Tezos Blockchain: A revolution for smart contracts?

The Promise of Tezos 

There’s a new blockchain in town… but that’s not surprising. There’s a new blockchain in town every other day, and most of them fail to make ripples, let alone waves in the community,

Yet every now and then a project comes up that truly catches the attention of the community at large. A project offering something revolutionary and backed by people who know what they’re talking about. A project offering more than a utopia or a pipe dream.

These days, the Tezos Blockchain is that project. Riding high on one of the most useful features of the Ethereum Blockchain, Tezos promises a huge upgrade for smart contracts.

Meet Michelson

The main reason why many people are looking at Tezos for smart contracts, sometimes to the point of branding it an “Ethereum killer” is the programming language you can use to create smart contracts. This language is called Michelson.

Michelson was developed by the same team behind the Tezos blockchain, created with the specific intent of allowing users of Tezos to craft their own contracts. 

This isn’t particularly new, since Ethereum also uses a language of its own for smart contracts.

The part where Michelson blows all other smart contract systems out of the water is simple: When programming with Michelson, what you see is what you get. 

You don’t have to trust a compiler to do things right, nor should you fall prey to language quirks. You write what you want, you get what you want.

To ensure this, Michelson allows Formal Verification. Formal Verification is a mathematical process that helps find bugs or unforeseen situations in code and fix them.

From this point of view, Michelson alone is a step forward towards bringing smart contracts, and all of their advantages, to the mainstream.

Why the details matter

We’ve all seen, and many of us have met, the type of character: People who’ll scour a contract over and over to try and find a loophole they can exploit. 

The world is full of those people, people who seemingly live to take advantage of unintended situations.

This exact same thing has been happening with smart contracts in the blockchain

Only, since smart contracts are considered smart, the chance for these loopholes or exploits to go unnoticed is much higher, thus potentially leading people to fall for massive scams and not notice at all until the scam has run its full course.

Since in the blockchain code is law, reversing any changes is verboten. Even if the change happened in bad faith, as would happen when exploiting a contract, as long as what happened was exactly what the code says then the changes stay.

Michelson was designed to combat this by allowing you to state how you want the contract to work and even test it before it is set in stone.

An upgradeable model

There’s more. Tezos is bringing something else to the blockchain world that, while only tangentially related to smart contracts, still have the community listening: A self-amending, mutable blockchain.

Most blockchains don’t really change, and when they do, forks are required. Updating a blockchain, be it to fix bugs, optimize, or add new features, is a lengthy and costly process.  

Basically, it requires a new blockchain to be set up from scratch and then for all data to be migrated. It’s far from ideal, but the way blockchains are set up makes this unavoidable.

Last Lines

Tezos, however, proposes a new type of blockchain. One that can be upgraded on the go according to the community’s needs – one where, in fact, community members can propose changes themselves. 

This helps tighten the community by allowing everyone to take part while creating a blockchain that shouldn’t fall prey to time thanks to its ability to self-upgrade.

This means that any shortcomings Michelson might have, any particular users it might not have been coded for, can be amended. 

And since the blockchain is expected to be upgraded, signing a long-term smart contract on Tezos won’t tie you to an obsolete blockchain. Because Tezos wasn’t built to ever become obsolete.