“A smart contract is like any other contract, whether it’s for a mortgage, a loan, a job or an investment. The main difference is that the clauses are not written in English, secured by courts or executed by book-keepers. Instead, smart contracts are written in computer code, secured by cryptography and executed by an open network of computers that update a public ledger. The beauty of smart contracts is that the clauses execute themselves because they are computer code that runs on a public network, and so it’s impossible to break their terms. No court system is needed.
This is made possible by the blockchain, the ledger technology behind Bitcoin. Global banks such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Barclays are investing heavily, out of fear of getting left behind and being outpaced by lean startups. The technology opens the door for new breeds of financial products that are more efficient, democratic and secure than traditional finance. Smart contracts are doing to traditional contracts what smartphones did to dumb phones by unleashing a new world of life-changing permissionless innovation.”
via WIRED UK http://ow.ly/ay3T30bLxOy