What is Contract State

Contract state is a specific condition intentionally caused to the smart contract. The state is defined by a single or a number of contract action(s) taken by the parties.

The state records any changes, permissions, or other instructions given to the contract. Much like the DNA of the cell, the state reflects what happened to the contract throughout its "life".

The state is a necessary component of any smart contract that exists in the blockchain database. That said, only the parties entering into an agreement can request changes to the contract state.

As with all blockchain transactions*, the nodes (individual computers) processing them will prevent unauthorized access by third parties. Also, only specific contract actions defined in the code will have an effect on the contract state. Even in case of dispute escalation, the Zenland agent** is assigned to the case by either party after being invited. Before that specific action is taken no agent can access the contract.

Depending on what action is taken and what changes are made, the Zenland contract remains in the:

  • draft,

  • deployed,

  • active,

  • fulfilled,

  • disputed, or

  • executed state.


Because the contract in the draft state is yet to be deployed (published) to the blockchain, the parties may edit the contract terms. After the contract is sent to the blockchain database, the actions only control but do not allow editing its terms.

Once the contract is executed, no further action is taken and the contract remains in this state as long as the blockchain exists. Thus, the executed state is the permanent state of a smart contract.

For information on what a particular state means refer to the relevant chapter in the current section.

Good to know

* Blockchain transactions are processed by nodes (individual computers) and require a fee known as a gas fee.

More on gas fees and why they exist can be found in "What is Network".

** Zenland agent is a contract-neutral third party, a verified individual who signs an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and is trusted with the case.

Read agent-assisted disputes in detail under the "Invite an Agent".

Last updated