From Institutions to Code: Towards Automated Generation of Smart Contracts
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Original versionInternational Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems, SASO 2016 10.1109/FAS-W.2016.53
Blockchain technology has emerged as a solution to consistency problems in peer to peer networks. By now, it has matured as a solution to a range of use cases in which it can effectively provide the notion of third party trust without the need for a trusted (physical) third party, which makes it an attractive coordination mechanism for distributed systems. To promote the wide adoption of this technology, we yet lack mechanisms that make the specification and interpretation of smart contracts accessible to a broader audience. In this work, we propose a modeling approach that supports the semi-automated translation of human-readable contract representations into computational equivalents in order to enable the codification of laws into verifiable and enforceable computational structures that reside within a public blockchain. We identify smart contract components that correspond to real world institutions, and propose a mapping that we operationalize using a domain-specific language in order to support the contract modeling process. We explore this capability based on selected examples and plot out directions for future research on smart contracts.