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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Writing Smart Contracts

Now have seen some very contradictory views of how well a 'smart contract' could truly model an actual legal contract, except for the most trivial ones.     Maintaining them might also required considerable preliminary design.

Writing a smart contract? Look at the (legal and computer) codes.  By Denise Wong Wai Yan

What are smart contracts?
Despite their name, smart contracts are not actually legally binding contracts. They are actually computer programs, which, when certain pre-specified conditions are met, trigger an event. Though not strictly necessary, they are often implemented with Blockchain technology

The basic idea of smart contracts is that many kinds of contractual clauses (such as liens, bonding, delineation of property rights, etc.) can be embedded in the hardware and software we deal with, in such a way as to make breach of contract expensive (if desired, sometimes prohibitively so) for the breacher.

— Nick Szabo, creator of the smart contract concept in 1997

That said, smart contracts may be made legally binding. That is to say, whilst thus far, we have only recognised contracts to have binding force where they are written in a human language, we may extend this recognition to where contracts are written in code.

This is exactly the objective the Accord Project is trying to achieve. Backed by a veritable list of who’s who across the fields of technology and law firms (the last time I saw so many reputable law firms on one page was on a brochure for a law fair), they seek to build the “smart legal contracts stack”. This goal has garnered further support from IBM, with the giant partnering with smart contract giant Clause. The result thus far, has been a ‘sample code catalogue’ demonstrating this for perishable goods logistic network.  .... " 

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