The Rise of Enforceable Business Processes from the Hashes of Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts
Over the past few decades, the automation of inter-organizational processes has been the focus of several research efforts that have produced a broad spectrum of design methods and technologies. Recently, some experiments have shown how in principle a Decentralized Autonomous Process-Aware Information System (DAIS) can be implemented by means of Blockchain-based Smart Contracts (BSCs). In this paper, we cast a shadow on this novel approach by arguing that such kind of contracts cannot be considered an optimal abstraction to specify inter-organizational process models. We base our analysis on contractual incompleteness, a pivotal concept in widely accepted economic theories. We identify the main weakness in the conflict between the immutability-by-default of the BSCs and the nature of inter-organizational processes. As a result of this analysis, we introduce the concept of enforceable business process that is more in line with the original idea of smart contract and extends it to better match the essential requirements of a DAIS.
KeywordsBlockchain Smart Contracts Network coalition Process-Aware Information System Enforceable Business Process
This work is partially supported by the Italian National Group for Scientific Computation (GNCS-INDAM) and by “Progetto di Eccellenza” of the Computer Science Department, University of Verona, Italy.
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