Wet Code: an illustration

Engineers and lawyers look at rules, definitions, and meaning very differently; the majority of my effort at the moment is dedicated to bridging the gap. Part of this arises from the fact that law and programming are very different disciplines; but part of it also arises from the borderline-normative claims made by Nick Szabo, the father of the smart contract, in respect of the relative merits of “dry code” – i.e. computer programs – as against “wet code,” i.e. human rules. A refresher:  “There’s a strong distinction to be made between ‘wet code,’ interpreted by the brain, and ‘dry code,’…

All aboard the moon rocket

Much to the annoyance of my buddy and cryptocommentator extraordinaire Tim Swanson – and, to be honest, to the annoyance of everyone else I know – I can’t stop talking about Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency favoured by shiba inus worldwide. I was therefore most grateful Dom Marmont of Fixr passed this on earlier today: Dogecar No. 98 “Moonrocket,” being piloted by Josh Wise in next week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega. Imagine: you’ve been racing your butt off for a solid 45 minutes, are tired, overheating. You get passed, only to find that the car in question is staring back at you: Thank…

Lest you think I was kidding

This is for all the folks in the Ethereum Skype channel (particularly Dennis, m0de and Stephan) to whom I promised I’d learn how to code. Well, Zed Harris’ book arrived in the mail on Thursday afternoon, and I read it for an hour and a half on the train into Manhattan today. The outstanding, earth-shatteringly brilliant result of my labour: I look forward to being thoroughly rinsed for being such an amateur – and learning a ton – over the coming weeks. Suggestions for a good starter project are more than welcome! -PJB

Smart contract platforms != Law

…Smart contracts as law? EtherScripter is out. Not too shabby. But then there’s this: “Traditional law is a form of agreement. It is an agreement among people and their leaders as to how people should behave. There are also legal contracts between individuals. These contracts are a form of private law that applies to the participants. Both types of agreement are enforced by a government’s legal system. For example, if you loan someone money and they don’t pay you back, you might take them to court. In practice, this is messy and unpredictable. Court cases require expensive lawyers to argue about the…