A glossary of concepts on the subject of smart contracts, including terms currently frequently used in blockchain technology written by cryptographer Nick Szabo in 1995, was shared via a Twitter user account.

The user Armin van Bitcoin, known to be very active within the Bitcoin ecosystem, linked the archive for his followers, drawing attention to many of the terms that the expert included in his glossary, 14 years before the release of Bitcoin, the first blockchain.

The archive, originally published in 1995, is part of the writings that the computer scientist uploaded to his site, whose URL was szabo.best.vwh.net, and which are now available on the site archive.is, where copies of any web page are stored, even if the page has been removed from the Internet.

Nick Szabo, who has been known for working on a prototype of Bitcoin, formerly called Digicash, is known within the ecosystem as the father of smart contracts, a term he clearly defined in his 1995 glossary.

A set of promises, including protocols within which the parties perform on the other promises. The protocols are usually implemented with programs on a computer network, or in other forms of digital electronics, thus these contracts are “smarter” than their paper-based ancestors. No use of artificial intelligence is implied.

Nick Szabo
Smart Contracts Glossary, 1995

In this first instance, the computer scientist defined the basic principles of his work, but at that time there was no suitable environment to materialize it in any way. It was not until 2009, with the advance of Blockchain technology, that the foundations of these concepts were laid by Bitcoin and driven by Ethereum later on.

The concept of smart contract was developed by Szabo with the aim of achieving what he called the “highly evolved” practices of contract law and the design of e-commerce protocols between strangers on the Internet.

It is considered that smart contracts will be an important part of the business of the future, so they are increasingly attracting the attention of the banking industry, the financial sector and even government agencies, which are looking to take advantage of the possibilities of this technological development to be applied in their processes.


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