Violable Contracts and Governance for Blockchain Applications

01/08/2018 ∙ by Munindar P. Singh, et al. ∙ 0

We examine blockchain technologies, especially smart contracts, as a platform for decentralized applications. By providing a basis for consensus, blockchain promises to upend business models that presuppose a central authority. However, blockchain suffers from major shortcomings arising from an over-regimented way of organizing computation that limits its prospects. We propose a sociotechnical, yet computational, perspective that avoids those shortcomings. A centerpiece of our vision is the notion of a declarative, violable contract in contradistinction to smart contracts. This new way of thinking enables flexible governance, by formalizing organizational structures; verification of correctness without obstructing autonomy; and a meaningful basis for trust.

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