I’m a tech attorney. I understand blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and the complexities of contract law. I don’t understand “smart contracts” or how they are going to “change everything.” Help?


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Like the title says, I don't get it. I've read various white papers, I've watched videos, I've talked to local blockchain techies — yet I still have no practical understanding of how "smart contracts" are going to somehow streamline the various complexities and inefficiencies that exist in day to day contractual relationships. They seem like just a variant of escrow that will ultimately need the assistance of a lawyer to ensure they become binding (especially for physical assets).

Can someone walk me through from start to finish how a smart contract would be used to, say, sell me a Rolex? Or paint my house? Or are these not the types of contracts that smart contracts will apply to?

The only example I've heard that makes sense is a gambling bet on something that can be verified by multiple sources… like if I bet you that the Lakers will beat the Clippers, then that can be empirically and objectively authenticated by the network resulting in a pay out. But I can't think of any other examples.

I would love to better understand this tech. Walk me through this or point me to a good write-up I may have missed that focuses on practical applications vs. theory.

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