Formal Verification 101 for Blockchain Systems and Smart Contracts: Formalizing Requirements

In this second part of our four part series, we will discuss the process of formalizing system requirements and how it fits into the larger context of formal verification for blockchain systems and smart contracts.

Recall that formal verification is all about knowing whether our system implementation (e.g., blockchain system/smart contract), satisfies our system requirements.

Today’s article is about the process of converting our requirements document into an equivalent formal, mathematical requirements specification.

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Formal Verification 101 for Blockchain Systems and Smart Contracts

Blockchain technology coupled with smart contracts offers a tantalizing promise: enabling distributed, trusted, and verifiable computational platforms for applications with rigorous security requirements like finance, secure messaging, and more. Unfortunately, one does not have to look very hard to see that the path to this promise is fraught with danger, e.g., see articles on Mt. Gox, the DAO, this attack on Ethereum classic, and a smart contract bug. While blockchain systems may be sound in theory, in practice, blockchain systems and smart contracts are still highly prone to developer error.

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