Bug characteristics in blockchain systems: a large-scale empirical study

Zhiyuan Wan, David Lo, Xin Xia, Liang Cai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Bugs severely hurt blockchain system dependability. A thorough understanding of blockchain bug characteristics is required to design effective tools for preventing, detecting and mitigating bugs. We perform an empirical study on bug characteristics in eight representative open source blockchain systems. First, we manually examine 1,108 bug reports to understand the nature of the reported bugs. Second, we leverage card sorting to label the bug reports, and obtain ten bug categories in blockchain systems. We further investigate the frequency distribution of bug categories across projects and programming languages. Finally, we study the relationship between bug categories and bug fixing time. The findings include: (1) semantic bugs are the dominant runtime bug category, (2) frequency distributions of bug types show similar trends across different projects and programming languages, (3) security bugs take the longest median time to be fixed, (4) 35.71% performance bugs are fixed in more than one year, performance bugs take the longest average time to be fixed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2017 IEEE/ACM 14th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR 2017
Subtitle of host publication20–21 May 2017 Buenos Aires, Argentina
EditorsAbram Hindle, Lin Tan
Place of PublicationPiscataway NJ USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781538615447, 9781538615454
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories 2017 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 20 May 201721 May 2017
Conference number: 14th
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/conhome/7959735/proceeding (Proceedings)


ConferenceIEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories 2017
Abbreviated titleMSR 2017
CityBuenos Aires
Internet address


  • blockchain
  • Bug characteristics
  • Empirical study

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