Portable Smart Contracts

Why Smart Contracts

Smart Contacts are the force that mediates the blockchain. They are the entry point to the blockchain — how to get value and processes on to a blockchain.

What processes should be transferred to a blockchain? Certainly any process that needs accountability, trust or agreement between parties, or transfers value, or creates value. Note that this includes many processes that haven’t been digitized in any form as of yet.

So the goal of crypto in general should be to get processes and value on the blockchain.

Too Many Choices?

Where should I start? Ethereum, EOS, NEO, Tron, Cosmos, Hashgraph, Cardano, Stellar…, the list goes on.

As the number of blockchain platforms proliferate, we have to ask if this is good from the point of view of someone wanting to ‘get on the blockchain’. The answer is ‘probably not’. Since the technology is so new, how can anyone decide which platform to pick? All of the systems have pros and cons, and most of them are amazing. So it’s very difficult from the implementors point of view to choose one. Not to mention vendor lock-in. Is there a better way?

A Solution

Instead of trying to create the perfect consensus algorithm or blockchain platform, let’s create a Smart Contract programming environment that is portable to all of the platforms. We propose Incentum Smart Contracts as this solution. It provides a radically new approach to Smart Contract programming, one that is elegant, powerful, easy to understand, and portable. Incentum Smart Contracts are independent of any consensus mechanism or blockchain platform.

There is quite a bit of technical information about the workings of the Incentum on our blog and elsewhere, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Briefly, Smart Contracts can be developed in any browser. Contract actions are modeled as JSON document transformations using an elegant transformation language. It’s simple, but powerful (more details are here). In our experience, you can develop the same kind of Smart Contracts with the Incentum as with any existing system. And you can do it in a fraction of the time, with much greater clarity and safety.

It all runs on a structure called the Computational DAG, a cryptographically secure representation of contract actions that is unforgeable and easy to verify. The Computational DAG is highly portable to other consensus or blockchain platforms. It easily fits into any consensus mechanism, and all parts of the Rekoner (the front end development environment, the back end persistence layer (the Vault), etc.) can be used with little or no modification.

Moving Forward

Our first target is the brilliant Cosmos platform. Cosmos/Tendermint let’s applications hook directly into the consensus mechanism, and doesn’t assume anything about the state or transaction protocol of the application. This is perfect for the Incentum! We’ve done all the parts of Smart Contract programming except the consensus.

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