Challenges Ahead for Smart Contracts
Ethereum has unleashed the power of smart contracts by creating a massively distributed, resilient, and replicated computing platform. In this talk, I will discuss the three challenges I see ahead for Ethereum, go over known techniques for addressing them, and will identify the future work that needs to be done because of the unique challenges faced by the Ethereum platform. First, we’ll talk about scale, touch upon known techniques for scaling on- and off-chain. Next, we’ll talk about program verification, what it can do, and why it is not the panacea that many people make out to be. In particular, I’ll talk about the kinds of smart contract properties that we know how to ascertain, versus the kinds of smart contract properties that we would ideally like to verify, and discuss the gap between the two. Finally, I’ll talk about the next frontier involving private data and private computation on a public blockchain, a combination thought to be impossible by some, and describe how we can achieve it with the help of secure hardware.