By now, I guess you know what Bitcoin is. And maybe you even know the distributed ledger technology behind it: the Bitcoin Blockchain. The big competitor is the Ethereum Blockchain. This year we provide clients and colleagues with a Christmas present that is wrapped in the Ethereum Blockchain.
In the media:
- Article + Radio recording at BNR (Dutch)
- Financial Newspaper: Financieel Dagblad (Dutch, behind paywall)
- Article in the Volkskrant (Dutch)
The Ethereum blockchain has its own cryptocurrency: Ether. No big difference there. But the Ethereum Blockchain has a great advantage above the Bitcoin Blockchain. It can contain and execute small developed programs, called “Smart Contracts”
A Smart Contract can basically be programmed in a way that it checks certain conditions in order to execute or transfer a certain amount of Ether as an example. This is what Wikipedia says about a smart contract:
“Proponents of smart contracts claim that many kinds of contractual clauses may be made partially or fully self-executing, self-enforcing, or both. The aim with smart contracts is to provide security that is superior to traditional contract law and to reduce other transaction costs associated with contracting.”
To provide clients and colleagues with some hands-on experience in regard to the Blockchain and Ether(eum), we deployed our Christmas Present in the Ethereum Blockchain. In the next couple of days all clients and colleagues will receive an invite to claim their present. It contains a unique token and the URL (no longer available) where they can claim the present.
Once someone claims the present, the smart contract verifies the token and once verified will transfer a relatively small amount of Ether to the wallet of the claimer. According to the smart contract, this is done on the night before Christmas, first Christmas day and on boxing day.
In essence, the smart contract has two functions:
- Verifying the rightful owner of the present.
- Executing a small transaction on three moments in time.
That’s our very practical, real-life Ethereum Blockchain experiment. And so far we can say: It works like a charm! The first clients and colleagues have already claimed the present.
Interested in the more technical approach behind the Smart Contract? Read the article from Vincent where he explains a bit more about the technique behind this all.