A Mixed-Methods Study of Security Practices of Smart Contract Developers


Tanusree Sharma, Zhixuan Zhou, Andrew Miller, and Yang Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign


Smart contracts are self-executing programs that run on blockchains (e.g., Ethereum). While security is a key concern for smart contracts, it is unclear how smart contract developers approach security. To help fill this research gap, we conducted a mixed-methods study of smart contract developers, including interviews and a code review task with 29 developers and an online survey with 171 valid respondents. Our findings show various smart contract security perceptions and practices, including the usage of different tools and resources. Overall, the majority of our participants did not consider security as a priority in their smart contract development. In addition, the security vulnerability identification rates in our code review tasks were alarmingly low (often lower than 50%) across different vulnerabilities and regardless of our participants' years of experience in smart contract development. We discuss how future education and tools could better support developers in ensuring smart contract security.

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@inproceedings {291176,
author = {Tanusree Sharma and Zhixuan Zhou and Andrew Miller and Yang Wang},
title = {A {Mixed-Methods} Study of Security Practices of Smart Contract Developers},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {2545--2562},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity23/presentation/sharma},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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