Decentralized blockchain platforms have enabled the secure exchange of crypto-assets without the intermediation of trusted authorities. To this purpose, these platforms rely on a peer-to-peer network of byzantine nodes, which collaboratively maintain an append-only ledger of transactions, called blockchain. Transactions represent the actions required by users, e.g. the transfer of some units of crypto-currency to another user, or the invocation of a smart contract which distributes some crypto-assets according to a complex logic. Part of the nodes of the peer-to-peer network append blocks of transactions to the blockchain. To do so, they group the transactions sent by users into blocks, and update their view of the blockchain state by executing these transactions in the chosen order. Once a block of transactions is appended to the blockchain, the other nodes validate it, re-executing the transactions in the same order. The serial execution of transactions does not take advantage of the multi-core architecture of modern processors, so contributing to limit the throughput. In this paper we develop a theory of transaction parallelism for blockchains, which exploits static analysis of transactions and smart contracts to improve the performance of blockchain platforms.