New paper: "Distributed Electronic Rights in JavaScript"

Mark S. Miller erights at
Mon Jan 14 15:31:35 PST 2013

On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 3:18 PM, Sam Tobin-Hochstadt <samth at> wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 6:05 PM, Mark S. Miller <erights at> wrote:
>> A fair point. By "contracts" in that first word, we refer to
>> real-world contracts. For software "contracts", we initially had a
>> footnote trying to explain the relationship between the "smart
>> contracts" we're talking about and the type-like "contracts" that this
>> literature refers to. Perhaps unwisely, I removed it because I thought
>> it created more confusion than it cleared up. By introducing "the
>> exchange of rights" in that same first sentence I hope we make it
>> clear that we're talking about a different kind of contract, one
>> closer to the real world notion.
> I disagree, in two senses.  First, behavioral software contracts in
> the sense of Meyer have a close analogy to real-world contracts, in
> particular contracts for the exchange of goods.  For example, a spot
> contract is just an agreement to exchange some good meeting some
> specified description for another (usually one is money).  Second, I
> believe that your escrow contracts are closely related to software
> contracts, in the sense that we could formulate them as software
> contracts in a sufficiently-expressive contract system, where the
> contract/runtime system itself plays the role of trusted host.

Someone should try this!


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