W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-interledger@w3.org > April 2017

Standards in Smart Contracts

From: Paul Ferris <pferris@objectchain.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2017 15:09:07 +0100
To: "'Adrian Hope-Bailie'" <adrian@hopebailie.com>, "'Michiel de Jong'" <michiel@ripple.com>
Cc: "'Andrew Bransford Brown'" <andrewbb@gmail.com>, "'Interledger Community Group'" <public-interledger@w3.org>
Message-ID: <0bac01d2b84d$59a36a00$0cea3e00$@objectchain.com>
Hi All

Sorry to crash into this list, but I have been a good listener for many months and I thought I could contribute a little, especially regarding standards (for what it’s worth).


We have just completed the first international meeting of ISO for standards in blockchain and DLT (or in ISO parlance, TC3017).  Discussion among the 70-odd international delegates was informed by pre-work contributed by one of the widest groups of countries that have ever adopted a new standards process for a new technology area.


And yet, the discussions in the area of smart contracts hit some very early problems.  Even the term “Smart Contracts” was a specific item of discussion, with some lawyers and others proposing they are neither ‘smart’ (in the legal world) or ‘contracts’ (in either legal or technical worlds).   The meeting resolved to kick off a study group (termed: ISO/TC 307/SG 5) to coordinate development in this area.


Of course, I’m not suggesting that standards are only standard when some international body reaches consensus between national delegates; standards are often created by good practice, and perhaps underpinned by W3C for instance.  But even here, I’d say we are some way off reliable standards in this area.  


Nevertheless, developing processes and definitions (such as spoken about here) and other aspects of smart contracts so that ‘good practice’ can be assumed, will (in my opinion) require good coordination between a number of specialist areas; certainly technology (coding) and law, but others too.  If this group decided to contribute by establishing a separate mailing list, and if the list became successful, I would be happy to coordinate to establish an official “Organization in liaison” between Interledger and the ISO processes in this area.  There is already coordination between W3C and ISOTC307, even at this early stage.

That way, in or out of scope of Interledger, we could make sure everyone has a voice and help solve problems more rapidly.


I hope I haven’t overstepped the mark with my rather lengthy contribution, just happy to help if I can.


Paul Ferris




From: Adrian Hope-Bailie [mailto:adrian@hopebailie.com] 
Sent: 18 April 2017 13:07
To: Michiel de Jong
Cc: Andrew Bransford Brown; Interledger Community Group
Subject: Re: Promise App


> Maybe it's worth creating a separate mailing list that discusses topics more around 'Conversations for Action' (promises, offers, etc.), and keep this mailing list strictly about Interledger?

Not a bad idea. I am surprised by the lack of coherence around standards for "smart contracts" and this probably fits in that category. Do any of the other W3C folk on this list know of any CGs addressing this kind of thing?


On 18 April 2017 at 10:58, Michiel de Jong <michiel@ripple.com> wrote:

Hi Andrew,


Thanks for your post - I totally agree with you that it's important to understand the terminology around 'promise', 'want', 'offer', 'terms', and 'counter' that lead up to a payment.


However, this community group was created for discussing Interledger, and its scope is therefore limited to payments, and the ledger transfers involved in making these payments work across ledgers (hence the name "inter"-"ledger").


'Why' a payment occurs, 'how' the two parties agreed on the payment amount, 'what' service or goods the payment is for, and even whether it's an up-front payment (creating a debt) or an afterwards payment (resolving a debt), is out of scope.


I recently added a glossary to the RFCs repo, which might be of interest: https://github.com/interledger/rfcs/blob/master/0019-glossary/0019-glossary.md <https://github..com/interledger/rfcs/blob/master/0019-glossary/0019-glossary.md>  - as you can see, it only discusses terminology surrounding Interledger payments.


Do you think Interledger should describe more than just payments? Personally, I think it would make the scope to broad.


Maybe it's worth creating a separate mailing list that discusses topics more around 'Conversations for Action' (promises, offers, etc.), and keep this mailing list strictly about Interledger?


What do others think?






On Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 12:18 AM, Andrew Bransford Brown <andrewbb@gmail.com> wrote:

Understanding adversarial contract disputes and resolution:




Received on Tuesday, 18 April 2017 14:10:17 UTC

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