Setting Standards for Altering and Undoing Smart Contracts

  • Bill MarinoEmail author
  • Ari Juels
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9718)


Often, we wish to let parties alter or undo a contract that has been made. Toward this end, contract law has developed a set of traditional tools for altering and undoing contracts. Unfortunately, these tools often fail when applied to smart contracts. It is therefore necessary to define a new set of standards for the altering and undoing of smart contracts. These standards might ensure that the tools we use to alter and undo smart contracts achieve their original (contract law) goals when applied to this new technology. This paper develops such a set of standards and, then, to prove their worth as a framework, applies to them to an existing smart contract platform (Ethereum).


Smart contracts Contract law Blockchain Ethereum 


  1. 1.
    Posner, R.: Economic Analysis of Law. Little Brown and Co., Boston (1986)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Szabo, N.: Smart Contracts: Building Blocks for Digital Markets (1996)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Juels, A., Kosba, A., Shi, E.: The Ring of Gyges: Investigating the Future of Criminal Smart Contracts (2015)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Szabo, N.: Smart Contracts (1994)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Szabo, N.: The Idea of Smart Contracts (1997)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Buterin, V.: Ethereum White Paper (2014)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Posner, R.: Let us never blame a contract breaker. Mich. Law Rev. 107, 1360 (2009)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Black, H.C.: Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 1025 (1910)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Black, H.C.: A Treatise on the Rescission of Contracts and Cancellation of Written Instruments, vol. 1 (1916)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Koford, H.S.: Recessions at law and in equity. Calif. Law Rev. 36, 608 (1948)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Atlas Trucking v. City of Lompoc, S224878, 2015 Cal. LEXIS 2165 (Sup. Ct. Cal., 15 April 2015)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Great American Ins. v. General Builders, 934 p. 2d 257, 262 n. 6 (Nev. 1997)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Corbin, A.L.: Corbin on Contracts, vol. 5A (1964)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Russell, I.S.: Reinventing the deal: a sequential approach to analyzing claims for enforcement of modified sales contracts. Fla. Law Rev. 53, 51 (2001)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    DeMichele, M.L., Bales, R.A.: Unilateral-modification provisions in employment arbitration agreements. Hofstra Employ. Law J. 24, 64 (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Carey v. 24 Hour Fitness, USA, Inc., 669 F.3d 202 (5th Cir. 2012)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Christine, C.: Contracts as bilateral commitments: a new perspective on contract modification. J. Legal Stud. 26, 204 (1997)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hillman, R.A.: A study of uniform commercial code methodology: contract modification under article two. N. C. Law Rev. 59, 339 (1981)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Williston, S., Lord, R.: Williston on Contracts (1992)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke Co. v. Rochester, 178 U.S. 373, 385 (1900)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Link v. Kroenke, 909 S.W.2d 740, 745 (Mo. App. W.D. 1995)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co., 350 F.2d 445, 449 (D.C. Cir. 1965)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    The Great Chain of Being Sure About Things. The Economist (2015)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
  25. 25.
    Delmolino, K., Arnett, M., Kosba, A., Miller, A., Shi, E.: Step by Step Towards Creating a Safe Smart Contract: Lessons and Insights from a Cryptocurrency Lab (2015)Google Scholar
  26. 26.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornell TechNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Cornell Tech (Jacobs Institute)New YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations