Blockchain is a tool. Samson Williams likens blockchain to a group text message, in which each participant receives a distributed, time-stamped, tamper-resistant (and encrypted) record of data transactions. Each group text has these characteristics. Everyone in the group “sees” the data, and none can change or gainsay any group message. Smart contracts are computer code put on the blockchain (how, exactly?) that establishes self-executing terms and conditions of a transaction. Are smart contracts smart? If certain data comes in and fulfills a pre-set term or condition, then rights and responsibilities are formed, terminated, modified, or shifted among the parties. Ah certainty and transparency, but also ah garbage in and garbage out. Are some contractual terms not amenable to smart contracting? And are smart contracts necessarily contracts? If not, can they still be useful? If a smart contract is a contract, what is the governing document? Is it the words business people and lawyers use, or is it the code that is supposed to reflect the words?
Mr. Cahill is Head of the Bankruptcy and Restructuring Practice Group at Lowis & Gellen LLP, in Chicago, Illinois. He guides secured lenders, creditors, debtors, creditors’ committees, potential purchasers and others through… Read More
John Servidio is a partner in Goodwin’s Capital Markets and Digital Currency & Blockchain practices. Mr. Servidio represents banks, investment funds and issuers in structuring corporate derivative, equity and equity-linked… Read More
Matt has over 15 years of experience working with emerging business models and strategic implementations at the highest level of both the public and private sector, internationally and domestic. Previously,… Read More