On July 30, 2018, the IOHK Foundation announced the launch of the second Cardano testnet, the IELE virtual machine (VM) smart contract update.
As published on their official website, developers can now experiment with smart contracts technology based on the Cardano blockchain and test it for bugs and other nuances which can be passed on to IOHK developers for troubleshooting.
The protocol’s parent body believes the launch is an essential step in Cardano’s development and community promises, apart from offering a “robust and reliable financial infrastructure.”
The IELE VM is built on an “attendant low-level language” to ensure developer inclusivity and is primarily designed to execute smart contracts on the Cardano’s protocol. The update is a collaborative effort between IOHK and Runtime Verification, a global research body. The former provided funding for the project while the latter provided technical expertise.
The IELE focuses on fulfilling the rising demand for transparency, efficiency, and accessibility in the global markets by making it an easy-to-use platform which developers could make beneficial use of. Some of the protocol’s salient features are as follows:
- Providing Solidity compilation support and other widely-used computer languages. Solidity is the framework of Ethereum and enjoys substantial interest from the younger develop community.
- Serving as a platform to translate and execute smart contracts from “high level” languages.
- Providing a uniform GAS model, across all languages.
- Providing a “correct by construction” language that auto-corrects any code errors during writing, instead of waiting for the compilation stage.
The IELE can be further classified into two categories: a “correct by construction” VM interface and a Solidity-to-IELE compiler component, both designed using Cardano’s K framework.
As stated by IOHK:
“With this update, Solidity programs will catch many of the errors that previously would have been missed and that have caused many smart contracts to fail or be exploited.”
Testnet and Feedback Encouraged
Currently, the IELE language and VM are ready to be deployed on to the Cardano blockchain in weeks to come. Meanwhile, developers and cryptocurrency enthusiasts can use the IELE VM with either Remix or Mallet tools for executing and creating their engineered smart contracts using the IOHK testnet site.
Apart from Cardano, cryptocurrency protocols like NEO, Hyperledger, Ethereum offer smart contract capabilities to individuals and organizations. Of these, Ethereum is arguably the most popular, as was evidenced recently in a cross-border almond shipping trade route between Australia and Germany, as reported by CryptoSlate.
However, the IOHK alleged that businesses had encountered technical issues while trying to integrate smart contracts into their existing infrastructure. The foundation called out DAO hacks and Parity bugs to prove its point and stated the bugs continue to reappear despite widespread publicity about the snags.
Cover Photo by Noah Rosenfield on Unsplash