Standardized Smart Financial Contracts Could Prevent Crypto's Next Black Swan
The collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX is just the latest in a long list of black swan events that could have been avoided. To prevent such events from happening again, regulators may need to provide clearer guidance on cryptocurrency assets. However, tokenization platforms have grave shortcomings: some digitize the paper prospectus and hash it into the token, while others only tokenize the asset side and forget about the liability. The key to avoiding another crisis is ensuring that liabilities and cash flows related to financial assets are defined with machine-readable, machine-executable, and standardized data models and algorithms. This can be achieved by implementing open banking standards and introducing "smart financial contracts" that define the logic of the financial instrument in a token, which can be read and executed automatically without error. Standards, like the Algorithmic Contract Types Universal Standards (ACTUS) Research Foundation, exist to address these concerns. Digitally native financial contracts built on the ACTUS standard could be implemented into the architecture of any financial institution. Tokenized financial assets can enable liquidity and new forms of financing for critical parts of the economy, while other industries such as energy, telecommunications, and healthcare could see similar improvements in efficiency and transparency.