Advances in technology continue to impact all areas of our society, including business. These advances will help solve everyday problems and help increase our efficiency. As Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, becomes more popular, a new workflow automation technology was created - smart contracts.
Value proposition of Blockchain
In order to understand smart contracts, we first have to understand the value of Blockchain. It is infamous enough in itself for its inherent notoriety in the learning curve. Smart contracts can then make or break whatever one has learned in Blockchain.
The beauty, though, with this is that business transactions are now more transparent. Each involved user will then see the respective operations of each transaction, so that the latter becomes much more optimized.
Luckily, there are platforms such as Etherparty which aims to help every technology user as they simplify its complex nature while reaping its benefits. In my interview with Kevin Hobbs, CEO, he explained that: "Etherparty is a portal to the Blockchain to create smart contracts. Like how Gmail is a portal to the internet to send out emails, we aim to make smart contract technology easy for everyday people".
Corporations already buying into to Blockchain
There are several companies that have already started using Blockchain. Just recently, IBM has partnered up with food giants which include Nestle and Unilever, along with stores such as WalMart in order to implement Blockchain in an effort to reduce rising cases of food contamination.
According to Brigid McDermott, IBM Blockchain Vice President, Blockchain is safe to use across these companies as it is a system that allows them to share information while at the same time keep records of any changes. She says that it is the perfect system to use in case one would want to share information, but are highly skeptical of other companies or would want to keep a level of confidentiality to their own.
Frank Yiannas, Walmart's Vice President for Food Safety, has used Blockchain in tracking information. Results show that it was easily attainable in less than three seconds.
What are Smart Contracts?
Smart Contracts are complementary to Blockchain as they simply add general instructions to information on Blockchain. They provide developers the opportunity to be creative in crafting their respective systems making them more elegant and complex along the way. Smart Contracts allow developers to curtail the system into something that particularly fits their respective industries may it be on law, finance, banking, etc.
In addition, Smart Contracts are capable of processing conditional logic, and with it, the Blockchain is used as an escrow system. That makes Smart Contracts so valuable
The science behind Smart Contracts
Smart Contracts are preconditioned by their codes to respond to different triggers that would allow them specific acts of execution depending on the circumstances. The best thing about Smart Contracts is that they are precise, and do not allow any room for vagueness and ambiguity - everything is clear cut.
Such code is compiled and is then shared to different computers or users via a protocol which allows various users and computers to communicate to each other in real-time. Such network validates these acts and would then execute them, which can range to different kinds such as data, transactions, records, cryptocurrencies, and merges them with the others to give birth to a new block of data.
This kind of data can no longer be modified, but it can be reviewed from time to time. It then becomes ready to execute the rules it has been given. Smart Contracts are generally reactive, and would only react if the external event is initiated outside the contract.
Applying smart contracts
On an unfortunate note, only programmers who are well-versed in Ethereum are capable of leveraging this kind of technology right now. This is all because of the fact that the system in itself is inherently and naturally complicated, and it requires an in-depth understanding of programming computers. Simplified solutions help save us from the hassle of going through certain processes. Usually, a person would have to go through: managing different servers, having to wait on synchronizing the Blockchain, and afterwards using a command line to execute.
No longer exclusive to tech 'elites'
Blockchain solutions have democratized the usually complicated processes in a way that they no longer become exclusive systems to the elite. It has simplified the process, and it has innovated to certain lengths. It assures the users of intensified security-benefits, reduction of costs, improved speed, and scalability.
All these features are present without going through the hassle of hiring programmers who have to delve deeper into your own system and take time crafting programs of their own. Indeed, it tells you to rather automate such systems for simplification rather than go through the burden of manually implementing them.
As such, it also gives owners and investors more control over the business, in a way that they would not be subjected to the mercy of the hands of the programmers. It provides a bird's eye view to the different transactions and the processes that go along with it.
While Blockchain technology remains unproven in the mainstream, smart contracts have near limitless potential in the business world.