What Is a Smart Contract?
A smart contract is a self-executing contract with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code. The code and the agreements contained therein exist across a distributed, decentralized blockchain network. The code controls the execution, and transactions are trackable and irreversible.
Smart contracts permit trusted transactions and agreements to be carried out among disparate, anonymous parties without the need for a central authority, legal system, or external enforcement mechanism.
While blockchain technology has come to be thought of primarily as the foundation for bitcoin, it has evolved far beyond underpinning the virtual currency.
How Smart Contracts Work
Smart contracts were first proposed in 1994 by Nick Szabo, an American computer scientist who invented a virtual currency called "Bit Gold" in 1998, fully 10 years before the invention of bitcoin. In fact, Szabo is often rumored to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous inventor of bitcoin, which he has denied.
Szabo defined smart contracts as computerized transaction protocols that execute terms of a contract. He wanted