What are smart contracts?

Stratis’s Smart Contracts Alpha | Stratis Academy: Smart Contracts | Stratis Development Foundation: Smart Contracts | Stratis Discord for support in the #smart_contracts channel | Jordan Andrew’s introductory talk on Stratis’s smart contracts

A smart contract is a piece of software run on computers operating the full nodes of a cryptocurrency networkOnce a smart contract is deployed to a blockchain, a copy of it is contained in every node. The smart contract code is run by these nodes whenever the smart contract is used. Stratis’s blockchain is Proof of Stake, so any smart contracts which are deployed to the Stratis mainchain will be run by the computers operating Stratis Core wallets staking the Stratis blockchain. Stratis also has sidechains. Any smart contracts deployed to a sidechain will be run by the computers operating the nodes of that sidechain. This will address the congestion problem which faces smart contract offering Blockchain as a Service cryptocurrencies.

Smart contracts allow people to build things which leverage decentralization, immutability and transparency. It’s not hard to imagine an application for smart contracts which removes some middleman and provides more value to users in the process. Consider a platform which decentralizes online auctions. Sellers can advertise their item for sale and these can be bid for by potential buyers all through the application of smart contracts without any middleman taking money in the process. Both parties get more bang for their buck without having to sacrifice security or usability. With enough applications and enough people using them, tens of thousands of smart contracts could be being used every single day.

You can read about why smart contracts matter from an investor’s perspective here.