Re: Smart contracts working group


Thanks Rich. 
Since the WG is just being instituted, I imagine it will take a while. But I agree that these conversations are important to have. 
I also look forward to see how things develop in this space.
Software Engineer, Watson IoT Blockchain
Phone: 1-5122866731

----- Original message -----
From: Richard Bloch <richardbloch@...>
To: Suma <sumapnair@...>
Cc: dan@..., silas@..., tsc@...
Subject: Re: [Hyperledger TSC] Smart contracts working group
Date: Tue, Jan 29, 2019 9:55 AM
Good Morning Suma,
I'm the chair of the Healthcare SIG (HC-SIG), and my ears pricked up when I heard someone mention HIPAA compliance ;). 
Yes, there is great value in maturing the smart contracts space, and I'm personally interested to learn more as this WG comes together: smart contracts are cross-cutting in their design, and I imagine our SIG working in collaboration with this WG going forward.
I can tell you that our HC-SIG membership would see real value in having a representative from your WG speak at one of our bi-weekly general meetings. Please let me know when you're free to talk more, and we can schedule something.
Best of luck
Richard Bloch
Principal, Business Learning Incorporated
Systems & Software Engineering
Seattle, Washington USA
   206.588.6054 - work 
   425.417.8255- mobile
On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 7:36 AM Suma <sumapnair@...> wrote:
This is very timely.
i've been very interested in the potential legal challenges around smart contracts  - How do smart contracts need to evolve to a point where they can be backed by legal and actually defended in a court of law? Should there be standardization organizations that work on this?
And also the possibilities around standardization of compliance implementations. For example, would it make sense to have standard smart contracts offered around, say HIPAA compliance that people can just optionally install with the fabric, for example?
Software Engineer, Watson IoT Blockchain
Phone: 1-5122866731
----- Original message -----
From: "Dan Selman via Lists.Hyperledger.Org" <>
Sent by: tsc@...
To: silas@...
Cc: tsc@...
Subject: Re: [Hyperledger TSC] Smart contracts working group
Date: Thu, Jan 24, 2019 4:49 AM
Sound good Silas. I’d be happy to contribute and to represent Accord Project.
On Thu, 24 Jan 2019 at 10:35, Silas Davis via Lists.Hyperledger.Org <> wrote:
Hi Sofia,
I took a look at your proposal. My immediate reaction to the idea of a smart contracts working group is that it is a good idea. Smart contracts are the thing that attracted me to blockchain personally, but there remains a level of equivocation about what they are. The pragmatic model more favoured in Hyperledger seems to be 'they are just code that runs on a blockchain', the straw man model (since I think few people think this way post-DAO) is 'code is law', in fact probably the concept could be usefully unbundled, so I like the suggestion of a taxonomy as a primary output of a Smart Contract WG.
I also think, as with many proposals to the TSC, I think it would be useful to understand where the boundaries of such a group lie. A working group based in the model smart contracts as 'just code' seems like it would be far too general so I wonder how we could structure the mission of the group to have some focus. In terms of use cases, stories, and scenarios - whilst these are clearly a background to the usage of smart contracts I feel these topics are better covered in other groups and are general in the way code is general.
Some research topics and separation I would be interested in are:

- Models of and mechanism for computation, such as:
  - Stack machines vs automata vs manipulating algebraic types embedded in a another language
  - Scope for less expressive languages (that may have more tractability for formal methods)
  - Execution determinism, and sources of non-determinism in existing languages
  - Cost models for metering computation (e.g. gas)
  - Paradigms for smart contracts - e.g. 'identity-oriented', functional, process-oriented - extent to which smart contracts benefit from special purpose languages
  - Parallelism of execution, state independence (i.e. parallel processing in a single block)
- Formal guarantees on outputs of smart contracts
- Smart contract packaging, code reuse, and dependency auditing
- Smart contracts as representatives of obligations and fulfilment (i.e. 'law')
  - What properties should smart contracts with 'legal charge' have?
  - What relations can smart contracts have with actual contracts and agreements?
  - At what scale to smart contracts best contribute to certainty and execution of agreement?
  - What relationship do legal smart contracts have to models of computation?
- Generation of smart contracts from existing artefacts (natural language, business process, state machines, non smart-contract code)
- Data structures and state
  - Verifiable and authenticated data structures - e.g. merkle dags, log-backed maps,
  - How best to expose through smart contract languages/libraries
  - Sharing state backends across execution engines
  - Conflict-free and additive data structures
- Privacy
  - Multi-party secure computation
  - Differential privacy
  - Zero knowledge and practical building blocks - types of commitments and witnesses
- Tooling and compilers for existing virtual machines
  - EVM
  - WebIDL
I think for a Hyperledger working group a good output would be to find practical ways to connect stuff 'out there' with things we could use within our implementations. I'd like to see a group that could survey the state of the art and academic content and produce 'Requests To Build' that could feed into feature planning on the frameworks.
On Wed, 23 Jan 2019 at 23:24, Sofia Terzi <sterzi@...> wrote:



I have made a proposal for the smart contracts working group and send an email before a couple of days. I wanted to know if there is going to be a meeting tomorrow in order to present it to the committee as it is described in the process. Thank you



Sofia Terzi


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Dan Selman


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