Learn what you need to know about smart contracts! In this book, Jeff Reed explains the fundamentals of smart contracts and how they work. The practical uses of smart contracts are enumerated in this book and you will also learn how you can make your own smart contracts in the Ethereum system. You will also get tips on how you can make your smart contacts easy to understand and user-friendly. This book also covers some of the myths surrounding smart contracts and the reasons why they exist. This book will introduce you to the basics of smart contracts. You will learn: The fundamentals of smart contracts The pros and cons of smart contracts The process of setting up Dapp The current state of smart contracts And much more
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The opening explanations are general, and help the beginner-listener get some sense of the potentials. However, the disadvantages and risks (and I speak as something of a contracts expert) are lightly glossed over. As with so many of today's tech "solutions," features of the preceding technologies are ignored, perhaps in a seeming awe of the new, without true comprehension of the trade-offs. For example, the author purports blithely and breezily that "legalese" and lawyers can simply be dispensed with, without explaining how the smart contract framework somehow (supposedly) makes it possible for laypersons to skip right by the nuances and complexities these things represent in the real world. This problem is a logical one of a world with uncertain alternative future conditions, and dealing with those in advance, describing future scenarios which can be complex, not a technological problem, per se. This technology does nothing in itself to answer this (and nothing distinctively from existing tools, as explained here anyway), and indeed, a self-executing contract can result in a very damaging outcome instantaneously and irreversibly with no ability to make nuanced post hoc adjustments. (Yes I know, AI may evolve to fix this, but this author says nothing of that different matter.) There is zero mention here of this risk and the catastrophic potentials. Some things that look like inefficiencies (especially to a techie blind to fuzzy/human style solutions) can actually be features, not bugs, including the opportunity for parties to use time and logical fuzziness as means to patch problems and adjust, when new conditions are discovered. I see a tendency to miss the real problem, and slap on a flashy new tech "solution." A smart contract, unless made with a level of author logic higher than in any author I've ever met, human or otherwise, plunges forward like the proverbial unleashed military robot and just executes on its instructions, bang-bang. If the war-robot's logic going in cannot distinguish a terrorist from an innocent person, well, oops. Too late. The loophole in Ethereum that allowed third party exploitation to extract Ether currency from the system and resulted in an earlier hard fork in the blockchain (if you are familiar) illustrates this. It is a problem in the logical structure of the universe vis a vis prospective mapping errors, that this technology does not, in itself, resolve. The fundamental error, I think, is mistaking having a potentially great sharp tool for having a good decider behind it. A bad decision process (which is independent of this technology here) can turn the sharpness fast and hard against its operator. (You have to go back to such hoary technologies as parables and old stories to get that -- as in "the Sorcerer's Apprentice." But those new nerds don't have time at coding camp to trifle with such things. Perhaps it is tractable to their sensibilities as "runaway processes.") Indeed, its speed and logical hardness may hinder the solving of real-world problems as they emerge. But humans are, of course, systematically overconfident, and this booklet seems, in very standard fashion with most human promotions, to feed into that. Yes, some risks are noted, and some are not. We also get a laundry list of very basic features of smart contracts without much real exploration of how these are better (particularly, more handy) than existing online technologies, including document-sharing and database solutions. It is glossed over. (Whoever chose "oracles" as the term for means for a smart contract to get outside data as needed, could use a lesson in basic intellectual property and name distinctiveness, inasmuch as "Oracle" is a massive leading database firm that in ways competes with this.) Then, suddenly, we are plunging into a recipe for building smart contracts with, in my opinion, insufficient familiarizing with the terminology. It is as if we are first told this new kind of cake will solve all our problems, and then suddenly find ourselves, with no transition, into a checklist of highly complex instructions for baking it. It is as if we are told day-trading is an easy way to make money (not true), and suddenly plunged into programming steps to write a trading algorithm. Given the usual quality of these little early-release audio booklets (so to speak), this one isn't too bad. Or too great.