Laying the foundation for smart contract development: an integrated engineering process model
Information Systems and E-Business Management
Smart contracts are seen as the major building blocks for future autonomous blockchain-and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based applications. Engineering such contracts for trustless, append-only, and decentralized digital ledgers allows mutually distrustful parties to transform legal requirements into immutable and formalized rules. Previous experience shows this to be a challenging task due to demanding socio-technical ecosystems and the specificities of decentralized ledger technology.
... n this paper, we therefore develop an integrated process model for engineering DLT-based smart contracts that accounts for the specificities of DLT. This model was iteratively refined with the support of industry experts. The model explicitly accounts for the immutability of the trustless, append-only, and decentralized DLT ecosystem, and thereby overcomes certain limitations of traditional software engineering process models. More specifically, it consists of five successive and closely intertwined phases: conceptualization, implementation, approval, execution, and finalization. For each phase, the respective activities, roles, and artifacts are identified and discussed in detail. Applying such a model when engineering smart contracts will help software engineers and developers to better understand and streamline the engineering process of DLTs in general and blockchain in particular. Furthermore, this model serves as a generic framework which will support application development in all fields in which DLT can be applied.