Graduate School and Research Center in Digital Sciences

Mayflies, breeders, and busy bees in ethereum: Smart contracts over time

di Angelo, Monika; Salzer, Gernot

BCC 2019, 3rd ACM Workshop on Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies and Contracts, Held in conjunction with ACM Asia CCS 2019, July 8, 2019, Auckland, New Zealand

Smart contracts on a blockchain are programs running in a distributed, transparent, and trustless environment, being one of the major assets of this new technology. They give rise to innovative applications and business models, with their potential and lasting impact still open. In this situation, it is interesting to understand what smart contracts are actually doing. While public announcements, by their nature, make promises of what smart contracts might achieve, the openly available data of blockchains provides a more balanced view on what is actually going on. In this paper, we analyze the activities of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, the most prominent platform for smart contracts with all blockchain data visible. However, contracts operate behind the scenes. Their activities are only accessible by looking beyond the mere blockchain data that records external transactions. We also use all internal messages caused by contracts interacting with other addresses. In particular, we investigate the activities of smart contracts in their quantitative and temporal aspects. Based on lifespan and activity patterns, we identify particular groups like mayflies, loners, breeders, busy bees, sleepers, self-destructed and bonkers contracts and visualize their temporal characteristics. To gain insights into the purpose of these smart contracts we perform a basic analysis of code and message content including deployment code. We consider data up to Ethereum block 6 900 000 (end of 2018).

Document Doi Bibtex

Title:Mayflies, breeders, and busy bees in ethereum: Smart contracts over time
Keywords:contract activity, Ethereum, smart contracts, temporal aspects
Type:Conference
Language:English
City:Auckland
Country:NEW ZEALAND
Date:
Department:Digital Security
Eurecom ref:5933
Copyright: © ACM, 2019. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in BCC 2019, 3rd ACM Workshop on Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies and Contracts, Held in conjunction with ACM Asia CCS 2019, July 8, 2019, Auckland, New Zealand http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3327959.3329537
Bibtex: @inproceedings{EURECOM+5933, doi = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3327959.3329537}, year = {2019}, title = {{M}ayflies, breeders, and busy bees in ethereum: {S}mart contracts over time}, author = {di {A}ngelo, {M}onika and {S}alzer, {G}ernot}, booktitle = {{BCC} 2019, 3rd {ACM} {W}orkshop on {B}lockchains, {C}ryptocurrencies and {C}ontracts, {H}eld in conjunction with {ACM} {A}sia {CCS} 2019, {J}uly 8, 2019, {A}uckland, {N}ew {Z}ealand}, address = {{A}uckland, {NEW} {ZEALAND}}, month = {07}, url = {http://www.eurecom.fr/publication/5933} }
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