Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas has left the building and has taken with him a model for smart contracts shelved by the company in 2015.
Thomas’s new venture, Coil, claims to have made smart contracts- literally, computer code-based contracts that can execute automatically when fed required data- more user friendly by simplifying the programming languages used and dumping the pesky blockchain.
Thomas, who says he started working on smart contracts at Ripple in 2013, claims that the still rarefied use of highly anticipated smart contracts cannot be explained away by claims that they are simply “too new.”
Thomas blames the world’s second largest blockchain, Ethereum:
“(T)he architecture hasn’t been flexible enough to deal with the complexity of real-world use cases. Ethereum is an excellent proof of concept, but it’s difficult to integrate with other systems, even forks of Ethereum. And without robust integrations, it’s impossible to build anything more than a proof-of-concept.”
Resulting contracts, says Thomas, will be hosted on fast, centralized, “independent hosts,” and not on notoriously clunky, slow blockchains.
“This allows (Coil smart contracts) to interact with any service or API, scale infinitely, and read from or write to any blockchain,” writes Thomas. “The key challenge of smart contracts — interoperability — was solved.”
Ethereum, a vast global enterprise that for the past four years has tried to be both centralized (Ethereum Enterprise Alliance) and decentralized (Ethereum public blockchain) may have just lost the smart contract game to a programmer with avowedly mainstream pedigree.