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Deploying smart contracts


In Tezos, deploying a smart contract is often referred to as “origination”. This process essentially creates a new account that holds the smart contract's script. Contracts originated in this manner have addresses that start with KT1, which distinguishes them from the user accounts with addresses beginning with tz1, tz2, or tz3.


  • Compile your contract and its initial storage
  • Set up an wallet account on Tezos with some tez to pay the fees

Deploying a smart contract

Generally, there are two methods for deploying your smart contracts: either using the command line in your terminal or deploying through an online IDE.

Deploying via terminal

The first one is to deploy through your terminal. Here is the syntax for the Tezos command line to deploy a smart contract:

octez-client originate contract CONTRACT_NAME transferring AMOUNT_TEZ from FROM_USER \
--init 'INITIAL_STORAGE' --burn-cap GAZ_FEE


  • CONTRACT_NAME is the name given to the contract.
  • MICHELSON_FILE is the path for the Michelson smart contract code (.tz file).
  • AMOUNT_TEZ is the quantity of tez being transferred to the newly deployed contract. If a contract balance reaches 0 then it is deactivated.
  • FROM_USER account from which the tez are taken (and transferred to the new contract).
  • INITIAL_STORAGE is a Michelson expression. The --init parameter is used to specify the initial state of the storage.
  • GAZ_FEE is a specified maximal fee the user is willing to pay for this operation (using the --burn-cap parameter).

Deploying via online IDE

As for deploying through your online IDE, if you are using LIGO or SmartPy programming languages, you can deploy your smart contracts through their respective online IDEs.

Compiling the initial storage value

When you deploy a contract, you initialize its storage. The initial value of the storage must be a Micheline value, which is the format for variables in Michelson smart contracts. The high-level languages provide tools to compile the initial values of smart contracts into Micheline values.

Compiling LIGO storage values

For LIGO smart contracts, you can use the ligo compile storage command. For example, assume that a JsLIGO contract has a storage value that includes a list of integers, a string, and an integer:

type storage = [

When this contract is compiled to Michelson, the storage line of the contract looks like this:

storage (pair (list int) string int) ;

To compile an initial value to this format, you can pass a JsLIGO value to the ligo compile storage command, as in this example:

ligo compile storage MyContract.jsligo '[list([1,2,3,4]), "start", 0]'

The result is the Micheline value, as in this example:

(Pair { 1 ; 2 ; 3 ; 4 } "start" 0)

Then you can use this Micheline value as the initial storage value for the contract:

octez-client originate contract MyContract \
transferring 0 from my_account \
running --init '(Pair { 1 ; 2 ; 3 ; 4 } "start" 0)' \
--burn-cap 1

Compiling SmartPy storage values

SmartPy lets you set the initial value of the contract storage in the smart contract code in the __init__ function. For example, this contract defines three storage variables and sets their initial values:

import smartpy as sp

def main():
class MyList(sp.Contract):
def __init__(self): = [1,2,3,4] = "hello" = 5

Now you can compile and deploy the contract via the online IDE with these starting values.

If you want to deploy the contract with the Octez client, add a test to the contract and run the test with the command python One of the files this command creates ends in and contains the Micheline value of the initial storage, as in this example:

(Pair {1; 2; 3; 4} (Pair 5 "hello"))

Then you can use this Micheline value as the initial storage value for the contract:

octez-client originate contract MyContract \
transferring 0 from my_account \
running --init '(Pair { 1 ; 2 ; 3 ; 4 } "start" 0)' \
--burn-cap 1

Interacting with the contract

When you have successfully originated the smart contract and it is included in a baked block, there are two ways to interact with it: through command lines or through a block explorer.

Interacting through command lines

The first method involves interacting with the contract's entry points using command lines.

For example, suppose you have a smart contract with an entrypoint called update_data, which takes an integer as an argument to update some data in its storage. Here's how you might invoke this entrypoint:

--arg 'New_Integer_Value' \
--entrypoint update_data \
--burn-cap FEE_LIMIT


  • CONTRACT_NAME: Identifier or the address of the contract that you want to interact with.
  • YOUR_ACCOUNT_ADDRESS Your own account address that will initiate the transaction.
  • --arg: Argument that you're passing to the entrypoint, in this case, an integer value. You need to format this according to the expected input in the contract's Michelson code.
  • --entrypoint: Method in the smart contract that you're calling.
  • --burn-cap: The maximum fee you are willing to spend for this transaction to be included in the blockchain.

Here's an example with hypothetical values filled in:

octez-client call KT1Vsw5kh4P1Vn... from tz1VSUr8wwNhLAzempoch5d6hLRiTh8Cjcjb \
--arg '42' \
--entrypoint update_data \
--burn-cap 0.05


  • KT1Vsw5kh4P1Vn...: Contract address.
  • tz1VSUr8wwNhLAzempoch5d6hLRiTh8Cjcjb: User's account address.
  • '42': New integer value you wish to pass to the update_data entrypoint.
  • 0.05: Maximum amount of tez you're willing to pay in fees.

Always ensure that you check the documentation specific to the smart contract you are interacting with, as the expected arguments (--arg) and the name of the entrypoint (--entrypoint) can vary widely depending on the contract's design and purpose.

Interacting via blockchain explorers

A blockchain explorer is an efficient and user-friendly tool that enables you to interact with deployed contracts. In the Tezos ecosystem, there are two main blockchain explorers:

To interact with a contract, copy its address into one of these blockchain explorers. Below is the user interface for interacting with a contract through Better Call Dev:

UI for Better Call Dev