aten sent a message to Stuart Gulliver that said:
Smart contracts are digital, self-executing agreements based on real time, objective data. The basic premise is: if x, then y. When one part of an agreement is fulfilled, the next will execute automatically without any human oversight.
Smart contracts operate using blockchain technology (similar to the popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin).
Blockchain is a decentralised, distributed, peer-to-peer network that exists between users. The processing power for blockchain applications is shared between users (nodes) around the world. Blockchain networks and smart contracts will never experience downtime.
The current problem with smart contracts is their use case is limited to data that is already on the blockchain. Smart contracts cannot connect to real world data (i.e. delivery confirmations, hours worked etc.) without an oracle.
Oracles are software that connect real world data with "on-chain" smart contracts. Oracle solutions have so far been centralised, defeating the purpose of a decentralised, trustless, reliable smart contract. A centralised oracle is liable to downtime and therefore not worth the risk of trusting data with.
Smartcontract.com is developing CHAINLINK, the world's first decentralised oracle network. Chainlink will ensure end-to-end reliability and security for smart contracts.
I am not affiliated with smartcontract.com or Chainlink. I am enthusiastic about this technology and the limitless potential it offers.
Thank you for taking the time to read my email. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.