Regulating smart contracts: Legal revolution or simply evolution?
- Agata Ferreira
Blockchain-based smart contracts have triggered polarised discussions. They have been applauded as a significant technological achievement, but also criticised as a dumb idea. Their application is rapidly expanding in the financial sector, public sector, supply chain management, and the automobile, real estate, insurance, and health care industries. With the growing use of smart contracts and an increasing variety of smart contracts applications, the debate over the legal implications of this phenomenon has intensified and many legal issues related to smart contracts are being examined. Legal scholars have highlighted potential legal pitfalls, controversies and incompatibilities with existing legal frameworks. Blockchain technology and smart contracts have also been fuelling an interest of legislators, who have begun to recognise regulatory uncertainties and are making the first attempts to introduce legislative solutions to address them. This paper aims to highlight the fervour of the scholarly debate surrounding smart contracts and contrast it with a rather modest response from the legislators thus far. The paper reiterates that smart contracts represent the future. Even though they challenge practitioners, scholars, and legislators, current legislative initiatives indicate that under most legal systems there are no major obstacles for smart contracts and to accommodate smart contracts within the existing legal frameworks we should expect legal evolution rather than revolution.
- Record ID
- Journal series
- Telecommunications Policy, ISSN 0308-5961, e-ISSN 1879-3258
- Issue year
- Keywords in English
- Smart contracts; Blockchain; Contract laws; Technology law
- ASJC Classification
- ; ;
- DOI:10.1016/j.telpol.2020.102081 Opening in a new tab
- https://doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2020.102081 Opening in a new tab
- (en) English
- Score (nominal)
- Score source
- = 100.0, 01-06-2021, ArticleFromJournal
- Publication indicators
- = 0; : 2016 = 1.381; : 2019 = 2.224 (2) - 2019=2.563 (5)
- Uniform Resource Identifier
* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or PerishOpening in a new tab system.