Although there are centralized smart contracts as well, this term is usually used in the context of blockchain. And it is not a coincidence: it is these smart contracts that provide for the advantages of decentralization, which can be briefly expressed as immutability of contract terms, transparency, absence of intermediaries (minimizing associated costs), preservation of transaction history.
Let’s mention one more aspect that is basic for the blockchain: it is the absence of the need for trust between the parties to the transaction. In this sense, smart contract expands the capabilities of applications developed on blockchain, increasing the potential of SC.
Indeed, the ability to use a reliable and secure system for recording data on verified transactions within the framework of a smart contract allows you to expand the scope of its use to any area of activity where trust is required between the parties to the agreement.
Let’s consider typical areas of use for smart contracts, areas in which their use really brings considerable benefits.
This is the most obvious niche of SC use. The number of daily transactions in this area is incalculable. Take for example lending, which requires compliance with all the terms of the contract. If terms are spelled out correctly in the smart contract, then the whole process can be automated, increasing the level of security for both the lender and the end customer. Payment history cannot be changed in any way, which makes such a system absolutely transparent and reduces the risk of fraud.
One of the pioneers in the use of smart contracts in banking is BBVA Bank (Spain). As for decentralized exchanges, the situation is more optimistic here – the number of DEX using smart contracts with prescribed conditions (amounts, interest rates, terms) for loans is growing exponentially. Such well-known sites as Uniswap, dels.io, coinsbit.io , PancakeSwap, actively use SC, supporting Decimal community tokens.
Recently, we have seen a boom in the popularity of non-interchangeable tokens, and it is the smart contract that allows you to almost completely prescribe the rules and conditions for their creation and apllication by end users in the blockchain. As an example, the Decimal blockchain can be cited – on this blockchain , to create your own unique token , you need to perform several simple steps:
- think of a name for your NFT;
- come up with a title for the token that will be displayed on the console;
- reserve a certain amount of DEL, which will be used for delegating tokens;
- set the number of tokens to be issued (if we are talking about a collection);
- specify whether the NFT will be private;
- give a brief description of the token;
- specify whether it will be possible to replenish the collection;
- upload an associated file (audio, video, raster or vector image).
In the future, all operations with your unique NFT will be carried out as with a full-fledged token.
This area also actively uses smart contracts, while the algorithm for conducting an ICO (launching the initial offer of a new token) is prescribed at the application development stage.
A typical block pattern of such an algorithm is represented in the following form:
- a register of investors who have contributed their funds to the project is being created and filled in;
- investors` income is calculated depending on the current financial condition of the project;
- the same algorithm controls the legitimacy of transactions in offline mode.
This refers to a system of non-cash settlements between individuals and/or legal entities that require each party to comply with certain obligations. Usually, such transactions require a lot of effort, they take a lot of time and are accompanied by high fee costs. We cannot but mention the need to maintain related documentation – and this is the very human factor that is fraught with errors.
The use of SC on blockchain allows you to automate the implementation of such transactions by recording transactions in a public registry. According to Santander InnoVentures, a company specializing in analytical research, the introduction of smart contracts into the clearing niche will reduce the overhead costs of banks by $15-20 billion by the end of 2022.
The gambling industry, despite the impressive absolute capitalization figures, has recently been increasingly experiencing a lack of trust on the part of users. A significant part of them are pretty sure that gambling companies are openly cheating.
The use of a smart contract on blockchain almost completely solves these issues: the algorithms embedded in the operation of a casino or slot machine are hard-coded and cannot be changed, which guarantees the honesty of the gaming process and the absence of fraudulent manipulations.
A good example is Xether platform, which allows its users to gamble integrated on the blockchain via smart contracts (using the ETH token).
Modern logistics not only deals with huge arrays of goods and contractors, but also has to use a mathematical apparatus to optimize the routes of goods delivery. And since all these processes can be algorithmized, their integration into the blockchain is useful, eliminating the occurrence of errors when processing huge blocks of information.
The main difficulty lies in the need to make changes to data registers (for example, a price increase), but it is also solved at the algorithm level.
Such a digital contract was signed between Gazpromneft-Aero and Siberia (S7 Airlines). It allowed to automate the airline’s fuel supply processes and minimize associated costs.
The process of renting a car, real estate or any other object is also easy to algorithmize. An approximate smart contract algorithm implemented in the blockchain:
- definition of the rental object;
- depositing money (fiat or digital) as guarantee;
- timely rent payments;
- lease extension if necessary.
Using a smart contract allows you to save time spent on concluding a lease agreement and monitoring its execution, reducing associated costs.
A very promising niche for the introduction of smart contracts, since medicine is considered a highly regulated area. It stores a large number of medical records of patients, documentation on prescribed medications, and results of tests/examinations.
Since errors related to the human factor are fraught with serious consequences here, automation of these processes with the integration of SC on blockchain will create a single clearly structured database and facilitate its use.
Any election attracts public attention due to the need to ensure the objectivity of the voting itself and, moreover, of votes counting. The introduction of technologies based on a decentralized registry and SC into this process makes it possible to increase the level of trust – after all, it will no longer be possible to manipulate the votes of voters. This means that the elections will be as transparent as possible, and this will increase the number of people who came to the polling station.
As you can see, smart contracts are already actively involved in many areas, allowing people to automate routine processes and ensuring strict control over compliance with the conditions prescribed in the UK. In the future, we expect the legal recognition of such technologies, which will become a catalyst for their widespread distribution, including the state level as well.