Making Sense of Blockchain Smart Contracts – CoinDesk

The idea has long been hyped to the public as a central component of next-generation platforms, and as a key capability for any practical enterprise application.

The different definitions usually fall into one of two categories. Sometimes the term is used to identify a specific – code that is stored, verified and executed on a blockchain. Let’s call this type of definition “smart contract code”.

Using the same term to refer to distinct concepts makes answering even simple questions impossible. For instance, one question I’m often asked is simply: what are the capabilities of a smart contract?

, then the answer depends on the capabilities of the language used to express the contract and the technical features of the blockchain on which it operates.

a binding legal agreement, the answer depends on far more than the technology. This answer depends on existing legal doctrine and how our legal, political and commercial institutions decide to treat the technology. If businesspeople don’t trust it, the legislature doesn’t recognize it and the courts can’t interpret it, then it won’t be a very practically useful “contract”.