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Smart-Contracts in the digital economy: Contractual regulation and dispute resolution

https://doi.org/10.38044/2686-9136-2021-2-4-40-50

Abstract

This article has been prepared for the research purpose of identifying, disclosing, and justifying certain trends in the development of civil law and procedures in the context of the spread of smart contract practices and the expansion of their spheres of application. At the moment, there is no uniform approach to choosing an optimal form for the legal regulation of smart contracts within the system of contract law in modern legal systems or international law; meanwhile, globalization and the digitalization of the economy imply the growth of cross-border transactions. The emergence of smart contracts is due to the development of e-commerce, in which the parties’ interactions are carried out electronically instead of in physical exchanges or direct physical contact. Smart contracts gaining popularity in circulation are based on two interrelated elements: firstly, they eliminate a person’s direct participation in some or all cases of executing the agreement using an automated code designed for execution without reference to the intentions of the contracting parties after publication; secondly, they make use of decentralized blockchain technology, and also provide automatic code execution without any party’s potential intervention, so as to eliminate or reduce the self-control and third-party control of the commitment.

This study examines the content, conclusion, validity, protection of rights and legitimate interests of the parties, interpretation, and legal nature of smart contracts. The research materials used foreign experience in resolving disputes from smart contracts on digital platforms (Kleros, JUR, Aragon Network Justice, OpenCourt, OpenBazaar), as well as domestic and foreign literature on smart contracts. This research has been prepared based on general (deduction, dialectical analysis, intersectoral relations of objects) and specialized (comparative-legal, economic-legal) methods of scientific experimentation.

The authors conclude that there are no grounds for considering a smart contract as a new classification element of the system of contractual regulation (type or kind of contract). In addition, the analysis shows that the resolution of smart contract disputes through digital platforms remains radically uncertain, and currently is not creating obvious advantages in comparison with traditional judicial proceedings.

About the Authors

S. A. Sinitsyn
Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Sergei A. Sinitsyn — Dr. Sci. in Law, Professor, Leading Researcher, Department of Civil Legislation and Procedure

34, B. Cheremushkinskaya st., Moscow, Russia, 117218



M. O. Diakonova
Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Maria O. Diakonova — Ph. D. In Law, Senior Researcher, Department of Civil Legislation and Procedure

34, B. Cheremushkinskaya st., Moscow, Russia, 117218



T. I. Chursina
Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Tatiana I. Chursina — Researcher, Department of the Constitutional, Administrative, Criminal Legislation of Foreign Countries and International Law

34, B. Cheremushkinskaya st., Moscow, Russia, 117218



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ISSN 2686-9136 (Online)