Testing the reach of smart contracts


Tuesday March 9 2021, 14.00 - 15.00 UK time

Of the innovations spawned by blockchain technology, smart contacts are potentially the most revolutionary. They underpinned crypto-currency transactions from the outset, by allowing buyers to prevent sellers using the currency until goods were received. DeFi tokens would not work at all without smart contracts to execute transactions (such as a payment) when conditions (such as a delivery) are met. Indeed, the whole point of a smart contract was, in common with blockchain in general, to conquer the problem of trust in peer-to-peer transaction by preventing counterparties reneging on their obligations. This has an interesting side-effect. As computer programmes which can execute autonomously, they are more difficult for counterparts to terminate or regulators to shut down than current systems for transferring value. Theoretically, they can also encapsulate all or part of a legal agreement and execute its terms automatically, turning a commercial relationship into a contract that is impossible to stop if the code does not permit it. That is not true of the conventional alternative of a contract written in legal language, though both smart contracts and conventional contracts address the same problem: lack of trust. That said, even a smart contract cannot dispense with the need to negotiate terms at the outset, engage in dispute resolution and allow appeal to the courts. Smart contracts are, however, more adaptable to changing conditions than a conventional contract. Obligations under a smart contract can be adjusted to developments in the real world, such as a change in the rate of interest on a floating rate loan, or the occurrence of a natural disaster under an insurance contract, or simply the need to re-stock the refrigerator (although in complex cases, this can require the intervention of a so-called oracle). Smart contracts are less susceptible to contractual ambiguity, machine-readable and modular, allowing them to be broken into pieces which can be reassembled easily for a different purpose. They can also clear some of the most intractable barriers to commerce: time, language and distance. All of which suggests smart contracts can reduce transaction and monitoring costs substantially. However, smart contracts have not yet become part of the mental furniture of the traditional financial services industry. The panellists at this Future of Finance webinar will discuss whether smart contracts will fulfil the dreams of blockchain idealists, achieve a modus vivendi with existing social technologies, or join the ranks of failed techniques.

Topics of discussion include:
• In what areas of financial services have smart contracts been deployed successfully?
• Is the use of smart contracts restricted to what is binary?
• How common are mistakes in the code?
• How is work best divided between smart contracts and natural language contracts?
• How are contractual disputes resolved?
• Have smart contracts been tested in the courts?
• How are smart contracts made cyber-secure?
• Is there an alternative to oracles?
• Does it matter that most users cannot understand a smart contract?
• Are smart contracts particularly useful or vulnerable to criminals?
• Is lack of privacy a problem with smart contracts?


Dr Sean Stein Smith Associate Professor at Lehman College (CUNY) https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-sean-stein-smith-db...

Cuneyeti Eli CFO and Co-Founder at Capexmove https://www.linkedin.com/in/cuneyt-eti/ 

Colin Hayward CEO at Chinsay AB https://www.linkedin.com/in/colin-hayward-3223521a...

Moderator Dominic Hobson Co-Founder at Future of Finance https://www.linkedin.com/in/dominic-hobson-49b8222...


If you would like to participate as a panellist please contact Wendy Gallagher at wendy.gallagher@futureoffinance.biz

If you would like to participate in the audience please let us know below or contact Wendy Gallagher on the email above
If you would like to participate as a sponsor please contact Valerie Bassigny on valerie.bassigny@futureoffinance.biz

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