What are Smart Contracts? GLOSSARY OF TERMS
A smart contract is a special computer algorithm designed to conclude and control self-executing contracts in a blockchain environment. It acts as a digital agreement that includes a specific set of rules.
The concept of smart contracts was introduced by Nick Szabo in the 1990s. The author of the term associated it with three properties: observability, verifiability and particularity.
After the emergence and development of the blockchain, smart contracts have found practical applications. Thus, decentralized systems became a suitable environment in which the execution of a contract did not depend in any way on third parties, and its code could not be arbitrarily changed. Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum platform, became one of the main popularizers of smart contracts.
Smart contracts have several required attributes:
Smart contracts allow you to create trusted protocols. When they are concluded, the parties have the opportunity to assume obligations through the blockchain, while at the same time they do not have to worry about the accuracy of the fulfillment of the conditions, since if they are not satisfied, the contract is canceled.
Simply put, a smart contract can be compared to a deterministic program that performs certain actions if predefined conditions are met. They make it possible to carry out reliable, traceable and transparent transactions without the involvement of intermediaries (banks or government agencies).
Modern smart contracts cannot yet fully replace legal ones, so the simplest tasks, for example, automation of payments or multisignature, fall on their shoulders. First of all, the introduction of smart contracts is expected in the financial sector and interbank transfers.
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