Blockchain technology for smart contracts
Mainly known for virtual currencies as bitcoin, blockchain technologies are described as disrupting and are changing economics and society with their applications. One of the areas in which blockchain potentials are native is smart contracts. Given its nature as open and distributed ledger that can be used to record transactions between two parties in a verifiable and permanent way, a blockchain platform can almost straightaway be used to implement contracts. To this end, blockchains are used to generate logs of contract milestones and make ensuring compliance, determining violations and assigning blame and penalties easier and faster. Our focus in the project is to speed up the process of generating smart contract code so that it is more systematic and less error-prone. As a first step, smart contracts expressed in natural language ought to be translated in a specification language that allows describing the content of the contracts in terms of a conceptual model. The goal of the project is to design a framework to semi-automate the process of translating textual contracts into blockchain specifications. In this context, the PhD activity implies an interdisciplinary study to gather and analyse real-life industrial contracts, design a conceptual model, and test the application of linguistic tools to support the translation of textual contracts into blockchain specifications.