A lack of diversity of the smart etereum contracts (ETH) poses a threat to the blockchain ecosystem of Ethereum, according to research by a group of analysts from Northeastern University and the University of Maryland released on October 31st.
The document, titled "Analysis of the Ethereum Contract Topology", states that most of the Ethereum smart contracts are "direct or almost copies of other contracts", which represents a potential risk if a smart contract copied contains a vulnerable code or buggy.
Partially supported by the US National Science Foundation, the study analyzed Ethereum's smart contract bytecodes during its first 5 million blocks, covering almost a three-year period since the launch of the cryptocurrency in 2015. The researchers also collected and modified data via the Ethereum virtual machine, dubbed geth, to record all interactions between contracts and their users.
To date, Ethereum's smart contracts are "three times more likely to be created by other contracts" than by users, the study found. Furthermore, over 60% of the contracts "have never been interacted with", while less than 10% of the contracts supported by the users are unique. The research stated that there is significant re-use of the Ethereum code, which may presumably have a "widespread impact on the population of Ethereum users", despite the fact that it is also likely to be a "driving force behind Ethereum's success".
Considering the low diversity of smart contracts on Ethereum as a potential risk to its entire blockchain ecosystem, the researchers claimed that Ethereum became the subject of "high-profile bugs" several times, with the freezing of over $ 170 million of cryptocurrency . The research concluded that multiple implementations of "basic contract functionality" on Ethereum would eventually provide "greater defense in depth to Ethereum".
Developed by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is a public open-source blockchain platform with smart contracts and its Ether cryptocurrency. Launched on July 30, 2015, Ethereum is now the second largest cryptocurrency for market capitalization at around $ 20.6 billion, with its price at $ 200 at the time of printing.
In mid-October, Cointelegraph reported a breach of security on Ethereum's smart contracts that caused a loss of approximately $ 38,000 for the SpankChain adult entertainment platform and its users.
In April 2018, the second largest exchange rate encrypted by trade volume OKEX suspended all ERC20 token deposits after detecting a "new intelligent contract bug", which would allow hackers to "generate a large amount of token and deposit them in a normal address ".