Skip to main content


This page mainly describes the differences between Sapphire and Ethereum since there are a number of excellent tutorials on developing for Ethereum. If you don't know where to begin, the Hardhat tutorial, Solidity docs, and Emerald dApp tutorial are great places to start. You can continue following this guide once you've set up your development environment and have deployed your contract to a non-confidential EVM network (e.g., Ropsten, Emerald).

Oasis Consensus Layer and Sapphire ParaTime

The Oasis Network consists of the consensus layer and a number of ParaTimes. ParaTimes are independent replicated state machines that settle transactions using the consensus layer (to learn more, check the Oasis Network Overview). Sapphire is a ParaTime which implements the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

The minimum and also expected block time in Sapphire is 6 seconds. Any Sapphire transaction will require at least this amount of time to be executed, and probably no more.

ParaTimes, Sapphire included, are not allowed to directly access your tokens stored in consensus layer accounts. You will need to deposit tokens from your consensus account to Sapphire. Consult the How to transfer ROSE into an EVM ParaTime chapter to learn more.

Testnet and Mainnet

Sapphire is deployed on both Testnet and Mainnet. The Testnet should be considered unstable software and may have its state wiped at any time. As the name implies, only use the Testnet for testing unless you're testing how angry your users get when state is wiped.

Never deploy production services on Testnet

Because Testnet state can be wiped in the future, you should never deploy a production service on the Testnet! Just don't do it!

Also note that while the Testnet does use actual TEEs, due to experimental software and different security parameters, confidentiality of Sapphire on the Testnet is not guaranteed -- all transactions and state published on the Sapphire Testnet should be considered public.


For testing purposes, visit our Testnet faucet to obtain some TEST which you can then use on the Sapphire Testnet to pay for gas fees. The faucet supports sending TEST both to your consensus layer address or to your address inside the ParaTime.

Sapphire vs Ethereum

Sapphire is generally compatible with Ethereum, the EVM, and all of the user and developer tooling that you already use. There are a few breaking changes, but we think that you'll like them:

  • Contract state is only visible to the contract that wrote it. With respect to the contract API, it's as if all state variables are declared as private, but with the further restriction that not even full nodes can read the values. Public or access-controlled values are provided instead through explicit getters.
  • Transactions and calls are end-to-end encrypted into the contract. Only the caller and the contract can see the data sent to/received from the ParaTime. This ends up defeating most of the utility of block explorers, however.
  • The from address using of calls is derived from a signature attached to the call. Unsigned calls have their sender set to the zero address. This allows contract authors to write getters that release secrets to authenticated callers, but without requiring a transaction to be posted on-chain.

In addition to confidentiality, you get a few extra benefits including the ability to generate private entropy, and make signatures on-chain. An example of a dApp that uses both is a HSM contract that generates an Ethereum wallet and signs transactions sent to it via transactions.

Otherwise Sapphire is like Emerald, which is like a fast, cheap Ethereum.

Integrating Sapphire

Once ROSE tokens are deposited into Sapphire, it should be painless for users to begin using dApps. To achieve this ideal user experience, we have to modify the dApp a little, but it's made simple by our compatibility library, @oasisprotocol/sapphire-paratime.

There are compatibility layers in other languages, which may be found in the repo.

Writing Secure dApps


Sapphire is compatible with popular self-custodial wallets including MetaMask, Ledger, Brave, and so forth. You can also use libraries like Web3.js and Ethers to create programmatic wallets. In general, if it generates secp256k1 signatures, it'll work just fine.

Languages & Frameworks

Sapphire is programmable using any language that targets the EVM, such as Solidity and Vyper. If you prefer to use an Ethereum framework like Hardhat or Truffle, you can also use those with Sapphire; all you need to do is set your Web3 gateway URL. You can find the details of the Oasis Sapphire Web3 gateway here.

Transactions & Calls

Client, Key Manager, Compute Node diagram

The figure above illustrates the flow of a confidential smart contract transaction executed on the Sapphire ParaTime.

Transactions and calls must be encrypted and signed for maximum security. You can use the @oasisprotocol/sapphire-paratime JS package to make your life easy. It'll handle cryptography and signing for you.

You should be aware that taking actions based on the value of private data may leak the private data through side channels like time spent and gas use. If you need to branch on private data, you should in most cases ensure that both branches exhibit similar time/gas and storage patterns.

You can also make confidential smart contract calls on Sapphire. If you use msg.sender for access control in your contract, the call must be signed, otherwise msg.sender will be zeroed. On the other hand, set the from address to all zeros, if you want to avoid annoying signature popups in the user's wallet for calls that do not need to be signed. The JS library will do this for you.


Inside the smart contract code, there is no way of knowing whether the client's call data were originally encrypted or not.

Detailed confidential smart contract transaction flow on Sapphire
Detailed confidential smart contract call flow on Sapphire

Contract State

The Sapphire state model is like Ethereum's except for all state being encrypted and not accessible to anyone except the contract. The contract, executing in an active (attested) Oasis compute node is the only entity that can request its state encryption key from the Oasis key manager. Both the keys and values of the items stored in state are encrypted, but the size of either is not hidden. You app may need to pad state items to a constant length, or use other obfuscation. Observers may also be able to infer computation based on storage access patterns, so you might need to obfuscate that, too.

Contract state leaks a fine-grained access pattern

Contract state is backed by an encrypted key-value store. However, the trace of encrypted records is leaked to the compute node. As a concrete example, an ERC-20 token transfer would leak which encrypted record is for the sender's account balance and which is for the receiver's account balance. Such a token would be traceable from sender address to receiver address. Obfuscating the storage access patterns may be done by using an ORAM implementation.

Contract state may be made available to third parties through logs/events, or explicit getters.

Contract Logs

Contract logs/events (e.g., those emitted by the Solidity emit keyword) are exactly like Ethereum. Data contained in events is not encrypted. Precompiled contracts are available to help you encrypt data that you can then pack into an event, however.

Unmodified contracts may leak state through logs

Base contracts like those provided by OpenZeppelin often emit logs containing private information. If you don't know they're doing that, you might undermine the confidentiality of your state. As a concrete example, the ERC-20 spec requires implementers to emit an event Transfer(from, to, amount), which is obviously problematic if you're writing a confidential token. What you can do instead is fork that contract and remove the offending emissions.

Contract Verification

Sourcify is the preferred service for the verification of smart contracts deployed on Sapphire. Make sure you have the address of each deployed contract available (your deployment scripts should report those) and the contracts JSON metadata file generated when compiling contracts (Hardhat stores it inside the artifacts/build-info folder and names it as a 32-digit hex number). If your project contains multiple contracts, you will need to verify each contract separately.

Contract deployment encryption

Do not deploy your contract with an encrypted contract deployment transaction, if you want to verify it. For example, if your hardhat.config.ts or deployment script contains import '@oasisprotocol/sapphire-hardhat' or import '@oasisprotocol/sapphire-paratime' lines at the beginning, you should comment those out for the deployment.

Verification services will try to match the contract deployment transaction code with the one in the provided contract's metadata and since the transaction was encrypted with an ephemeral ParaTime key, the verification service will not be able to decrypt it. Some services may extract the contract's bytecode from the chain directly by calling eth_getCode RPC, but this will not work correctly for contracts with immutable variables.

To verify a contract deployed on Sapphire Mainnet or Testnet:

  1. Visit the Sourcify website and hit the "VERIFY CONTRACT" button.

    Sourcify website

  2. Upload the contracts JSON metadata file.

    Sourcify: Upload metadata JSON file

    Store your metadata files

    For production deployments, it is generally a good idea to archive your contract metadata JSON file since it is not only useful for the verification, but contains a copy of all the source files, produced bytecode, an ABI, compiler and other relevant contract-related settings that may be useful in the future. Sourcify will store the metadata file for you and will even make it available via IPFS, but it is still a good idea to store it yourself.

  3. Sourcify will decode the metadata and prepare a list of included contracts on the right. Enter the address of the specific contract and select the "Oasis Sapphire" or "Oasis Sapphire Testnet" chain for the Mainnet or Testnet accordingly. If your contract assigns any immutable variables in the constructor, you will also need to correctly fill those out under the "More Inputs (optional)" panel. Finally, click on the "Verify" button.

    Sourcify: Verify contract

  4. If everything goes well, you will get a Perfect match notice and your contract is now verified. Congratulations!

In case of a Partial match, the contracts metadata JSON differs from the one used for deployment although the compiled contract bytecode matched. Make sure the source code .sol file of the contract is the same as the one used during the deployment (including the comments, variable names and source code file names) and use the same version of Hardhat and solc compiler.

You can also explore other verification methods on Sourcify by reading the official Sourcify contract verification instructions.

Running a Private Oasis Network Locally

For convenient development and testing of your dApps the Oasis team prepared the Docker image which brings you a complete Oasis stack to your desktop. The Localnet Sapphire instance mimics confidential transactions, but it does not run in a trusted execution environment nor does it require Intel's SGX on your computer. The network is isolated from the Mainnet or Testnet and consists of:

  • single Oasis validator node with 1-second block time and 30-second epoch,
  • single Oasis client node,
  • three compute nodes running Oasis Sapphire,
  • single key manager node,
  • PostgreSQL instance,
  • Oasis Web3 gateway with transaction indexer and enabled Oasis RPCs,
  • helper script which populates initial test accounts for you.

To run the image, execute:

docker run -it -p8545:8545 -p8546:8546

After a while, the tool will show you something like this:

sapphire-dev 2023-02-28-git84730b2 (oasis-core: 22.2.6, sapphire-paratime: 0.4.0, oasis-web3-gateway: 3.2.0-git84730b2)

Starting oasis-net-runner with sapphire...
Starting postgresql...
Starting oasis-web3-gateway...
Bootstrapping network and populating account(s) (this might take a minute)...

Available Accounts
(0) 0x75eCF0d4496C2f10e4e9aF3D4d174576Ee9010E2 (100 ROSE)
(1) 0x903a7dce5a26a3f4DE2d157606c2191740Bc4BC9 (100 ROSE)
(2) 0xF149ad5CBFfD92ba84F5784106f6Cb071A32a1b8 (100 ROSE)
(3) 0x2315F40C1122400Df55483743B051D2997ef0a62 (100 ROSE)
(4) 0xf6FdcacbA93A428A07d27dacEf1fBF25E2C65B0F (100 ROSE)

Private Keys
(0) 0x160f52faa5c0aecfa26c793424a04d53cbf23dcad5901ce15b50c2e85b9d6ca7
(1) 0x0ba685723b47d8e744b1b70a9bea9d4d968f60205385ae9de99865174c1af110
(2) 0xfa990cf0c22af455d2734c879a2a844ff99bd779b400bb0e2919758d1be284b5
(3) 0x3bf225ef73b1b56b03ceec8bb4dfb4830b662b073b312beb7e7fec3159b1bb4f
(4) 0xad0dd7ceb896fd5f5ddc76d56e54ee6d5c2a3ffeac7714d3ef544d3d6262512c

HD Wallet
Mnemonic: bench remain brave curve frozen verify dream margin alarm world repair innocent
Base HD Path: m/44'/60'/0'/0/%d

WARNING: The chain is running in ephemeral mode. State will be lost after restart!

Listening on http://localhost:8545 and ws://localhost:8546

Those familiar with local dApp environments will find the output above similar to geth --dev or ganache-cli commands or the geth-dev-assistant npm package. sapphire-dev will spin up a private Oasis Network locally, generate and populate test accounts and make the following Web3 endpoints available for you to use:

  • http://localhost:8545
  • ws://localhost:8546

If you prefer using the same mnemonics each time (e.g. for testing purposes) or to populate just a single wallet, use -to flag and pass the mnemonics or the wallet addresses. For example

docker run -it -p8545:8545 -p8546:8546 -to "bench remain brave curve frozen verify dream margin alarm world repair innocent"
docker run -it -p8545:8545 -p8546:8546 -to "0x75eCF0d4496C2f10e4e9aF3D4d174576Ee9010E2,0xbDA5747bFD65F08deb54cb465eB87D40e51B197E"

sapphire-dev runs in ephemeral mode. Any smart contract and wallet balance will be lost after you quit the Docker container!

See also

📄️ ParaTime Client Node

These instructions are for setting up a ParaTime client node which only observes ParaTime activity and can submit transactions. If you want to run a ParaTime node instead, see the instructions for running a ParaTime node. Similarly, if you want to run a validator or a non-validator node instead, see the instructions for running a validator node or instructions for running a non-validator node.

📄️ Web3 Gateway

Web3 gateway for Emerald and Sapphire ParaTimes