The chimera of smart contracts Book Chapter

Gómez, MA. (2020). The chimera of smart contracts . 328-343. 10.4337/9781788971065.00023

cited authors

  • Gómez, MA



  • Smart contracts promise to materialize a lifelong dream as they purport to be self-executing, cost-efficient, free of human error and other inefficiencies commonly attributed to traditional contracts. Nevertheless, the fact that smart contracts originate from and embody human interactions also makes them imperfect and prone to be affected by the shortcomings of the relationships that they regulate. This chapter explores some of the most important questions raised by the idea of smart contracts, including their contours and substance, whether they should be regarded as contracts or not, their relationship with the legal system (both domestic and international) and the comparison between smart contracts and traditional contracts. The rigidity, tamper-proof nature, self-sufficiency and completeness of smart contracts are generally viewed as important features, which make them particularly attractive for international commercial transactions where language, culture, different legal standards and other differences are usually the source of tension besides raising transaction costs. Smart legal contracts, however, are not a complete replacement either for traditional contracts, or for all human involvement in commerce.

publication date

  • January 1, 2020

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 328

end page

  • 343