Admin Access

While Access Control focuses primarily on who can take certain actions, there are many patterns around what-the code itself-can access certain actions.

If you have not learned about Access Modifiers yet, head to the Chapter on Access Control in the Beginner Cadence Course created by us.

Admin Access to User Data

There are times when we want our smart contracts, or “Admin”, to have control over user data while disallowing the general public from having that same control. The difficulty in Cadence is that, unlike central ledger-based smart contract languages like Solidity which store data in the contract, users own their own and have full control over their data in their account storage. So how do we get users to give that control over their data to an Admin while not allowing the public to do so?

Let’s say we have an non-standardized NonFungibleToken contract (for simplicity sake) where users can mint NFTs. At a later point, the Admin should be able to upgrade a user’s NFT metadata to a higher tier.

			pub contract EmeraldNFT {
  pub enum Rarity: UInt8 {
    pub case Common // 0
    pub case Rare // 1
    pub case Epic // 2
    pub case Legendary // 3

  pub resource NFT {
    pub let id: UInt64
    pub let name: String
    pub var rarity: Rarity

    // This function can only be called inside this contract
    access(contract) fun upgradeRarity() {
      let rawValue = self.rarity.rawValue
      assert(rawValue != 3, message: "This NFT is already legendary!")
      self.rarity = Rarity(rawValue: rawValue + 1)!

    init(name: String) { = self.uuid = name
      self.rarity = Rarity.Common

  pub resource interface CollectionPublic {
    pub fun borrowNFTRef(id: UInt64): &NFT?

  pub resource Collection: CollectionPublic {
    // ... full implementation not shown ...

    pub let ownedNFTs: @{UInt64: NFT}

    pub fun borrowNFTRef(id: UInt64): &NFT? {
      return &self.ownedNFTs[id]

    init() {
      self.ownedNFTs <- {}

    destroy() {
      destroy self.ownedNFTs

  pub resource Admin {
    // Add a function an Admin can call that calls
    // the `upgradeRarity` function on a user's
    // NFT reference
    pub fun upgradeUserNFT(userNFT: &NFT) {

  init() {<- create Admin(), to: /storage/EmeraldNFTAdmin)

By putting the ‘access(control)’ modifier on the ‘upgradeRarity’ function inside the NFT resource, we restrict it to only being callable inside the contract. This allows us to define an ‘Admin’ resource that calls that function. No one else will be able to call it since it is not defined in the contract.

It is important to note that in order for the Admin to get a reference to the user's NFT, it must be made publicly available by the user. If the user were to decide to 'unlink' their Collection, the Admin would not be able to upgrade the NFT or modify its data at all.