A contract after selfdestruct cannot manage transactions, and as such any ether sent to it is lost. Wouldn't be better to switch to a contract defined state "dismissed" and reject any ether sent by mistake when in such a state?


2 Answers 2


In my opinion, no, self-destruct is usually not a good practice. As you say, it creates dangerous voids on the blockchain where:

  1. no one has a signing key,
  2. there is no contract code, and
  3. possibly users believe there is a contract there.

Any funds sent to such an address will be unrecoverable which is the same as destroyed.

A conscientious developer can completely disable a contract without creating such a void.

contract Pausable is Ownable {

  bool public isRunning;

  modifier onlyWhenRunning {

  function stopContract() public onlyOwner {
    isRunning = false;

Check out OpenZeppelin for a more complete implementation of the pattern.

Hope it helps.

  • Actually OpenZeppelin has a Destructible contract which calls selfdestruct(...)
    – Davide C
    Oct 2, 2018 at 9:59
  • I'm not against using it with extreme caution such as in the context of upgradable contracts. What concerns me is using it as a standard operating procedure. It's often not the optimal solution. Oct 7, 2018 at 23:00
  • Thanks for sharing that much better code snippet.
    – whoff
    Nov 20, 2020 at 3:21

You can implement this functionality by yourself. You can implement a modifier before the selfdestruct instruction to check the quantity of ether owned by the contract. This way, the contract could be "destroyed" only if it does not own ether.

  • I don't think this answers the question. The question was about best practice and what happens to sent Ether after the contract has been destroyed - own implementation doesn't help in this case. Oct 1, 2018 at 8:32
  • True. But can we talk about good practice if the functionality described is the only one available? Oct 1, 2018 at 8:36
  • Davide is saying something different: he thinks to leave a “reject ether” function in place, fully working, instead of self destruction. I can say that self destructing is useful to clean the blockchain, freeing space. If you restrict the functionality of a contract only, all the code space remains occupied... anyway I understand the point.
    – Rick Park
    Oct 1, 2018 at 8:39
  • Ok, I got it, sorry for the misunderstanding. Oct 1, 2018 at 9:26

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