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Building and Securing Solana Smart Contracts

4 minutes

By Hacken

Smart Contracts are the foundation for the world of decentralized applications. These self-executing contracts are made up of code that initiates one or a series of functions when specific pre-defined parameters are satisfied. Once deployed, they are designed to be autonomous, eliminating the need for a middleman or centralized infrastructure.

As a component created on top of a blockchain, smart contracts are executed based on the inputs provided to the contract address in the form of a transaction. 

Like any other crypto transaction, the inputs provided to smart contracts also include network fees, with performance directly correlated to the underlying blockchain’s transaction processing capabilities and scalability. 

While Ethereum introduced the concept of smart contracts with the world’s first programmable blockchain, the scalability and high transaction fee issues have made it unfeasible for many dApps to operate in that ecosystem. 

Many layer-1 blockchains like Solana, Cardano, and more are helping the crypto community overcome this issue by offering faster, cheaper, and more secure alternatives to Ethereum.

Among the blockchain 3.0 protocols, as the protocols designed to overcome Ethereum’s issues are better known, Solana takes the lead in terms of its transaction processing capabilities and costs. 

With each transaction costing less than $0.01, the crypto community finds Solana-based dApps more sustainable and economical.

Solana Smart Contacts: Powering a Prolific dApps Ecosystem

Thanks to the numerous advantages offered by a combination of the Proof of History (PoH) and Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, Solana has become one of the fastest-growing dApps ecosystems in the crypto industry. To support dApps, Solana comes with smart contract capabilities.

Solana Smart Contracts can be created using multiple programming languages. While the native Solana Smart Contact Language is Rust, the protocol also supports smart contract development in C++ and Solidity, along with support for other languages through third-party JSON RPC API SDK clients. 

The smart contracts developed in any other language must be compiled into Rust-compatible code using Solidity compilers like Solang. For Solidity developers, Neon EVM, with its Ethereum compatibility layer, allows them to create and deploy Ethereum smart contracts on Solana Network.

Building Solana dApps

To create smart contracts and the client interface for dApps on Solana, a suite of tools, including Solana Tool Suite with CLI and Anchor Framework, are commonly used. 

Meanwhile, the Solana Program Library offers a collection of tried and tested on-chain programs that can be readily integrated into the dApps to enable various features. The smart contracts created will be ready to be deployed on-chain and executed through Solana Runtime.

Once created, the programs are tested on Devnet- Solana’s smart contract network. Finally, the contract is deployed on-chain, and its ID is used to refer to it in transactions. Although developing contracts seems straightforward, much must be thought about to provide the right user experience and functionality.

Considerations while Developing Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are immutable, and their conditions can’t be changed once deployed on the blockchain. Its code is set in stone, and bugs can’t be fixed with patches. Therefore, developers must ensure these contracts are tested rigorously before deployment. If not, it can lead to unwanted consequences that users are oblivious to.

Bugs and errors in smart contract code can cause serious security risks. A sad reality, smart contract bugs are leading to attackers stealing funds from individual wallets- something that is very common these days. 

However, what is even sadder is that DeFi projects holding millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency get exploited due to similar vulnerabilities in their smart contracts.

Wormhole, a cross-chain bridge between the Solana and Ethereum protocols, suffered a loss of over $300 million due to a smart contract vulnerability on the Solana side, which is the protocol’s largest hack to date. The importance of security, therefore, cannot be stressed enough when it comes to smart contract development.

Smart contract audits exist to check the code behind these programs and test how secure they are. But unfortunately, vulnerabilities in code are prime opportunities waiting to be exploited by cybercriminals. 

Audits carried out by reputed third-party firms are needed to prevent the loss of funds to bad actors.

At Hacken, we are doing exactly that! We have been providing top-notch smart contract auditing services by certified specialists, helping Solana projects secure their smart contacts and dApps from almost all threats imaginable.

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Table of contents

  • Solana Smart Contacts: Powering a Prolific dApps Ecosystem
  • Building Solana dApps
  • Considerations while Developing Smart Contracts

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