The entire ecosystem of Ethereum is threatened by a lack of diversity in ETH smart contracts. This report emanated from research by analysts from the University of Maryland and the Northeastern University. It was also released on Oct. 31.
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Analyzing Ethereum’s Contract Topology
The paper was titled “Analyzing Ethereum’s Contract Topology”, and it claims that a lot of ETH smart contracts or direct or close copies of other contracts. This represents a potential risk where a copied smart contains a buggy or vulnerable code.
The National Science Foundation of the US supported this research. It analyzed ETH smart contracts’ bytecodes during the initial 5 million blocks. This part covers a three-year frame from the inception of the cryptocurrency in 2015. Data was collected by the researchers and modified using Ethereum’s virtual machine, and it was called Geth. This was done to log all the interactions between the users and contracts.
The findings of the study
Currently, Ethereum smart contracts are over three times likely to be created by other contracts than by the users. Also, more than sixty percent of contracts have never been interacted with. Less than ten percent of the user-backed contracts were unique. The research also revealed that there’s a significant reused of codes on Ethereum. This can allegedly affect the Ethereum user popular negatively. Still, it is a likely driving force behind the success of the digital currency.
Considering the lack of diversity in the smart contracts on Ethereum as a potential risk to the entire Blockchain ecosystem, the researchers revealed that ETH has now become subject of high profile bugs. This has severally resulted in the freezing of more than $170 million worth of digital currency. The research then concluded saying that multiple implementations of the core contract functionality on the ETH Blockchain would provide a greater defense for the system.
Ethereum is a public open-sourced platform that is Blockchain based. It was developed by Vitalik Buterin, and it features smart contracts and its native cryptocurrency called Ether.
The digital currency was launched just three years ago and has become the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Its market cap is $20.6 billion; the price is presently at $200 at the time of this writing.
Last month, the cryptocurrency’s smart contracts suffered a security breach. This caused close to $38,000 loss on SpankChain, an adult entertainment platform. Its users also suffered losses.
In April this year, the second largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by trade volume, OKEX halted all ERC20 token deposits when they detected a new smart contract bug. This bug allowed the hackers to generate a really large amount of tokens. The could also deposit the tokens into a normal address.