This paper addresses the understandability of smart contracts when compared to their traditional legal form. Our method is an exploratory case study conducted with 36 students in information systems (IS). We conclude that smart contracts written in Solidity language are understandable by users with a background in programming languages such as Java and Python. The main advantage of smart contracts is the clarification of complex and/or disperse clauses in legal agreements. A key disadvantage is the lack of support to contextual information. An hybrid of the two forms can contribute to the clarification of legal contracts, but also raises challenges to keep both versions synchronized. In the advent of blockchain-related implementations, our work contributes to the adoption of smart contracts in IS courses and prepares futures research to evaluate the understandability of smart contracts by IS experts, legal advisors, and end users.
Lopes Barata, Sofia and Rupino da Cunha, Paulo, "Legal and Smart! An Exploratory Case Study on Understandability of Smart Contracts" (2019). CAPSI 2019 Proceedings. 7.