Blockchain Pros Debate ‘Looming Challenges’ for Smart Contracts

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Just because a repetitive job could be replaced with self-executing code on a blockchain, doesn’t mean it should be.

A group of Wall Street insiders and blockchain innovators took to the stage yesterday at the New York Law School in Manhattan to sort through when a smart contract is a bad idea, when it’s a good idea and what stands in the way of widespread proliferation of the technology.

“There are some looming grand challenges,” said Ari Juels, professor at Cornell Tech and co-director at the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies Contracts (IC3).

Speaking on a panel about implementing legally sound, secure smart contracts, Juels broke down the key obstacles into two main categories.

First, he says there’s a pull within the industry toward confidentiality. While financial institutions and other players in the space hail the benefits of transparency, they hesitate to put their information on a blockchain.

Key directions Juels sees in the resolution of this apparent dichotomy are two technology solutions.

First, he listed software-based solutions run with zero-knowledge proofs like the zk-SNARK technology upon which Zcash was built. The technology allows counterparties to control how much information they share about themselves as well as who can see

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