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Set up your ink! environment


This guide is for those who just getting started with exploring ink! or WASM smart contracts in the Astar ecosystem. Before you can get started you need to make sure your environment supports Rust.

What is ink!?

Ink! is a Rust eDSL developed by Parity. It targets specifically smart-contract development for Substrate’s pallet-contracts. But why ink!? Ink! chooses not to invent a new programming language, but rather adapt a subset of Rust to serve our purpose. If this doesn't already convince you, you find many more good reasons here.

Another most asked question when talking about WASM smart contract is: why WASM? Why WebAssembly for smart contracts? You can find all the answers here.

Ink! Environment Setup

Rust & Cargo

A pre-requisite for compiling smart contracts is to have Rust and Cargo installed. The easiest way to get Cargo is to install the current stable release of Rust by using rustup. Installing Rust using rustup will also install cargo. On Linux and macOS systems, this is done as follows:

curl -sSf | sh
# Configure
source ~/.cargo/env

It will download a script and start the installation. If you are using Windows, go to the Rust website to understand the steps. Configure to the latest stable and add nightly + WASM target

rustup default stable
rustup update
rustup update nightly
rustup target add wasm32-unknown-unknown --toolchain nightly

ink! CLI

The first and most important tool we will be installing is cargo-contract, a CLI tool for helping set up and manage WebAssembly smart contracts written with ink!.

As a pre-requisite for the tool, you need to install the binaryen package, which is used to optimize the WebAssembly bytecode of the contract.

There are ready-to-install packages for many platforms:
* Debian/Ubuntu: apt-get install binaryen
* Homebrew: brew install binaryen
* Arch Linux: pacman -S binaryen
* Windows: binary releases at

Two other dependencies are needed to link the ink! contract. This is done to warn users about using e.g., API's in a way that could lead to security issues.

cargo install cargo-dylint dylint-link

Many package managers have it available nowadays ‒ e.g., there is a package for Debian/UbuntuHomebrew, and Arch Linux. After you've installed the package, execute:

cargo install cargo-contract --force --locked

Use the --force to ensure you are updated to the most recent cargo-contract version.

You can then use cargo contract --help to start exploring the commands made available to you.