Software — Stack — for Massively Geo-Distributed Infrastructures

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Paper accepted at ISCC'21 - Best Student Paper Award -

The Cost of Immortality: A Time to Live for Smart Contracts

Dimitri Saingre, Thomas Ledoux, Jean-Marc Menaud

Smart contracts, scripts at the heart of blockchain-based applications, are meant to be available forever once deployed. However, this property has a price. The amount of space required to store new contracts keeps increasing. This increase impacts each participating node’s performance and makes it inconvenient for low-end devices to participate in the network. Among all contracts deployed in the blockchain, a vast majority will lead to little if any usage. We demonstrate that, in the course of one year, 70% of deployed contracts lead to no use. Unfortunately, unused contracts keep occupying space on the blockchain. To tackle this issue, we propose a new protocol to identify and delete unused contracts. Through simulation, based on Ethereum historical data, we show that deletion of smart contracts after an inactivity period of 90 days could lead to a 66% reduction in the number of contracts stored over a year.