Smart Contract

ZHAW and Swisscom to Implement New E-Signature for Smart Contracts

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Many educational institutes have indulged themselves with the world of cryptocurrencies in last few years. Some of the greatest universities have included Blockchain courses in their curriculum. A Swiss University has come forward to collaborate with Swisscom, a renowned telecom company.

In Switzerland, The Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) has partnered with Swisscom, and the collaboration has already developed e-signature to work on the blockchain. The newly developed product is certified and integrated. The e-signature is designed to authenticate smart contracts on the distributed ledger. ZHAW’s interdisciplinary team including lawyers and engineers worked with the developers at Swisscom, and outlined a prototype for a smart contract, initially based on Ethereum. After that, the developers built an interface for including Swisscom-developed e-signature service. The new service of Swisscom will eliminate the need of the handwritten signatures from all contractual parties under Swiss law.

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The smart contract will only operate once after the signature gets verified. With this technology, the desired process will be triggered directly on the blockchain, like a transfer of the asset or the conclusion of a contract.

Here, Harald Bärtschi a professor at the ZHAW School of Management and Law talked about the necessity for these signatures. He said, “This is particularly important for Switzerland, as we have a mandatory written form for the transfer of claims and similar rights, and so far, it has often been doubtful whether transfers on blockchain are legally binding. The solution combines the advantages of the decentralized blockchain infrastructure with the high security and trustworthiness of the certified signature.” According to him, the use of integrated signature service will rectify the current legal ambiguities for smart contracts.

Notably, it’s not only in Switzerland but also under the European Union’s eIDAS Regulation, where signatures under contractual law are required. Although, they ask for multiple signatures. Peter Amrhyn, who works at Swisscom, stated that the utilization of the smart contract signature “opens up a multitude of international applications.” For now, the new signature solution can operate with Ethereum, Hyperledger, and Corda (R3), and some more existing blockchain-based platforms. However, the validity of these smart contracts regarding the regulations is still in question.

Ruti Vora

Ruti regularly contributes in-depth news articles for leading cryptocurrencies. She contributes technical chart-based price updates and analysis pieces on world's leading digital currencies. She holds graduate degree in journalism.
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