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Blockchain & Bugs – Update from the RisingSTAR Winner

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I get annoyed every time I hear this: “It’s just like testing any other database, you don’t need a different approach for blockchain.” For the past year, I have heard testers and even quite a few blockchain testers say some variation of it. This always annoyed me. Because it’s true, it really is. Until it isn’t. Let me explain.

Frankly, there are many aspects to a blockchain-based software application that you can test like any other application. There is front end, interfacing, and integration with legacy software. It’s where traditional software development doesn’t provide a ready answer as to how to solve a problem that it gets interesting. For example, how are you going to monitor smart contract execution across a distributed blockchain network? Block explorers, do this in part but they are not very good at combining on-chain and off-chain transaction flows. Or, what happens if your smart contract has a bad bug, and even after you hit the “kill switch” on the contract, no one can fix the bug that has frozen millions in assets?

So, when someone asks “What does winning the RisingSTAR Award for your blockchain framework mean to you?” My answer is: it means recognition, recognition for the need to build a testing framework for blockchain. It confirms that I am on the right track.

I aim to develop a testing framework for dealing with blockchain-based applications as well as forming a blockchain testing group to share knowledge to benefit the entire testing community. So how do you build a framework? I considered various starting points, and one of the RisingSTAR sponsors helped clarify one. We were reviewing the content of a talk I’ll give in April about Smart Contract Disaster Stories. You see, like most testers, I love a good bug story, the more severe the impact the better. I enjoy reading and talking about major hacksor vulnerabilities in blockchain that are exploited. So, my RisingSTAR sponsor said: “Oh well, then you’re building a bug taxonomy.”

“There’s no such thing as a completely fresh start. Everything new arrives on the heels of something old, and every new beginning comes at the cost of an ending.” — Jennifer E. Smith

I will update you all again soon! Sanne Visser

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