The blockchain participation testing protocol Algorand and the software firm blockchain Blockstack have launched a joint open source project to support the development of an intelligent contract language called „Clarity“.
Both claim that existing intelligent contract languages are not secure or predictable enough to meet the growing needs of the emerging industry.
As of this February, $1 billion was secured in the decentralized finance markets (DeFi), where smart contracts are used to innovate financial services such as credit and loans.
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In their June 10 announcement, Algorand and Blockstack emphasized the need for an alternative intelligent contract language that would be
„Designed specifically for the needs of developers working on high-risk transactions in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which require more predictability and reliability than current solutions.
The teams on both blockchain networks have strong connections to computer science and academic research in cryptography.
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The founder of Algorand is MIT professor and cryptographer Silvio Micali, winner of the Turing Award in computer science and the Gödel Award in theoretical computer science. At Blockstack, the team is led by Dr. Muneeb Ali, who holds a PhD in computer science from Princeton University.
What makes Clarity different from existing intelligent contract languages?
In his project launch statement, Dr. Ali explained that smart contracts have „radically different requirements,“ particularly when it comes to verifiability and security.
Before the DeFi space grows even larger, he called for a „serious upgrade“ to the development of intelligent contract language, to ensure that the secure and effective code is compatible with the technology’s most popular applications.
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As past vulnerabilities show, such as the infamous DAO incident in the Bitcoin Trader block chain in 2016, the stakes can be extremely high when things go wrong.
Clarity, as described in the announcement, is a „‚determinable‘ language, meaning that developers can know, with mathematical certainty, what a program will and will not do in advance.
Algorand and Blockctack claim that currently, the use of „indeterminable“ languages makes it impossible for developers to understand exactly how a contract will behave in certain situations without prior execution. They claim that this change to decision making therefore „addresses a key obstacle that currently prevents serious use on a large scale“.
With the adoption of a programming language like Clarity, Dr Micali has also pointed to the likelihood that large-scale businesses and governments will become more confident in the technology.