Smart Contract

The contract of the future could be a blockchain-verified digital document with embedded, executable code

Although blockchain is best known in connection with Bitcoin cryptocurrency, it’s an electronic system that can be applied in many ways. Some commentators use the analogy, “Blockchain is to currency as the Internet is to email,” and it seems likely that some of those blockchain applications are likely to disrupt businesses of all kinds, including remodeling. 

The compelling feature of blockchain is that it decentralizes management of transactions, allowing people and businesses to interact without the need for an intermediary. It’s also uniquely secure because record-keeping is distributed across a large number of anonymous individuals. Every “block” of records in the “chain” is sealed against edits in a way that refers to the previous block, and only blocks that match can be sealed (non-matching blocks are discarded). That means a hacker would have to break the encryption for not just one block but for every previous block in the chain. Thus, a smart contract recorded by a blockchain would be rock solid.

Other than cryptocurrency, examples of practical blockchain applications are long on promise and short on detail, and even so-called nontechnical descriptions are vague and way more math-based than my brief description. 

One example that caught my attention, however, is something called a smart contract, which consists of a digital document containing code that executes automatically when certain specified conditions are met. I haven’t yet found anyone who’s currently using one, but as it happens, I am personally engaged in a transaction where I think a smart contract administrated by a blockchain would be just the ticket.

Sal Alfano

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