Choosing a smart contract developer can be a critical decision when developing blockchain-based applications.
Maximist have developed numerous contracts for businesses in a wide range of industries over the years, and wanted to share our expertise in that process. We have put together an overview of 10 essential considerations when choosing a smart contract developer.
Ensure that the developer has extensive experience with blockchain technologies, programming languages (e.g., Solidity, Vyper), and other tools and frameworks.
Smart contracts are self-executing programs that are stored on a blockchain network. They are designed to automate the execution of contracts and agreements, enabling parties to transact with each other without the need for intermediaries. As a result, smart contracts have the potential to streamline business processes, reduce costs, and increase transparency.
To develop smart contracts, a developer needs to have extensive experience with blockchain technologies. That may sound obvious, but allow us to explain why:
- Understanding of blockchain technology: A smart contract developer needs to have a thorough understanding of how blockchain technology works, including how transactions are verified, how consensus is reached, and how the data is stored on the blockchain.
- Knowledge of smart contract programming languages: Smart contract developers need to be proficient in smart contract programming languages like Solidity and Vyper. These languages are specifically designed for writing smart contracts and have unique features that traditional programming languages lack.
- Testing and debugging: Smart contracts are immutable once deployed on the blockchain, so it is crucial to ensure that they work as intended before deployment. A smart contract developer needs to have experience in testing and debugging smart contracts to ensure that they are error-free and function correctly.
- Keeping up with updates: Blockchain technology and smart contract languages are rapidly evolving, and developers need to stay up to date with the latest updates to ensure that their code remains compatible with the latest versions of the technology.
Knowledge of Smart Contract Security
It’s crucial to work with a developer who understands how to write secure smart contracts that are resistant to hacking and other security risks.
Smart contracts are often used to manage valuable assets, such as cryptocurrency. As a result, security is of utmost importance. A smart contract developer needs to understand the potential security vulnerabilities of smart contracts and how to write secure code that can withstand attacks.
Familiarity with Blockchain Platforms
The developer should have experience with popular blockchain platforms like Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, and Corda. If you are unsure how to be certain the developers you’re working with have all the necessary experience, there are a few ways you can look into this:
- Look for relevant experience on their resume or LinkedIn profile: The developer’s work history should indicate if they have experience working with these platforms. Look for specific projects, job titles, or responsibilities that indicate they have worked with blockchain technologies.
- Ask for references or previous clients: Reach out to the developer’s references or previous clients to ask about their experience working with the developer and their experience working with blockchain platforms.
- Look for certifications: Some blockchain platforms offer certifications for developers who have completed training and demonstrated proficiency in using their technology. Check if the developer has any relevant certifications.
- Look for contributions to open-source projects: Developers who have contributed to open-source blockchain projects, such as Ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric, may have gained experience working with the platforms.
- Ask technical questions: During the interview process, ask the developer technical questions about the blockchain platform they claim to have experience with. For example, ask them to explain how they would implement a specific feature or how they would solve a particular problem using the platform.
Legal and Regulatory Compliance
Ensure that the developer is familiar with the legal and regulatory requirements for smart contracts in your industry and can help you navigate any legal or compliance issues that may arise.
Legal and regulatory compliance is essential for smart contract developers because they must ensure that the code they write is compliant with the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which their smart contracts will be used. Failure to comply with legal and regulatory requirements can result in significant financial and legal consequences for both the developers and the users of the smart contracts.
For example, a smart contract that is designed to transfer funds between parties may be subject to financial regulations, such as anti-money laundering laws or know-your-customer (KYC) requirements. A smart contract that is designed to execute a real estate transaction may be subject to property laws and regulations, such as title transfers and recording requirements.
Smart contract developers must also consider issues such as data privacy, intellectual property rights, and dispute resolution mechanisms. They must understand the legal implications of these issues and ensure that their smart contracts are designed to comply with applicable laws and regulations.
Reputation and Portfolio
Review the developer’s portfolio to assess their track record of delivering high-quality smart contract solutions. Consider asking for references or case studies.
Make sure the developer can communicate effectively with your team and other stakeholders to ensure a smooth development process. Regardless of whether your developer will need to communicate directly with internal or external stakeholders, they do need to be able to work effectively with you.
A big part of that is communication, as they will need to understand your vision for the project before they can tailor their work to those specifications accordingly.
Project Management Skills
The developer should be able to manage the project timeline, scope, and resources effectively, and be responsive to changing requirements. A good starting point with this one is to look for references; if you’ve entered into the relationship through a shared network, you should have a list of contacts who can vouch for the developer. If, however, you’ve found the developer online, you should be able to track down some references that will give you a good indication of their project management capabilties.
If you are unable find any references for an individual, we would advise you to proceed with caution and consider other options.
Pricing and Availability
This is an easy one, and we’re sure it will be on your list already!
Consider the developer’s pricing structure and availability to ensure that they can meet your project needs and budget. It is also worth having a clear conversation with your developer to ensure there are no hidden costs, and to establish deadlines and/ or bonus payments as relevant.
Ensure that the developer has a good fit with your organisational culture, values, and goals.
Clearly, this is less important if you’re working with freelance contractors on an ad-hoc basis, but it is always worth trying to find trustworthy developers to whom you can return for future projects.
If that’s something you’re looking to do, and the volume of work is high enough to justify it, then it is extremely important not to overlook this step.
Support and Maintenance
Consider whether the developer provides ongoing support and maintenance services to ensure that your smart contract continues to operate smoothly.
Maximist offers a completely free initial consultation to discuss your smart contact needs. You can read more about our processes over on our dedicated smart contract development page, or contact us directly 0800 059 0116 or by using our contact form.