Understanding the Motivations, Challenges and Needs of Blockchain Software Developers: A Survey
The blockchain technology has potential applications in various areas such as smart-contracts, Internet of Things (IoT), land registry, supply chain management, storing medical data, and identity management. Although the Github currently hosts more than six thousand active Blockchain software (BCS) projects, few software engineering research has investigated these projects and its' contributors. Although the number of BCS projects is growing rapidly, the motivations, challenges, and needs of
... developers remain a puzzle. Therefore, the primary objective of this study is to understand the motivations, challenges, and needs of BCS developers and analyze the differences between BCS and non-BCS development. On this goal, we sent an online survey to 1,604 active BCS developers identified via mining the Github repositories of 145 popular BCS projects. The survey received 156 responses that met our criteria for analysis. The results suggest that the majority of the BCS developers are experienced in non-BCS development and are primarily motivated by the ideology of creating a decentralized financial system. Although most of the BCS projects are Open Source Software (OSS) projects by nature, more than 93% of our respondents found BCS development somewhat different from a non-BCS development as BCS projects have higher emphasis on security and reliability than most of the non-BCS projects. Other differences include: higher costs of defects, decentralized and hostile environment, technological complexity, and difficulty in upgrading the software after release. Software development tools that are tuned for non-BCS development are inadequate for BCS and the ecosystem needs an array of new or improved tools, such as: customized IDE for BCS development tasks, debuggers for smart-contracts, testing support, easily deployable simulators, and BCS domain specific design notations.