Smart Contracts – Blockchains in the Wings

  • Thomas BocekEmail author
  • Burkhard Stiller


In recent years, electronic contracts have gained attention, especially in the context of the blockchain technology. While public blockchains are considered secure, legally binding under certain circumstances, and without any centralized control, they are applicable to a wide range of application domains, such as public registries, registry of deeds, or virtual organizations. As one of the most prominent blockchain examples, the Bitcoin system has reached large public, financial industry‐related, and research interest. Another prominent block‐chain example, Ethereum, which is considered a general approach for smart contracts, has taken off too. Nevertheless, various different set of functions, applications, and stakeholders are involved in this smart contract arena. These are highlighted and put into interrelated technical, economic, and legal perspectives.


Smart Contracts Ethereum Bitcoin System Public Blockchain Blockchain Technology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    N. Szabo, “Smart Contracts,” 1994. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 6 August 2016].Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    S. Nakamoto, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” 2008.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    V. Buterin, “On Public and Private Blockchains,”, 7 August 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 6 August 2016].Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    “The DAO,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 6 August 2016].
  5. 5.
    “Ethereum Average BlockTime Chart,” Etherscan – The Ethereum Block Explorer, [Online]. Available: [Accessed 6 August 2016].
  6. 6.
    “Distributed Ledger Technology: Beyond Block Chain,” UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor, 19 January 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    “Confirmation,” bitcoin wiki, 14 June 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    V. Buterin, “On Slow and Fast Block Times,” 14 September 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 Augest 2016].Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. Tuwiner, “Bitcoin Mining Centralization,”, [Online]. Available: [Accessed 8 August 2016].
  10. 10.
    “Bitstamp to Become the First Nationally Licensed Bitcoin Exchange and Launches BTC/EUR Trading,” Bitstamp, [Online]. Available: [Accessed 8 Augusst 2016].
  11. 11.
    “Europen Union: Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Prevention of the Use of the Financial System for the Purpose of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing,” 25 October 2005. [Online]. Available:
  12. 12.
    G. Wood, “Ethereum: A Secure Decentralized Generalized Transaction Ledger,” 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    “ethereum/wiki,” September 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].
  14. 14.
    “Crypto-Currency Market Capitalizations,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 Augest 2016].
  15. 15.
    “Segregated Witness Benefits,” Bitcoin Core, 26 January 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    L. Lamport, “Generalized Consensus and Paxos,” Microsoft, March 2005. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    D. Ongaro and J. Ousterhout, “In Search of an Understandable Consensus Algorithm,” in 2014 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC 14), Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2014.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    J. Douceur, “The Sybil Attack,” in Revised Papers from the First International Workshop on Peer-to-Peer Systems (IPTPS 2001), London, UK, 2002.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    M. Swan, “Blockchain Consensus Protocols,” Bitcoin Meetup, 6 May 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    V. Buterin, “Serenity PoC2,” 5 March 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    D. Tapscott and A. Tapscott, How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World, New York, USA: Penguin Random House LLC, 2016.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    “What Can You Buy with Bitcoin?,” CoinDesk, 19 October 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    E. Aschwanden, “Stadt Zug wird weltweit zum Bitcoin-Pionier,” 10 May 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    “Coinblesk,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].
  25. 25.
    “Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].
  26. 26.
    Y. B. Perez, “Mt Gox CEO Mark Karpeles Charged With Embezzlement,” CoinDesk, 11 September 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    “Bitcoin Nachahmer: Riskante virtuelle Währungen,” 8 August 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].
  28. 28.
    A. Guadamuz and C. Marsden, “Blockchains and Bitcoin: Regulatory Responses to Cryptocurrencies,” First Monday, vol. 20, no. 12, 7 December 2015.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    “Legality of bitcoin by country,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].
  30. 30.
    V. Tombez, “Le bitcoin a consommé en 2015 autant d’énergie que 620’000 ménages,” RTS Info, 26 April 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 August 2016].Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    M. Swan, Blueprint for a New Economy, Sebastopol, California, USA: O’Reilly Media, 2015.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Zürich UZHZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations