Digital transformation continues to speed up the pace of business. Yet asset-based transactions continue to run on slow, sequential settlement processes that are fraught with high costs and high risks. Smart contracts — digital records that encapsulate terms and mutualize workflows  — offer an alternative.

An efficient smart contract language meets these criteria:

1. It’s easy for developers to understand and use. It should be able to develop and digitally mirror new workflows, processes, and data models quickly.

2. It lets developers focus on business logic, the differentiating code that builds value. There should be no need for developers to waste energy on writing in security and privacy. Infrastructure requirements should be automatically handled as part of the smart contract system.

3. It’s designed with the key benefits of smart contracts in mind and fit for purpose. This includes native accommodation of multi-party transactions, data privacy, simultaneous communication and strong security.

4. It’s portable and interoperable. Applications written in select smart contract languages don’t need to be recoded to operate on new systems or infrastructure. The code ports quickly to new platforms and can run over multiple platforms at the same time. It needs to facilitate innovation, not be its bottleneck.

5. It can operate on blockchain or a traditional database. Smart contracts add value to any complex transaction where efficiency and maintaining data privacy are paramount. This could be a multi-party external transaction or internal workflow.

To provide an efficient platform, smart contract technology needs a codebase that’s minimal to write and maintain. Smart contracts improve on existing settlement options by creating a path for low-risk, complex, multi-party transactions. It can’t do that by creating a new set of risks and complexity.

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