Thinking in the Box
Smart Contracts that live on a blockchain require predictable reliable outcomes. Those who witnessed The DAO up close or from a distance will agree. With many programming solutions, creative thinking and innovative workarounds are valued, with blockchain smart contracts the vision is narrow and clear, the execution needs to follow a commonly agreed upon set of constraints.
The key to knowledge is language and the key to contract knowledge is contract language. In the case of Smart Contracts on a blockchain, this would include transparency and uniformity around the programming language (solidity/bitcoin script).
In the old days
Lotus Notes comprised a package of databases, mail routing, LotusScript, and a number of tightly integrated 3rd party add on’s. Making this valuable to a company required creative thought and skilled programming. I was privileged to work with many of the very best in this space. With each company/community, there were often a set of constraints we were required to work within. On a blockchain, the community is larger often global and consensus around standards takes time.
AT&T World Partners was a consortium of international telecommunication providers including Unisource, KDD, Singapore Telecom and numerous others. In developing a distributed global workflow to allow the separate globally disperse companies respond as a single local player I was able to reduce cycle times on sales quotes for long distance lines from 24 days to 24 hours. Developing the standards and language around this problem space took years, AT&T had done that heavy lifting prior to my arrival. The application development leveraged a “Language as Action” workflow on a secure, globally distributed network.
Blockchain Getting from here to there
The constraints on development are implied by value based on interoperability. Hence standards need exist in support of the community vision. If the “Standards” do not exist or are vague, programmers should “Think in the Box”, to achieve reliability and preserve the trust established by the blockchain infrastructure.
Public Blockchain Private Blockchain it’s all about the community that plays in that space. Leaving the community out of the loop and you may find yourself all alone on a dead end.