There exist special variables and functions in solidity which exist in the global namespace and are mainly used to provide information about the blockchain or utility functions. They are of two types:
1) Block and Transaction Properties: Block Transaction Properties
block.coinbase (address payable) Current block miner’s address block.difficulty (uint) Current block difficulty msg.value (uint) Number of wei sent with the message block.number (uint): Current block number blockhash(uint blockNumber) returns (bytes32) Gives hash of the given block and will only work for the 256
most recent block due to the reason of scalability.
block.timestamp: Current block timestamp as seconds since unix epoch gasleft() returns (uint256): Remaining gas msg.sender (address payable) Sender of the message (current call) msg.sig (bytes4) First four bytes of the calldata (i.e. function identifier) now (uint) Current block timestamp (alias for block.timestamp) tx.gasprice (uint) Gas price of the transaction block.gaslimit (uint) Current block gaslimit tx.origin (address payable) Sender of the transaction (full call chain) msg.data (bytes calldata) Complete calldata
- The values of all members of msg can change for every external function call.
- block.timestamp, now and blockhash as a source of randomness are not secure. Timestamp and the blockhash can be influenced by the miners.
2) ABI encoding and decoding functions: Function Properties
abi.decode(bytes memory encodedData, (…)) returns (…) Decodes the given data, while the types are given in parentheses as second argument. abi.encode(…) returns (bytes memory) Encodes the given arguments abi.encodePacked(…) returns (bytes memory) Performs packed encoding of the arguments. abi.encodeWithSelector(bytes4 selector, …) returns (bytes memory) Encodes the given arguments starting from the second and prepends the given four-byte selector abi.encodeWithSignature(string memory signature, …) returns (bytes memory) Equivalent to abi.encodeWithSelector(bytes4(keccak256(bytes(signature))), …)`
Example #1: In the below example, a contract is created to demonstrate msg.sender as a secure way to store the roll number.
Example#2: In the below example, a contract is created with a function that demonstrates the variable abi.encode.
Example#3: In the below example, a contract is created to demonstrate the special variables block.number and blockhash.