In a recent tweet, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin admits: “I quite regret adopting the term ‘smart contracts.’” In the tweet he explains he should’ve called it “something more boring and technical.”
To be clear, at this point I quite regret adopting the term "smart contracts". I should have called them something more boring and technical, perhaps something like "persistent scripts".
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) October 13, 2018
Vitalik’s tweet is a response to the account CleanApp, which was discussing the concept of “CryptoLaw.” In this thread, CleanApp details what they think of governance structures, and how digital smart contracts are having to deal with real life implications. After smart contracts are mentioned, Vitalik chimes in to express his regret, saying he’d prefer if smart contracts were called “persistent scripts.”
This in an apparent attempt to shift “smart contracts” away from legal documents, and more into a program that will execute “persistently.” Over the past year, smart contracts have been all the rage. Ethereum was a success story in 2017, exploding in price from $8 all the way up to $1,400 per ETH.
This growth led teams to try to emulate Ethereum’s model. Following in its footsteps, smart contract tokens started popping up all over the place. Tron, Neo, Cardano, Lisk, EOS, and Wanchain are just a handful of the hundreds of smart contract platforms (similar to Ethereum) that were launched.
Vitalik’s tweet was in response to a long thread by CleanApp about blockchain governance. Blockchain enthusiasts regularly argue whether or not the blockchain should ever be modified, or who should make that decision. This thread illuminates whether transactions can be modified for “ethical reasons.”
Cryptocurrency governance has been a hot topic of discussion, ever since Ethereum’s DAO hack led to a hard fork. During this dilemma, the Ethereum community decided to roll back the chain and give back any hacked coins to the victims of the hack. This was a highly controversial move, and those that disagreed with the chain rollback hard-forked to create Ethereum Classic.
After The DAO hack, many commentators started wondering what actions would merit censorship on the blockchain. If it can be done for victims of The DAO, why not others? There have been no other chain rollbacks, but the topic remains popular as previous discussions on Twitter suggested that Vitalik would consider rolling back the chain if necessary.