Blockchain Technology with EOS – Smart Contracts need immutability
July 11, 2019
Blockchain Technology with EOS: EOS was born to improve things that were wrong in the early versions of blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum or even the likes like Bitshares or Steem. Scalability and security improvements are amongst the main things that are crucial features of the EOS protocol. Their upgradable smart contracts have attracted many developers. However, the latest disappearing of the EOS based tokens put a question mark on this flexibility and the need for a more reliable approach to smart contract management.
Ethereum vs. EOS smart contracts
Ethereum, the second largest blockchain, is known for its immutable smart contracts. Once someone deploys a smart contract, its code cannot be changed, and any bugs in the software code also cannot be fixed. A developer can stop the smart contract with a kill switch built into the smart contract.
This immutability is useful from the other it’s a problem that many have struggled. If a developer doesn’t get the code right for the first time, there is absolutely no second chance. To fix a bug, the developer must rewrite the code, fix the bug and redeploy it as another contract. This problem also results in the existence of duplicate smart contracts in the blockchain.
When the users start interacting with a smart contract, they know that it always follows the initial behavior, and there’s no way of changing it. Everything is predictable, and there are no trust issues with smart contract.
With the introduction of the upgradability to the smart contracts in EOS Blockchain, there is the issue of trusting the owners and their intentions. Many developers were relieved to know that they can correct their mistakes, that upgrades are possible in EOS. However, it is also true that this poses the risk of manipulation on the end user, mainly when the contract handles the transfer of value.
EOS launch happened with the interim constitution and the ECAF in place. The purpose is for good governance that would solve the problems with bugs or hacks. Open source requirement and the ECAF were meant to work as the security check over a Dapp. The checks have been taken down, leaving the handling of the vulnerability to no one.
During the last few months, there were instances of some tokens being undropped from users accounts. PATR, PEOS, and EDNA are examples of tokens that appeared in user accounts and removed later.
What is the reality of EOS smart contracts?
Blockchain Technology with EOS: The owner can change the issuance or can take the tokens back, for example, that requires much trust in his honesty. In these latest examples, the tokens were pulled back by the developers after the issuance due to various reasons like regulatory and contract criteria.
EDNA is the latest project which decided to take the tokens back from those accounts who didn’t interact with the contract since the genesis drop. The users still have some time to reclaim their tokens, but it is unclear how many are aware that their tokens disappeared and that some action had to be taken to get them back.
Similar actions harm not only the users but also the reputation of the projects and their teams as well as disseminating distrust in other projects in the future.
The immutability of blockchains makes it impossible to alter the existing smart contracts to the detriment of one of the parties. However, if the contracts themselves aren’t immutable, then the detriment persists.
Blockchain Technology with EOS: Predictability and trustless operating are two main things in favor of an immutable smart contract. Assuming that the code is open source, the user can expect to work in the same way as per design. The impossibility of changing anything within that contract means that the owner can’t exercise a malicious action. This predictability means that no or minimum trust is needed to interact with such a contract. By taking off this variable, the project gains more trust among users.
However, there are cases where the owner of the contract might have a genuine need like a bug or a hack that needs modification of the smart contract that makes the case of a mutable smart contract. Open mutability of smart contracts in EOS is too generic that puts the trust of the community users at stack. There are proposals in the work in the EOS community to address the concerns around mutability and its use case.
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