New Blockchain Startup Brings Contracts into the Digital Age

SmartContract is harnessing blockchain technology to create customisable contractual agreements that can be used by experts and newcomers alike.

AccessTimeIconDec 10, 2014 at 11:55 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 6, 2023 at 3:39 p.m. UTC
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One of the most notable features of blockchain-based technology is the ability to provide substantial public proof of information.

Now a startup called SmartContract is harnessing this aspect of the technology to create contractual agreements that can be used by both experts and newcomers alike.

CEO Sergey Nazarov told CoinDesk:

“We want to be the secure web layer that gives people access to infrastructure that they can use to create valuable trust.”

These trust-based agreements can utilize the ever-growing amounts of available data on the web – such as currency prices, web search figures or even GPS signals – as a burden of proof, which has helped SmartContract to launch its first three products.

Nazarov and his SmartContracts team have been working on trustless systems for some time, having launched something called Secure Asset Exchange built off of the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange NXT last year.

“We have been thinking about smart contracts since the beginning of this year,” said Nazarov, who added that a four-person team was assembled to develop the SmartContract platform over the summer.

The SmartContracts effort is being backed by Data Collective, an investment group based in San Francisco. Data Collective has invested in other financial technology companies such as Standard Treasury and TradeBlock.

Simple, logic-based contracts

So how does SmartContract work?

“We create a substantial amount of trust by putting the documents in hashing form, by tracking external trustworthy data sources and by providing a front end where everybody can see what’s going on," Nazarov explained.

SmartContract's front-end is designed to make it easy for the average person to understand the logical statements and data sources from which these contracts are derived.

 Sample SmartContract escrow terms.
Sample SmartContract escrow terms.

In addition to this user interface, more advanced users of this platform can find the code version of the contract in a downloadable JSON format for further extensibility.

SmartContract prides itself on having products people can use today, and intends to iterate fast. “We’re very early, but we’re working as fast as we can, “ Nazarov said.

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