sure to check every transaction to be processed only once.
    2. Ether Balance: Ether balance, equivalent to Bitcoin, is the net balance of the ether in the account, traded as digital assets.
    3. A Contract Code
    4. Storage: An account’s storage, which will, by default, be empty.

It is also important to shed light on the term ‘Ether,’ which here is like a ‘crypto-fuel,’ normally used to pay the fees for the transactions. There also exist two kinds of Accounts. Externally Owned Accounts, one controlled by Private Keys, and others are the contract accounts covered by the Contract Code.

It is to be noted that the externally owned account has no code, and hence a message can be sent from one externally owned account by creating and signing a transaction. While in cases of contract account, whenever the message in the code activates, it shall read and write to the internal storage and then create contracts in return.

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Also Read: Ethereum Best Online Course

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Conclusion

Ethereum is hence a decentralized platform, running smart contracts. They run on the Ethereum Virtual Machines. Therefore, it is one of the most common blockchain platforms for the development of smart contracts. Ethereum, a public blockchain, proves viable since the language supports the ‘Turing Completeness’ feature, allowing it to create advanced and custom-made contracts.

If you’re intrigued by reading this article and want to start your Blockchain career, you can visit upGrad. Check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s Advanced certificate program in blockchain technology to learn building smart contracts and chain codes. The course will surely help you understand Blockchain’s basics and its future in marketing strategy and technology.

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Mayank Sahu

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Mayank Sahu is the Program Marketing Manager with upGrad for all emerging technology vertical. His past experience is in analytics industry extensively in healthcare Domain. Mayank has completed his Graduation from IIT Delhi.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Do other platforms provide smart contracts? How do they compare to Ethereum?

There are a few blockchain platforms that include smart contracts. Ethereum is the most well-known and famous platform for developing smart contracts. Other platforms that support smart contracts include NEO, Qtum, and Cardano. Both Qtum and Ethereum are platforms for developing decentralized applications. Qtum is based on Bitcoin’s UTXO model, while Ethereum is based on the principle of smart contracts. Qtum is faster and more efficient than Ethereum, and it also has a more secure protocol. Qtum is better at handling businesses and commercial applications, while Ethereum is better suited for launching Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

2Is it better to specialize in Ethereum or gain knowledge in different platforms?

If you try to gain knowledge in various platforms, you will know all the new features and how to use them. You will also be able to shift from one platform to another depending on your needs. You will not be tied down to a particular platform, making you adaptable to the situation. But it is better to specialize in Ethereum because it is the most popular platform for developing decentralized applications. And observing the market trend, the usage and popularity of Ethereum are rising, and specializing in it will enable you to decrease working time and increase efficiency.

3What programming language is used in Ethereum? How does it compare to Python?

Ethereum is written in Solidity. Solidity is a statically typed language that uses a syntax similar to that of JavaScript. At the same time, Python is a dynamically typed language with a syntax resembling that of the C programming language. Solidity has been created specifically for developing smart contracts on the Ethereum platform. At the same time, Python can be used for various purposes, including software development, data analysis, and scientific computing. So if you only want to work with Ethereum, learn Solidity. But if you’re going to work in various types of environments, it is a good idea to learn python.

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