Is it really necessary for every good thing in the world to have a counterpart which is completely opposite? It seems so, at least when it comes to bitcoin and blockchain applications. Blockchain technology has been widely praised these days for its ability to simplify various processes while increasing the cost effectiveness and efficiency at the same time. At the same time, it has given rise to concerns regarding potential misuse by criminals.
A recent article published in one of the tech publication outlines the possibilities of potential misuse of blockchain technology based smart contracts by criminals. The article discusses about the adoption of bitcoin by criminals, who were in fact the first ones to use the digital currency. Hackers and criminals (both the “cyber” and “conventional” kind) have extensively used bitcoin for conducting illegal transactions and to demand ransom. Silk Road was the first online market place on the deep web where people could easily buy drugs and other contraband with bitcoin. All these actions have already made bitcoin notorious.
It may turn out the same for blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is increasingly being used for creating smart contracts and it is widely supported by the banking and financial sectors, along with the governments. However Ari Juels, Elaine Shi and Ahmed Kosba have a different view. According to them, the smart contracts created on blockchain can be used as a perfect vehicle for committing crimes. They have also published a paper on the topic along with few sample criminal contracts they recently created on Ethereum.
The paper titled “The Ring of Gyges: Using Smart Contracts for Crime” includes references to few such contracts created by the authors on the newly launched Ethereum platform. The authors of this study believe that the smart contracts can also be used to build trust among the criminals in certain situations where it is hard to achieve.
As part of the study, they had created smart contract to secure services of a hacker as well as a hitman. By creating these smart contracts on Ethereum platform, they have established the possibility of cyber criminals using smart contracts to establish proof of work and to build trust among accomplices.
Even though there is a good chance of few criminals making use of smart contracts to commit acts of crime, the contributions of bitcoin and blockchain technology to the society can’t be ignored and it definitely will do more good than harm.