New York’s Department of Financial Services passed regulations which apply to virtual currencies, and require licensing of certain entities engaging in certain activities in connection with the state. It is referred to by the State as the “BitLicense”.
The State says that any individual or entity which is involved in the following is required to obtain a BitLicense:
- Virtual currency transmission
- Storing, holding, or maintaining custody or control of virtual currency on behalf of others
- Buying and selling virtual currency as a customer business
- Performing exchange services as a customer business
- Controlling, administering, or issuing a virtual currency.
Ricardian Contracts are really a stepping stone to Smart Contracts. They are a way to link a contract to another system, typically an accounting system. Ian Grigg came up with the Ricardian Contracts some time ago. He first published about it in Financial Cryptography in 7 Layers in 1998. Ricardian Contracts were initially used for Ricardo (hence their name), a bond platform.
They are a melding of a traditional contract with a contract that can be read and executed by machines. A Ricardian Contract can be defined as a single document that:
- is a contract offered by an issuer of some item of value (think of a bond, coin, token, currency, etc.) to a holder of such item;
- for a valuable right held by the holder, to be managed by the issuer;
- can be read in plain language by humans (so like a normal contract);
- can be read by programs (and is parsable like a database);
- digitally signed;
- carries the keys and server information; and
- is allied with a unique and secure identifier.
When dealing with online contracting, blockchain, clickwrap agreements, smart contracts, or just generally these days (and certainly in the future), you will come across the terms “hash” and “encryption.” Especially when discussing digital signatures. We’ll try to distill these a bit for you. These are all regularly used in the transmittal of electronic information and verification of the information, the sender and/or receiver. Read more
Nick Szabo is credited as being the visionary, if not the godfather, of smart contracts. He sees smart contracts as agreements that “involve objectively verifiable performances, or performances that can be automated such as cash flows.” His blog “unenumerated” is fantastic (deep posts on a variety of topics – each one is an ocean of thought in and of itself) and his appearance on Tim Ferriss’ podcast is probably the best crash course on all things blockchain and crypto-currency related.
Nick’s proposed definition of a “smart contract” is (1) a set of promises (2) specified in digital format (3) which includes various protocols (4) within which the parties perform. Read more
Technology is permeating all aspects of society. Legal constructs are the latest to be infiltrated. We will discuss some of them in upcoming posts, including blockchain, smart contracts and related concepts. First we need the building blocks to understand how the blockchain works.
Bblockchain is a form of a decentralized ledger technology. It is decentralized, or distributed, because it operates on a peer to peer basis. There is no centralized database of the chain or any blocks. Instead, for each blockchain there are various computers or servers which operate as “nodes” for the applicable chain. Each node contains the entire chain, and nodes review any proposed block and it must be verified prior to it being added to the chain. Nodes can be anonymous. Read more