Innovating Construction Law
Perceptions in the construction industry of smart contracts
5.1 Socio-legal studies
This chapter draws together three studies examining the views and perceptions of construction industry professionals. Taking the temperature of current attitudes towards smart contracts in this manner is an important step and prevents the discussions from becoming too disconnected from the eventual users. In the first paper, secondary data was collected from online fora where the identities of the contributors are unknown to the viewer.1 Three prominent contributors to the debate were followed and their responses were studied.2 Contributors A and B were chosen due to their sceptical attitude towards smart contracts. Contributor C had a much more positive attitude and appeared to work with blockchain technology. In paper two, the author and a quantity-surveying alumnus, Hollie Escott, wrote about the views and perceptions of over one hundred stakeholders by subjecting the findings to thematic analysis.3 In the third paper, current PhD candidate and former International Construction Law alumnus, Alan McNamara, conducted a study with his supervisor to ascertain views on the central question of the benefits that smart contracts may deliver.4 The findings of all three papers are presented below. This data is not presented as being necessarily conclusive or as an evidence for any particular prediction made. The aim is to portray a sense of the underlying attitudes and the range of understanding towards smart contracts and information technology more generally. The third study was conducted in Australia, which has created a reputation for itself around technological advancement and innovation, particularly in the built environment fields with a good deal of cutting-edge research activity.
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