What makes up web3? Smart ContractsA brief history of smart contracts

A brief history of smart contracts

Meet Nick Szabo…

Source: Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue
Source: Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue

… the American computer scientist who first conceptualized smart contracts in 1994.

Yup, that’s right. Smart contracts were actually proposed long before the creation of Bitcoin, but it was only after Ethereum was introduced that the concept gained attention and popularity.

Szabo (1996): “These new contracts are ''smart", because they are far more functional than their inanimate paper-based ancestors. No use of artificial intelligence is implied. A smart contract is a set of promises, specified in digital form, including protocols within which the parties perform on these promises.”

Szabo was interested in cryptography well before the invention of Bitcoin. In addition to his work on smart contracts, Szabo also conducted notable research on ‘Bit Gold’ in 1998, which was a similar project to Bitcoin that was never fully implemented.

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