Smart Contracts

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Smart Contracts

  • Andrew Stover

    I think that one of the most interesting possibilities for Ethereum exists in its ability to create smart contracts. Essentially, you could set up a contract that two individuals could utilize like a computer program. Once a certain action is complete, the program automatically executes. You can even introduce third parties as arbiters, selectable by the two contracting parties. This seems to be a very real world way to actualize the anarchistic concept of private law, as you could select a private judge or computer program to be the final arbiter in your disagreement.

    For more about smart contracts, check out this article by Nick Szabo.

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  • Pete Sisco

    I just learn about Ethereum a few days ago and I’m fascinated by it. I believe the entire infrastructure of the coercive State can be replaced by voluntary contracts that are operated for a profit. Once of the keys to operation success is near-zero friction in terms of cost and speed of commerce. From what (little) I understand of what Ethereum is doing they seem to have found ways to do this.

    This is a HUGE technology. When strangers on opposite sides of the planet can interact with confidence of integrity it soon obviates the “need” for governments to act as referees and parasites to the individuals.

     

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      Justin Heyns

      It’s hard to wrap one’s head around it all but to use an object oriented analogy, the ethereum wiki likened an ethereum message to a function call in code and a contract to an object. We know how complex the OO paradigm allows us to be. One of the interesting aspect to DAPPs (distributed autonomous applications) is that it costs ether to execute. This forces coders to be as efficient as possible and only use the blockchain when necessary. I’d love to hear people brainstorm ideas for DAPPs that are as complex as they can be. Something beyond escrow and all the use cases we’re already familiar with.

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    Andrew Stover

    One of the first ideas I had that came to mind was attaching a smart contract system to a car. So, all you have to do to use it is scan the QR code in the window, and an ownership or rental contract is automatically exercised and funds are instantly transferred. Similar things are definitely being done now, but this could be much more efficient.

    I imagine a city in the future where are a bunch of these Elio cars that are coming out in 2015.

    Low cost, High Fuel Mileage Car

    The cars are scattered across the city, and you locate the nearest one on your phone, walk up to it, scan the QR code and drive to wherever you need to go. When you’re done, get out and leave it there.

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      Pete Sisco

      The important part is the granularity of the contracts. The renter can have his own terms and conditions built into every trade he makes. He might not want to patronize a company that is a defense contractor or one that pollutes beyond a specified level of air/water contamination or one that does trade with specific governments or with a specific company the renter is boycotting.

      This moves the balance of power in the economy back toward the individual and those billions of individual preferences eventually supplant political laws and political voting. That’s how big this is!

       

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    Kevin Victor

    So these smart contracts can be set up between individuals and third parties, but what would Ethereum’s role be at that point? Would they be the “central” authority for these contractual agreements, or would they just be the platform to build from?

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    Pete Sisco

    My understanding is that Etherium has the technology to render these contracts into an encrypted, distributed form so total privacy is maintained but fidelity of the contract is monitored by the millisecond. That is an order of magnitude jump in the utility of agreements.

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