An overview on smart contracts : Challenges, advances and platforms

Zibin ZHENG, Shaoan XIE, Hong Ning DAI*, Weili CHEN, Xiangping CHEN, Jian WENG, Muhammad IMRAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Smart contract technology is reshaping conventional industry and business processes. Being embedded in blockchains, smart contracts enable the contractual terms of an agreement to be enforced automatically without the intervention of a trusted third party. As a result, smart contracts can cut down administration and save services costs, improve the efficiency of business processes and reduce the risks. Although smart contracts are promising to drive the new wave of innovation in business processes, there are a number of challenges to be tackled. This paper presents a survey on smart contracts. We first introduce blockchains and smart contracts. We then present the challenges in smart contracts as well as recent technical advances. We also compare typical smart contract platforms and give a categorization of smart contract applications along with some representative examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-491
Number of pages17
JournalFuture Generation Computer Systems
Volume105
Early online date17 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work described in this paper was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program, China ( 2016-YFB1000101 ), the National Natural Science Foundation of China under ( 61472338 ) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China . Imran’s work is supported by the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia through the research group project number RG-1435-051 . The authors would like to thank anonymous reviewers who have provided constructive comments greatly improving the paper. Zibin Zheng is a professor at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. He received Ph.D. degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2011. He received ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at ICSE’10, Best Student Paper Award at ICWS’10, and IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Award. His research interests include services computing, software engineering, and blockchain. Shaoan Xie is a graduate student at Sun Yat-Sen University, China. He received his bachelor degree in Computer Science at Sun yat-sen University in 2016. His current research interests include blockchain and data mining. Hong-Ning Dai is an Associate Professor in Faculty of Information Technology at Macau University of Science and Technology. He obtained the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers in refereed journals and conferences. He is also a holder of 1 U.S. patent and 1 Australia innovation patent. He is the winner of Bank of China (BOC) Excellent Research Award of Macau University of Science and Technology in 2015. He also holds visiting positions at Department of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, the University of New South Wales, respectively. He has served as a guest editor for IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics and an editor for International Journal of Wireless and Mobile Communication for Industrial Systems. His research interests include wireless networks, mobile computing, and distributed systems. Weili Chen is currently working toward the PhD degree in the Department of Data and Computer Science, Sun Yat-Sen University, China. His research interests include blockchain and data mining. Xiangping Chen is a research associate at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. She received the PhD degree in computer science and technology from Peking University, China, in 2010. Her research interests include data driven software engineering, blockchain, program comprehension. Jian Weng is a professor and Executive Dean with College of Information Science and Technology in Jinan University. He received B.S. degree and M.S. degree at South China University of Technology in 2001 and 2004 respectively, and Ph.D. degree at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2008. His research areas include cryptography, system security, etc. He has published 80 papers in international conferences and journals such as CRYPTO, EUROCRYPT, ASIACRYPT, TCC, PKC, CT-RSA, IEEE TDSC, etc. He received the Young Scientists Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of China in 2018. He received the first Cryptography Innovation Award from Chinese Association for Cryptologic Research (CACR), the Best Paper Award of 28 th Symposium on Cryptography and Information Security (SCIS 2011), and the National Excellent Teacher in Network Security. He served as General Co-Chair for SecureComm 2016, TPC Co-Chairs for RFIDsec’13 Asia and ISPEC 2011, and program committee members for more than 30 international cryptography and information security conferences. He also serves as associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology. Muhammad Imran is working as Assistant Professor in the College of Computer and Information Sciences, King Saud University (KSU) since 2011. He is also a Visiting Scientist at Iowa State University, USA. His research interest includes Internet of Things, Big Data Analytics, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Cloud and Edge computing, and Security and privacy. His research is financially supported by several grants and he has completed a number of international collaborative research projects with reputable universities. He has published more than one hundred research articles in top conferences and journals. European Alliance for Innovation (EAI) has appointed him as an Editor in Chief for EAI Transactions on Pervasive Health and Technology. He also serves as an associate editor for reputable international journals such as IEEE Communications Magazine, Future Generation Computer Systems, IEEE Access, Wireless Communication and Mobile Computing Journal (SCIE, Wiley), Ad Hoc & Sensor Wireless Networks Journal (SCIE), IET Wireless Sensor Systems, International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communication Systems (Inderscience). He served/serving as a guest editor for more than a dozen special issues in journals such as IEEE Communications Magazine, Computer Networks (Elsevier), Future Generation Computer Systems (Elsevier), MDPI Sensors, International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks (Hindawi), Journal of Internet Technology, and International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems . He has been involved in more than seventy conferences and workshops in various capacities such as a chair, co-chair and technical program committee member.

Funding Information:
The work described in this paper was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program, China (2016-YFB1000101), the National Natural Science Foundation of China under (61472338) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China. Imran's work is supported by the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia through the research group project number RG-1435-051. The authors would like to thank anonymous reviewers who have provided constructive comments greatly improving the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Blockchain
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Decentralization
  • Smart contract

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