New E-Signature To Legally Authenticate Blockchain Smart Contracts Created By ZHAW And Swisscom

E-Signature Developed By ZHAW And Swisscom To Legally Authenticate Smart Contracts On Blockchain

Swisscom, a major telecoms company, has decided to push their innovations further recently with a collaboration involving themselves and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). According to financial news outlet Cash, based in Switzerland, the two platforms have already created a certified, integrated e-signature to work with the blockchain. The new e-signature is created with the intention of authenticating smart contracts on the distributed ledger.

The reports show that ZHAW’s engineers and lawyers collaborated with the developers at Swisscom to create a prototype for a smart contract, built around Ethereum, to start the process. Once in place, the developers created a foundation for the e-signature service with a new interface that would replace the need to physically sign documents. Hand signatures are presently a requirement for anyone that signs a contract, according to the laws in Switzerland.

After the signature is verified, the smart contract’s conditions are fulfilled. The terms do not matter at this stage, whether someone is transferring assets, rights, or any other specified terms. Considering the requirements presently for these signatures, Harald Bärtschi spoke on the way that the signature will handle the current legal requirements.

Bärtschi, a professor with the ZHAW School of Management and Law, 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.”

Right now, the Swiss laws are not the only ones that require certain conditions for the signature, but the European Union’s eIDAS Regulation does as well, though they deal with multiple signatures. Peter Amrhyn, who works with Swisscom, says that the implementation of the smart contract signature “opens up a multitude of international applications.” Presently, the signature solution can be used with Ethereum, Hyperledger, and Corda (R3), along with several other existing blockchain-based platforms.

The laws for signatures and contracts are still trying to find a way to cover the smart contract technology that has been brought to light, and their validity is still debated. A professor at a university in Germany said that these types of contracts should fall under the jurisdiction of the private laws in each country, considering how protocols and contract codes can play a role. Many experts seem to agree with this stance, even though smart contracts could make the present framework more complicated than it presently is.

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