Will Smart Contracts Drive Civilization Over a Cliff?

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Will Smart Contracts Drive Civilization Over a Cliff?
Thursday 5G

Convener: Kaliya

Notes-taker(s): Bryant Gilot

Tags for the session - technology discussed/ideas considered

Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:

Smart contract are an interesting technology with potential dangers. Smart contracts function as autonomous agents. If not properly designed they can be dangerous.

A flawed smart contract deployed in critical settings will have serious negative outcomes. Safe deployment of smart contracts requires consideration of numerous factors.

The smart contract code must be bug free.

​A​ flawed smart contract could execute in perpetuity with unintended outcomes if not designed with proper precautions. If the smart contract is deployed on an immutable platform, buggy code is unacceptable.

Immutable smart contracts should include certain design features. Specifically, smart contracts need to be designed with an escape hatch allowing an authorized entity to abort execution of the smart contract. Secondly, critical parameters should not be hard coded into the immutable smart contract itself. Mechanisms to modify the behaviour of the smart contracts must be incorporated into smart contract code. Safe design dictates that smart contracts must point to parameters and variables external to the smart contract code and modifiable by authorized individuals.

See the following links.

The Ethereum/DAO is an a demonstration of a smart contract gone wrong.

Code is Cruel - http://blog.cryptoiq.ca/?p=512

Code != Law - http://blog.cryptoiq.ca/?p=534