Smart Contracts and Their Identity Crisis

Thirty Ninth International Conference on Information Systems, San Francisco 2018

9 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2019

See all articles by Alvaro Gonzalez Rivas

Alvaro Gonzalez Rivas

National University of Singapore

Mariya Tsyganova

National University of Singapore

Eliza Mik

Singapore Management University; TILT

Date Written: December 14, 2018

Abstract

Many expect Smart Contracts (SC’s) to disrupt the way contracts are done implying that SC have the potential to affect all commercial relationships. SC’s are automatization tools; therefore, proponents claim that SC’s can reduce transaction costs through disintermediation and risk reduction. This is an over-simplification of the role of relationships, contract law, and risk. We believe there is a gap in the understanding of the capabilities of SC’s. With that in mind we seek to define an amorphous term and clarify the capabilities of SC’s, intending to facilitate future SC research. We’ve examined the legal, technical, and IS views from an academic and practitioner’s perspective. We conclude that SC’s have taken many forms, becoming a suitcase word for any sort of code stored on a blockchain, including the embodiment of contractual terms; and that the immutable nature of SC’s is a barrier to their adoption in uncertain and multi-contextual environments.

Keywords: Smart Contract, Definition, Blockchain, Contract, Ethereum, Applications, Self-Execution, Execution, Fintech, LegalTech, LawTech

JEL Classification: K12, O00

Suggested Citation

Gonzalez Rivas, Alvaro and Tsyganova, Mariya and Mik, Eliza, Smart Contracts and Their Identity Crisis (December 14, 2018). Thirty Ninth International Conference on Information Systems, San Francisco 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3319612

Alvaro Gonzalez Rivas (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore ( email )

Singapore

Mariya Tsyganova

National University of Singapore ( email )

Bukit Timah Road 469 G
Singapore, 117591
Singapore

Eliza Mik

Singapore Management University ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore, 179943
Singapore

TILT ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

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