publication . Article . 2017

Book-Smart, Not Street-Smart: Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts and The Social Workings of Law

Karen E. C. Levy;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Feb 2017 Journal: Engaging Science (issn: 2413-8053, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: Society for Social Studies of Science
Abstract
<jats:p>This paper critiques blockchain-based “smart contracts,” which aim to automatically and securely execute obligations without reliance on a centralized enforcement authority. Though smart contracts do have some features that might serve the goals of social justice and fairness, I suggest that they are based on a thin conception of what law does, and how it does it. Smart contracts focus on the technical form of contract to the exclusion of the social contexts within which contracts operate, and the complex ways in which people use them. In the real world, contractual obligations are enforced through all kinds of social mechanisms other than formal adjudic...
Subjects
ACM Computing Classification System: ComputingMilieux_LEGALASPECTSOFCOMPUTING
free text keywords: law, contracts, blockchain, sociolegal studies, Technology, T, Science, Q, Unenforceable, Software deployment, Contract management, Social resource, Economics, Enforcement, Social justice, Public relations, business.industry, business
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