Smart contracts

Smart contracts are the cornerstone of decentralized systems. When a developer is building a decentralized app, they will find themselves implementing one or more smart contracts, and ultimately deploying them to run over a blockchain infrastructure like Orbs.

Orbs smart contracts

The Orbs smart contracts are the logic of your apps, the high level workflow is creating the contracts (code) using the Orbs Contract SDK, testing it and experimenting with the Gamma framework and later deploying your contract to the Orbs blockchain.

Currently the contracts are written in the Golang language, and in the future the Orbs contract SDK will be available in other languages as well.

Similar to other Smart Contract frameworks, an Orbs contract is comprised of the written code (functions) and data (state) that resides inside of the blockchain.

package main
import (
var PUBLIC = sdk.Export(add, get)
var SYSTEM = sdk.Export(_init)
var COUNTER_KEY = []byte("count")
func _init() {
state.WriteUint64(COUNTER_KEY, 0)
func add(amount uint64) {
count := state.ReadUint64(COUNTER_KEY)
count += amount
state.WriteUint64(COUNTER_KEY, count)
func get() uint64 {
return state.ReadUint64(COUNTER_KEY)

The above code describes a simple contract which implements a counter. It enables functionality of creating a new contract with a counter value of zero as well as writing and reading the contract value.

Storage and State

The line state.WriteUint64([]byte("count"), 0) will use the state library to write to the state. The state library is the only way to interact with the contract state and thus non-volatile storage. In the get() function, the line return state.ReadUint64([]byte("count")) will read the count value (and return it), that count value is the same one that was written in the _init() function or the add() function.

The state is described in more details at the Contract state documentation page.

Exported functions

In Golang, functions beginning with the lowercase letters are considered as 'private' or not exported, and uppercase are 'public' and exported.

In Orbs, all functions should be written as 'private', meaning beginning with a lowercase letter, and functions which should be exported will be declared explicitly using the sdk.Export() function, in the example above we can see that the functions add and get are declared as exported.

Transactions and Queries

There are two ways of interacting with the Orbs blockchain, running a query or sending a transaction.

Sending a transaction means that the logic executed by the contract inside the virtual machine will be executed under consensus, and thus the logic is allowed to change the state.

Running a query is a more lightweight operation which does not happen under consensus, this means that if the logic is executed and the state is being written to, the result of the execution will be an error, as the operation was not done under a transaction.