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Contract Structure

Contracts in CashScript are somewhat similar to classes in object-oriented languages. A notable difference is that there is no mutable state. So once a contract is instantiated with certain parameters, these values cannot change. Instead, functions can be called on the contract that act on the contract's values to spend money from the contract. The extension of CashScript source code files is .cash, and the structure of these source files is explained below.

Pragma

A contract file may start with a pragma directive to indicate the CashScript version the contract was written for. This ensures that a contract is not compiled with an unsupported compiler version, which could cause unintended side effects.

note

The pragma directive follows regular semantic versioning rules.

Example

pragma cashscript ^0.9.0;
pragma cashscript >= 0.7.0 < 0.9.3;

Constructor

A CashScript constructor works slightly differently than what you might be used to in regular object-oriented languages. It is not possible to define any statements inside the constructor, as the constructor is only used to store values in the contract. Because of this limited nature, there is no separate constructor function, but instead the parameters are specified directly on the class definition.

Example

pragma cashscript ^0.9.0;

contract HTLC(pubkey sender, pubkey recipient, int expiration, bytes32 hash) {
...
}
note

Upon initialization of the contract, constructor parameters are encoded and added to the contract's bytecode in the reversed order of their declaration. This can be important when manually initializing contracts for debugging purposes.

Functions

The main construct in a CashScript contract is the function. A contract can contain one or multiple functions that can be executed to trigger transactions that spend money from the contract. At its core, the result of a function is just a yes or no answer to the question 'Can money be sent out of this contract?'. However, by using a technique called covenants, it's possible to specify additional conditions — like restricting where money can be sent. To read more about this technique, refer to the CashScript Covenants Guide.

Example

pragma cashscript ^0.9.0;

contract TransferWithTimeout(pubkey sender, pubkey recipient, int timeout) {
function transfer(sig recipientSig) {
...
}

function timeout(sig senderSig) {
...
}
}
note

Function parameters are passed in the reversed order of their declaration. This can be important when manually creating contract transactions for debugging purposes.

Statements

CashScript functions are made up of a collection of statements that determine whether money may be spent from the contract.

require()

The most important statement of CashScript contracts is the require statement. This statement takes a boolean expression and checks that it evaluates to true. If it evaluates to false instead, the transaction fails. This statement is used to ensure that the requirements are met to spend money from the contract.

The require statement can also take an optional error message as a second argument. This can be used to provide more information about why the transaction failed when running the transaction in debug mode. You can read more about debugging in the debugging guide.

note

The error message in a require statement is only available in debug evaluation of a transaction, so the error message has no impact on the compiled bytecode or regular (non-debug) execution.

Example

pragma cashscript ^0.9.0;

contract P2PKH(bytes20 pkh) {
function spend(pubkey pk, sig s) {
require(hash160(pk) == pkh, "Public Key does not match");
require(checkSig(s, pk));
}
}

Variable declaration

Variables can be declared by specifying their type and name. All variables need to be initialised at the time of their declaration, but can be reassigned later on — unless specifying the constant keyword. Since CashScript is strongly typed and has no type inference, it is not possible to use keywords such as var or let to declare variables.

caution

CashScript disallows variable shadowing and unused variables.

Example

int myNumber = 3000;
string constant myString = 'Bitcoin Cash';

Variable assignment

After their initial declaration, any variable can be reassigned later on. However, CashScript lacks any compound assignment operators such as += or -=.

Example

i = i + 1;
hashedValue = sha256(hashedValue);
myString = 'Cash';

Control structures

The only control structures in CashScript are if...else statements. This is due to limitations in the underlying Bitcoin Script which prevents loops, recursion, and return statements. If-else statements follow usual semantics known from languages like C or JavaScript.

note

There is no implicit type conversion from non-boolean to boolean types. So if (1) { ... } is not valid CashScript and should instead be written as if (bool(1)) { ... }

Example

pragma cashscript ^0.9.0;

contract OneOfTwo(bytes20 pkh1, bytes32 hash1, bytes20 pkh2, bytes32 hash2) {
function spend(pubkey pk, sig s, bytes message) {
require(checkSig(s, pk));
bytes20 pkh = hash160(pk);

if (pkh == pkh1) {
require(sha256(message) == hash1);
} else if (pkh == pkh2) {
require(sha256(message) == hash2);
} else {
require(false); // fail
}
}
}

console.log()

The console.log statement can be used to log values during debug evaluation of a transaction. Any variables or primitive values (such as ints, strings, bytes, etc) can be logged. You can read more about debugging in the debugging guide.

note

Logging is only available in debug evaluation of a transaction, but has no impact on the compiled bytecode or regular (non-debug) execution.

Comments

Comments can be added anywhere in the contract file. Comment semantics are similar to languages like JavaScript or C. This means that single-line comments can be added with // ..., while multiline comments can be added with /* ... */.

Example

// This is a single-line comment.

/*
This is a
multi-line comment.
*/