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Blockchains, dApps, and Smart Contracts—A Critical Review

Summary:
Blog post by Dave Peck and the PSL team. Some issues they discuss: Very few categories of data belong on-chain … Today’s smart contract programming models are deeply flawed … Smart contracts can’t reference the “real-world”. They can only reference the blockchain itself. This is known as the “oracle problem” and it makes blockchains a necessarily closed system. This may sound like a trivial problem, but it is actually profound. For instance, it forces smart contract developers to jump through hoops to build “price oracles” when they want their on-chain code to reference real-world asset prices. Companies like Chainlink act as oracles, Smart contracts can’t be upgraded … Smart contracts require complex distributed systems to run, effectively, forever. Distributed consensus technology

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Blog post by Dave Peck and the PSL team. Some issues they discuss:

Very few categories of data belong on-chain …

Today’s smart contract programming models are deeply flawed …

  • Smart contracts can’t reference the “real-world”. They can only reference the blockchain itself. This is known as the “oracle problem” and it makes blockchains a necessarily closed system. This may sound like a trivial problem, but it is actually profound. For instance, it forces smart contract developers to jump through hoops to build “price oracles” when they want their on-chain code to reference real-world asset prices. Companies like Chainlink act as oracles,
  • Smart contracts can’t be upgraded …
  • Smart contracts require complex distributed systems to run, effectively, forever.

Distributed consensus technology could change radically in the next decade.

Dirk Niepelt
Dirk Niepelt is Director of the Study Center Gerzensee and Professor at the University of Bern. A research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR, London), CESifo (Munich) research network member and member of the macroeconomic committee of the Verein für Socialpolitik, he served on the board of the Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics and was an invited professor at the University of Lausanne as well as a visiting professor at the Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) at Stockholm University.

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