Much like the words “blockchain”, “AI” and “cloud”, “smart contract” is one of those phrases that get a lot of hype.
After all, what can be better than being able to trust what will happen instead of using the judicial system? The promises of smart contracts include:
- Enforcing contracts automatically, trustlessly and impartially
- Taking out the middle men in contract construction, contract execution and contract enforcement
- (By implication) Removing lawyers
I sympathize with the hype. After all, how much more efficient could things be if we could just remove the need for trusting the other party to execute?
What the heck is a smart contract, anyway? And isn’t that the domain of Ethereum? Isn’t this the way of the future? Why would you stand in the way of progress?
In this article, I’m going to examine what smart contracts are and the engineering reality that goes with it (spoiler: it’s not so simple and very hard to secure).
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