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Study: Smart Contracts Limit Data Availability, But Improve Its Quality

The latest analysis by research firm Gartner has painted a mixed picture of the benefits that blockchain-based smart contracts can offer enterprises.

While the study, published Jan. 30, concluded that smart contracts would be overall net positive for business, Gartner warned that the terms and conditions set for smart contracts could limit the availability of data for enterprises:

“This variable could leave participants in a worse position than if they did not participate in the blockchain smart contract process. As such, an organization’s overall data asset availability would decrease by 30 percent by 2023.”

Nonetheless, an enterprise can expect to see the quality of its data increase by 50% by 2023 if it adopts blockchain smart contracts, Gartner senior research director Lydia Clougherty Jones said.

Smart contracts are a net positive

Even though the availability of certain data assets might become more limited, Gartner said blockchain smart contract adoption will have profound and beneficial implications for decision making in enterprises. It will also bolster ROI (return on investment) on data and analytics.

Automated, continual verification would ensure that data quality is more reliable and trustworthy, so that decision making can be more transparent, efficient and granular, the study claimed.

Senior research director Clougherty Jones said that their usage would reduce the costs associated with hiring third-party intermediaries — whether they be bankers, escrow agents, and lawyers. In their stead, “code is law” provides a near certainty of trusted exchange:

“Once deployed, blockchain smart contracts are immutable and irrevocable through nonmodifiable code, which enforces a binding commitment to do or not do something in the future.”

The analysts at Gartner advise piloting smart contracts to automate basic business processes, such as non-sensitive data distributions or basic contract information for management ...

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