Maintenance of Long-Living Smart Contracts

M. Lohr, and S. Peldszus. EMLS 2020: 7th Collaborative Workshop on Evolution and Maintenance of Long-Living Systems (2020)


In recent years, blockchains became widely known for offering immutable and trust-free storage of arbitrary information. Blockchains also leverage smart contracts, a concept for executing program code for modifying the blockchain state. While the characteristics of a blockchain, especially immutability, enable reliability in a trust-free environment, it hinders the maintenance of smart contracts itself. With the increasing number, size, and lifetime of smart contracts, they could be considered to be long-living software. Therefore, it might become necessary to apply common techniques from software engineering to maintain smart contracts. However, updating smart contracts residing within the immutable blockchain data raises an interesting challenge. In this work, we analyze whether the assumption of smart contracts being long-living is true, study how immutable smart contracts are maintained in practice and elaborate the challenges appearing due to these maintenance practices.

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