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A new patent granted to Ripple Labs for effectuating smart contracts

Photo of: Janeth Diamond
by Janeth Diamond

San Francisco-based Blockchain venture Ripple Labs, the brain behind Ripple’s payment protocol for a system software including smart contracts, has been officially granted a new patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on September 29th. 

The patent was provided to the invention which was initially published in June 2018. The credit for the same goes to former Ripple CTO and Coil CEO Stefan Thomas and Evan Schwartz who is also the co-creator of the inter ledger protocol meant for blockchain-agnostic cryptocurrency payments. 

According to what has been ascribed in the patent, the system will let the so-called smart oracles execute smart contracts. are third-party services that provide smart contracts with external information. They serve as bridges between blockchains and the outside world. Overall speaking, it is a computer platform that can receive information about a condition clearly and precisely specified in the smart contracts. The inclusion of a third-party lets the system open for tampering and it has to be ensured that it doesn’t hamper the software which includes smart contracts. 

“A result produced from an execution of a copy of the software by a corresponding platform can be received from each of a plurality of platforms. A number of matching results of the execution of the software can be determined. Whether the number of matching results is equal to or greater than a threshold can be determined…The software can include an implementation of at least a portion of an act associated with an agreement between at least two entities.”

Smart contracts as of now are synonymous with the Ethereum blockchain network for creating and processing smart contracts. Thomas was earlier working something called Codius, also known as the Ethereum Killer. This was done even before the mainnet of Ethereum went live. The functioning of it would be that it will allow adding smart contracts into the XRP as well as other major currencies so that interoperability among different currencies is ensured. 

But the Codium project underwent some hassles, for instance, the code could still have non-deterministic results. Determinism is the fundamental of XRP’s utility as a means of payments. Even choosing the right programming language for writing smart contracts also was a challenge. 

“We wanted people to write smart contracts in languages that they are familiar with.”

Hence a decision was made to introduce a more complex system by integrating smart contracts into the XRP Ledger which was supposedly a better way to go about. 

These challenges eluded the goal and got the project scrapped but also led to a fresh start by Thomas who did it with the inception of his company called Coi. In the meantime, Flare network, another Ripple-backed and supported network is also attempting to bring smart contracts to the XRP ledger. This it intends to do by building a bridge with Ethereum. The smart contract code is solely responsible for facilitating, verifying, and enforcing the negotiation or performance of a transaction or an agreement.