QA for Smart Contracts in Decentralized Applications

At present, Blockchain shares the podium among the dominant technologies in the world. Though blockchain is not new, it gained traction in 2011 with the introduction of the first blockchain explorer, followed by a cryptocurrency wallet that accounted for 28% of bitcoin transactions between 2012 and 2020. Today, decentralization is closely related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

With the numerous advantages of decentralization, most notably the elimination of the requirement for a central authority to control the rules, an increasing number of individuals are turning to blockchain for investments, money borrowing and lending, and other related activities. Blockchain preserves the privacy of your data and allows you to determine who has access to how much of your personal information. It also assures that the data you get on the platforms has been pre-verified by authorized agents.

Understanding Blockchain Structure

Now each block that you see above has three elements that are the data, the hash, and the hash from the previous block. Refer to the image below:

As a result, the code for each block is a combination of the current block’s hash, the prior block’s hash, and a data code. This assures that if one block is tempered or even attempted to be tempered, all subsequent blocks in the chain become invalid instantly. However, this does not rule out the possibility of future updates to blockchain data. The only difference would be that anytime a user desires to update any changes, their data will be appended to the end of the chain, similar to the classic ledger entry method we learned in school.

The potential of blockchain-based applications is huge and that’s where decentralized applications come into the picture.

Introduction to Decentralised Applications

It’s this feature of these applications that make them secure, thereby distributing the ownership to multiple systems. So, whenever someone joins this network of applications, he/she gets a full copy of the blockchain. Any change or input introduced by any parties, once approved is also shared by all the systems that ensure everyone is updated with real-time data and helps verify that everything is still in order.

Another very effective way of securing and verifying your information/ data online is through smart contracts. Moving forward, let’s have a closer look at smart contracts.

What are Smart Contracts?

These digital contracts help gain autonomy and independence from third party structures that ensure the reliability, security, accuracy, and profitability of your data

The prime examples of smart contracts and dApps include games, DEX (Decentralized Exchange), NFT marketplaces, gambling, blockchain-powered social networks, DeFi (Decentralized Finance), etc.

What is the Need to Test a Smart Contract?

Now, because of the same immutable feature of a smart contract, the minutest logic error in the application can cause serious damage to the application and data. When it comes to financial applications, individual wallets can be blocked and users may not be able to have access to the money they invested because of smart contract vulnerabilities. Is there a way to avoid these circumstances? The answer is testing!

There are well-established QA consulting companies that adopt agile testing methodologies and provide end-to-end blockchain testing solutions for enterprises globally to help you ensure the proper safety of your application.

More on these companies later. Let’s move forward to how to go about the testing of a smart contract.

Initiate Smart Contract Testing

  1. Digital signatures
  2. Fixing contract code and related changes
  3. Contract Subject
  4. Necessary tools for contract execution
  5. Terms of execution in contract code
  6. Recurring and selective events
  7. Possible scenarios of errors and messages
  8. Changes in the contract status and balance

Various Aspects of Testing a Smart Contract

Start by answering the below-mentioned questions to make the process easier

  • Which events should be initiated?
  • What techniques should be used?
  • How the balance and status of your contract are moving?
  • How and to whom funds transfer should happen?
  • What error to cause?
  • Who is the author of the message?
  • What is the current time used?

Let’s take the example of developing a smart contract using Ethereum. While using Ethereum, it is important to set proper guidelines on the usage of the Gas Value — that’s the cost of a smart contract that Ethereum has set for its launch.

It’s all based on the security of an agreement. A situation where certain data is stuck in a contract is very similar to a situation when it’s stolen. This means a similar scenario can be used to test a blockchain-based application against data tempering as well.

Other than this, the general principle of testing any blockchain-based application is very similar to the way other applications are tested.

To ensure how accurate and failure-proof your application’s code is, your QA engineer is supposed to check each and every aspect of your app, including the date, parties of the contract, execution time, hash validation, and fund transfer processes.

Typically, the following tests are executed to achieve the above results.

1. Unit Testing

2. Regression Testing

3. Integration Testing

4. Compliance Testing

The choice to opt for complete manual testing or a mixture of automated and manual testing depends on the testing strategy set by your software testing company. Manual testing ensures every aspect of your application is thoroughly tested whereas automated testing ensures full coverage given the size of the application data.

There are various characteristics of functional, security, and load testing as well that can help improve the quality of your blockchain-based applications.

A good software testing partner will closely work with your development team to foresee all possible contract outcomes and ensure no loopholes are left before the final release.

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