Smart questions on smart contracts

Are smart contracts smart?

A smart contract as implemented by the SCC combines a natural language legal document expressing the intent of the parties combined with specific functions related to fulfillment of the agreement that are assigned to executable computer code. The contract is ’smart’ in that it self-executes once the parties authorize it with their signatures. Ensuring intended outcomes involves significant complexity, not only from a technical perspective, as the contracts and the outcomes can only ever be as smart as the intent and agreement of the parties.

How to ensure the paper contract and the code work together as intended?

Complex contract logic translates into complex computer code which is difficult to audit for non-experts.  Signing a self-executing agreement that You are not sure of, should be a daunting prospect.

How do you know the signatures are valid?

If You do not know who you are contracting with, or if You cannot verify their authorization to agree, the agreements themselves become pointless.

Are smart contracts legally binding?

How do You establish your rights under law and how do You know that the agreements you enter will ultimately be binding?  Which court and what law will You look to?

Are smart contracts enforceable?

An agreement is only useful if it can be reasonable enforced in the practical circumstances where there may be a dispute.  How do You verify this in advance?

How do we resolve disputes?

Disputes happen. No agreement can capture all eventualities and sometimes the parties fail to perform their obligations. How do You know how your disputes will be resolved?

Is the technology production ready?

You do not want to participate in testing, do you?  You do not want to have your business disrupted by technology which is not ready to be deployed? What will make you comfortable with the deployment plan?

What about legacy system integration?

What about all the other systems that you have in place and have invested in?  You already have too many informations silos, you would not want to have another one?

Who is responsible?

Where will your partners be when things go wrong and who is ready to own the problems which will inevitably occur?  Who do you want as your partners?

How will the business change?

Systems should adapt to and support your business logic, not enforce processes that only disrupt your organization.  How, and who with, will you address this beforehand?

What is your question?