Smart Contracts: Reducing Risks in Economic Exchange with No-Party Trust?
European Journal of Risk Regulation, Volume 10, Issue 2 (Symposium on Blockchain Regulation and Governance) June 2019, pp. 245-262, DOI/10.1017/err.2019.37
19 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2019
Date Written: 2019
Our study on smart contracts, self-executing agreements based on blockchain technology, can be placed in the field of inquiry within law and economics of contracts which explores new modes of contract enforcement as sources of market creation. We lay the foundations by characterising contract enforcement and trust mechanisms underlying contracts. Considering that trust reduces risks in economic exchange, we explain how the particular trust mechanism underlying smart contracts’ enforcement (no-party trust) provides opportunities for creating new markets and changing existing ones. We explore, among other things, whether using smart contracts could be a path to increasing the autonomy of consumers and offering a solution for democratising trade.
Keywords: law and economics, markets, contract law, smart contracts, trust, no-trust environment, enforcement, relational contracts
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