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Build a Proof of Existence dApp (Solidity)



In this tutorial, we will walk through the whole process of building a full dApp, writing both the smart contract in Solidity and the front end in React. Again, we will be making the Proof of Existence App. For those unfamiliar with what Proof of Existence on blockchain is or have yet to go through the previous tutorial. Please take a look at the Proof of Existence background introduction.
The complete source code of this tutorial can be seen at our cess-course repository.
Let's first look at the smart contract (Solidity) side and then the front-end side.

Smart Contract (Solidity)


We will use Hardhat as the smart contract development toolchain. So, let's install and initialize hardhat library.
mkdir hardhat
cd hardhat
pnpm dlx hardhat init
You will be asked a series of questions on configuring the project.
✔ What do you want to do? · Create a TypeScript project
✔ Hardhat project root: · (your chosen dir)
✔ Do you want to add a .gitignore? (Y/n) · y
✔ Do you want to install this sample project's dependencies with npm (hardhat @nomicfoundation/hardhat-toolbox)? (Y/n) · y
Prompting for Hardhat Project
Hardhat default to be using npm package manager, but feel free to use your preferred package manager.
Let's also add hardhat-deploy library to help deploy and manage the deployed smart contracts.
pnpm install -D hardhat-deploy
By default, Hardhat places a Lock.sol smart contract inside hardhat/contracts directory. Check that everything works by running pnpm hardhat test and see all test cases pass.
If you have any issues, refer back to the hardhat directory, its package.json, and hardhat.config.ts.


  1. 1.
    Let's configure hardhat.config.ts so it can deploy smart contracts to a hardhat network, a locally running hardhat node, and a locally running cess node.
    Please use the following hardhat config in hardhat.config.ts
    const config: HardhatUserConfig = {
    solidity: "0.8.19",
    defaultNetwork: "hardhat",
    namedAccounts: {
    deployer: {
    default: 0,
    beneficiary: {
    default: 1,
    networks: {
    hardhat: {
    // issue: https://github.com/sc-forks/solidity-coverage/issues/652,
    // refer to : https://github.com/sc-forks/solidity-coverage/issues/652#issuecomment-896330136
    initialBaseFeePerGas: 0
    localhost: {
    url: "http://localhost:8545",
    accounts: ["0xac0974bec39a17e36ba4a6b4d238ff944bacb478cbed5efcae784d7bf4f2ff80"],
    "cess-local": {
    url: "http://localhost:9944", // RPC endpoint of CESS testnet
    chainId: 11330,
    // private key of `//Alice` from Substrate
    accounts: ["0xe5be9a5092b81bca64be81d212e7f2f9eba183bb7a90954f7b76361f6edb5c0a"],
    A local hardhat node listen to http://localhost:8545, while a local CESS node listens to http://localhost:9944 port. With this config and hardhat-deploy component, we can deploy smart contract to our locally running CESS node by pnpm hardhat deploy --network cess-local.
  2. 2.
    Now, for the smart contract, we want to have the following methods:
    • claim(bytes32 hash): a method for the caller to claim ownership of a file with the specified hash.
    • forfeit(bytes32 hash): a method for the caller to forfeit ownership of a file with the specified hash.
    • ownedFiles(): retrieving all the file hashes owned by the user.
    • hasClaimed(hash): check whether a file hash has been claimed yet.
    // SPDX-License-Identifier: UNLICENSED
    pragma solidity ^0.8.19;
    contract ProofOfExistence {
    mapping(bytes32 => address) public files;
    mapping(address => bytes32[]) public users;
    event Claimed(address indexed owner, bytes32 indexed file);
    event Forfeited(address indexed owner, bytes32 indexed file);
    error NotFileOwner();
    error FileAlreadyClaimed();
    modifier isOwner(bytes32 hash) {
    address from = msg.sender;
    if (files[hash] != from) revert NotFileOwner();
    modifier notClaimed(bytes32 hash) {
    address from = msg.sender;
    if (files[hash] != address(0)) revert FileAlreadyClaimed();
    function hasClaimed(bytes32 hash) public view returns (bool) {
    address owner = files[hash];
    return (owner != address(0));
    function ownedFiles() public view returns (bytes32[] memory) {
    address from = msg.sender;
    return users[from];
    function claim(bytes32 hash) public notClaimed(hash) returns (bool) {
    address from = msg.sender;
    // update storage files
    files[hash] = from;
    // update storage users
    bytes32[] storage userFiles = users[from];
    emit Claimed(from, hash);
    return true;
    function forfeit(bytes32 hash) public isOwner(hash) returns (bool) {
    address from = msg.sender;
    // update storage files
    delete files[hash];
    // locate the index of the file going to be deleted.
    bytes32[] storage userFiles = users[from];
    uint32 delIdx = 0;
    for (uint32 i = 0; i < userFiles.length; i++) {
    if (userFiles[i] == hash) {
    delIdx = i;
    // update storage users by swap-delete
    if (delIdx != userFiles.length - 1) {
    userFiles[delIdx] = userFiles[userFiles.length - 1];
    // delete
    emit Forfeited(from, hash);
    return true;
  3. 3.
    We can now deploy the smart contract in our local CESS node, following the tutorial of Deploying a Smart Contract in CESS.
    • Run a CESS node locally.
    • Having the four accounts and their addresses ready. For details, refer to Substrate EVM Address Conversion.
      1. 1.
        A CESS signing account, we will be using /Alice: cXjmuHdBk4J3Zyt2oGodwGegNFaTFPcfC48PZ9NMmcUFzF6cc. This account also has some TCESS tokens initialized in a local CESS node.
      2. 2.
        The EVM-mapped account of the above CESS signing account, which is 0xd43593c715fdd31c61141abd04a99fd6822c8558
      3. 3.
        An EVM signing account, we will import the Alice private key 0xe5be9a5092b81bca64be81d212e7f2f9eba183bb7a90954f7b76361f6edb5c0a into Metamask, and this yields an address of 0x8097c3C354652CB1EEed3E5B65fBa2576470678A.
      4. 4.
        The Substrate-mapped address of the above EVM signing account (#3), which is cXgEvnbJfHsaN8HfoiEWfAi4QBENYbLKitRfG1CDYZpKTRRuw.
    • We first transfer some test tokens (say 1M tokens) from account #1 (Substrate account) to account #3 (EVM account) in Polkadot.js Apps.
    • With tokens in #3 wallet, we can deploy the Solidity smart contract on the local CESS node. We run the following hardhat command. Here, please modify the hardhat.config.ts accordingly about the account that you use for deployment.
      pnpm hardhat deploy --reset --network cess-local
      Take note of the deployed address for ProofOfExistence smart contract.
  4. 4.
    Next, we can connect to the smart contract using Remix and interact with the smart contract.

Front End


The complete front-end source code can be seen here.
If you run it, you will see the Proof of Existence (Solidity) widget in the bottom right corner:
Front-end Template PoE-Solidity


The major development of the frontend is at frontend/src/ProofOfExistenceSolidity.js, as shown here.
We won't go over the front-end code line by line, but there are a few features I will point out here.
  • We are using wagmi library for the React Hooks to work with Ethereum smart contracts.
  • To use wagmi, we define our CESS local chain at here:
    const RPC_ENDPOINT = "http://localhost:9944";
    const cessLocal = {
    id: 11330,
    name: "CESS Local",
    network: "cess-local",
    nativeCurrency: {
    decimal: 18,
    name: "CESS Testnet Token",
    symbol: "TCESS",
    rpcUrls: {
    public: { http: [RPC_ENDPOINT] },
    default: { http: [RPC_ENDPOINT] },
  • Then, we build up the chain's public clients and pass the clients in createConfig(). Finally, the config object is passed into the WagmiConfig React component.
    const { publicClient, webSocketPublicClient } = configureChains(
    rpc: (chain) => ({
    http: RPC_ENDPOINT,
    const config = createConfig({
    export default function PoESolidityWithWagmiProvider(props) {
    return (
    <WagmiConfig config={config}>
    <PoESolidity />
  • To connect to our Ethereum wallet, we use useConnect() hook, which is being called in the ConnectWallet component.
  • We get the information of the currently selected account and its balance by useAccount() and useBalance() hooks. These hooks are being used in the PoESolidity component.
  • We read the contract data using useContractRead(). One point to note here is we need to specify the account argument so the msg.sender value is set on the smart contract side.
  • For writing to the contract, we follow the practice outlined in wagmi docs. We:
    • use useDebounce() to ensure the smart contract is not being called too often.
    • use usePrepareContractWrite() to prepare for the contract write action.
    • use useContractWrite() to get the write() function to be passed in our TxButton component click handler.
    • use useWaitForTransaction() to get the transaction information and its status.

Tutorial Completion

Congratulation! Let's recap what we have done in this tutorial:
  • We have successfully implemented a PoE logic in the Solidity smart contract and deployed it on a local CESS node.
  • Starting with the Substrate Front End Template and adding wagmi React hook library, we have successfully implemented the front end that interacts with the smart contract.
Now, you can build your dApps and deploy them on the CESS testnet to test it out. If you haven't done so, try also to develop a dApp with Ink! smart contract as well.