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Smart Contracts Nothing but Decentralised Workflows?

Blockchain platforms, such as Ethereum, don't rely on a central authority to allow a set of actors to maintain a ledger
of transactions. Additionally it is possible to deploy scripts, called
smart contracts, which get executed whenever certain transactions occur. This talk, initially hold on the
2th Oktober 2018 @camunda in Berlin, explores if smart contracts could be used as basic building blocks for executing collaborative business processes between mutually untrusting parties.

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Smart Contracts Nothing but Decentralised Workflows?

  1. 1. Smart Contracts Nothing but Decentralised Workflows? Why compiling BPMN into Solidity could make sense
  2. 2. My Background ● 2013 First Analysis of Bitcoins ability to act as currency. ● 2017 Master Thesis ~ “A blockchain based version control system for documents“ ● 2018 Initial thoughts on linking “smart contracts” to Business Process Automation ● 2018+ Active research in this area
  3. 3. This talk is about ● Cutting through the jungle of blockchain projects. ● Exploring the core of “smart contracts” ● Show which value BPMN could add to the Blockchain Ecosystem
  4. 4. This talk it not ● A detailed discussion about how blockchain works. ● About Bitcoin ● Including any crypto investment advice ● Even close to cover the topic completely
  5. 5. The Ethereum Blockchain
  6. 6. What does a blockchain do again? No new technology at all - but a smart combination of multiple existing once! ● Blockchain is a technology that combines a data structure (or database) and a peer-to-peer network. ● Each block in the blockchain includes a group of transactions ● The creation of a new block requires solving a computationally hard cryptographic puzzle. ● Some nodes in the network are responsible for mining blocks. ● With each cryptographic puzzle a hash value is created that links blocks in the database. ● Any attempt to change a transaction in a block would require the computational costs of recreating all subsequence blocks.
  7. 7. How is the Ethereum Blockchain difference? ● Ethereum, also allow to deploy scripts, called smart contracts, that are executed whenever certain transactions occur. ● Smart contracts are executed over an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)
  8. 8. Ethereum Technology Stack https://www.slideshare.net/SherminVoshmgir/ethereum-61549934
  9. 9. What does all this have to do with BPMN?
  10. 10. https://www.ethereum.org/ Value Proposition of Ethereum
  11. 11. https://www.cbinsights.com/research/what-is- ethereum/ Value Proposition of Ethereum
  12. 12. https://newalchemy.io/ Value Proposition of Smart Contracts
  13. 13. Most Famous Implementation: “The Decentralized Autonomous Organization” Goal “Codify the rules and decision making apparatus of an organization, eliminating the need for documents and people in governing, creating a structure with decentralized control.” https://medium.com/@pullnews/understanding-the-dao-hack-fo r-journalists-2312dd43e993
  14. 14. The DAO Launch ● Launched on 30th April, 2016. ● Largest crowdfunding in history, raised over $150m from more than 11,000 enthusiastic members. ● 50 investment opportunity to vote for by members.
  15. 15. The DAO Hack ● $70M were drained on June 18, 2016, by making the smart contract return Funds multiple times before it update its own balance. ● One of the Flaw: ○ The DAO coders had also failed to consider the possibility of a recursive call. https://coincodex.com/article/50/the-dao-hack-what-happened-and-what-followed/
  16. 16. Relevant Etherium Properties ● Turing-complete ● Own programming language “Solidity” ○ syntax resembles the one of JavaScript. ○ Similar classes in Java-like object-oriented style ○ strongly-typed language ● Immutability of deployed code & complete computations ● No central authority ○ Cannot fail, be stopped or censored
  17. 17. ● Lack of transparency ● Vulnerable to Errors (only write operation!) Smart Contract Properties
  18. 18. Bernd Rücker’s Thoughts https://blog.bernd-ruecker.com/how-blockchain-can-drastically-simplify-business-processes-cc0828918b85 “A thought experiment we did was to generate Ethereum smart contract code out of a BPMN model. “This would...mak(e) BPMN a pretty interesting tool in the blockchain technology landscape.”
  19. 19. Caterpillar Project “Caterpillar accepts as input a process model specified in BPMN and generates a set of smart contracts that captures the underlying behavior.”
  20. 20. Background ● Title ○ CATERPILLAR: A Business Process Execution Engine on the Ethereum Blockchain ● Published ○ 10 Jul 2018 ● By ○ Orlenys López-Pintado, Luciano García-Bañuelos, Marlon Dumas, Ingo Weber, Alex Ponomarev ● Universities ○ Institute of Computer Science, University of Tartu, Estonia ○ CSIRO, Sydney, Australia ○ School of Computer Science & Engineering, UNSW Australia, Sydney, Australia
  21. 21. What does it do ● BPMN-to-Solidity compiler covering the full spectrum of BPMN ● The full state of the process instance is recorded on the blockchain ● External entity can query the state of a given process instance, i.e. the set of activities that are currently active (executing) for that particular instance. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1808.03517.pdf
  22. 22. Demo
  23. 23. Check it out! https://github.com/orlenyslp/Caterpillar
  24. 24. Technical Limitations ● Slow & Expensive to use ● Tradeoff between efficiency and the ability to run inter-linked business processes entirely on the blockchain. ● Collaborative BPMN processes executed outside of the realm of any involved party.
  25. 25. This talk was about ● Cutting through the jungle of blockchain projects. ● Exploring the core of “smart contracts” ● Show which value BPMN could add to the Blockchain Ecosystem

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