Polkadot: Leveraging Solang for Cross-Chain Smart Contract Development
Polkadot, one of the innovative blockchains in the Web3 ecosystem, has gained popularity for its unique approach to reducing network burdens through the use of parachains. While Polkadot is built natively with the Rust programming language, it does not support Solidity, the native language of Ethereum, by default. This limitation has posed challenges for developers looking to build Solidity-based applications on Polkadot.
To address this hurdle, several steps and tools have been developed to bridge the gap between Solidity and Polkadot’s Contracts Palette. One prominent example is Solang, a Solidity compiler introduced by Cyrill Leutwiler, Rust Core Compiler Engineer at Parity Technologies at the Sub0 2023 event. Solang serves as a vital link between Ethereum’s Solidity and Polkadot’s Contracts Palette.
Unlike Ethereum, Polkadot does not natively support smart contracts on its relay chain. It relies on parachains, including Ethereum-compatible parachains, to handle smart contracts. While this architectural approach opens up exciting possibilities, it also presents unique challenges for developers.
Solang is a versatile compiler designed to support multiple blockchain platforms, making it a valuable tool for developers looking to deploy Solidity-based contracts on Polkadot. It enables developers to write contracts in languages beyond Solidity, such as Rust or AssemblyScript, thereby expanding the developer ecosystem on Polkadot.
Using Solang is a straightforward process. Developers first need to install the Solang compiler, which can be done through various methods such as Brew, downloading binaries, using containers, building Solang using Dockerfile, or building Solang from source. Once installed, developers can write smart contracts in Solidity and then compile them using Solang.
Solang is designed to be user-friendly, with a simple command-line interface and a focus on developer experience. It is also optimized for speed and efficiency, with optimizations that can significantly reduce the size of compiled contracts. Once the smart contracts are compiled, developers can deploy them on Polkadot parachains using the contracts pallet, a built-in module in Substrate.
The benefits of Solang extend beyond simplifying contract deployment. It also facilitates the deployment of production-ready contracts and allows for the integration of various languages, enabling developers to leverage their existing expertise.
During the presentation, the speaker outlined Solang’s future plans, which include security audits, Ethereum API support, and compatibility improvements. There is also potential for Solang to work with RISC-V contracts, further enhancing compatibility across multiple blockchains.
As demonstrated by projects like Nabla Finance, which successfully utilized Solang to deploy contracts on Polkadot, the Solang compiler plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between Solidity and Polkadot’s innovative blockchain ecosystem. While Solang simplifies the cross-chain deployment process, developers must consider differences in address formats, balance types, and function calls between Ethereum and Polkadot native contracts.
With the right tools and knowledge, developers can seamlessly integrate Ethereum’s Solidity contracts into the Polkadot ecosystem. Solang’s role as a Solidity compiler for Polkadot’s Contracts Palette opens up exciting possibilities for cross-chain smart contract development. As more projects embrace this technology, we can expect to see a more interconnected and versatile blockchain landscape in the future.