Smart contracts are also called intelligent contracts. Same thing, different name. It is an application that works as a digital agreement and runs on a blockchain network.
The most popular is Ethereum and launched in 2015. It was developed as a platform on which users could build customizable blockchain applications. The Solidity programming language and Ethereum Virtual Machine made it possible.
Other contract blockchains are EOS, NEO and Cardano (ADA). Cardano is still in development and calls itself "third generation blockchain".
A smart contract is defined by a specific set of computer code rules. When it is deployed on the network and signed, it is self executing and immutable. In legal terms, it is an agreement which is cryptographically signed by two parties to an agreed transaction.
The use of smart contracts is virtually unlimited. They are most often used to build:
HEX as the first High Interest Blockchain Certificate of Deposit is build by a smart contract on the Ethereum network. For more details about HEX go to the official HEX website.
The most intriguing about smart contracts is the potential to create a more responsible global financial ecosystem. When signing a contract as legal document, both parties are independently responsible for fulfilling the terms. When you deploy a money transfer agreement, the funds transfer through the Ethereum Network. The transaction is recorded on the Ethereum Blockchain with attached digital signatures forever.
Smart contracts are smart because they are self executing, immutable and decentralized. A smart contract does not require much effort and is very cost effective. Thanks to smart contracts, fraud scandals are a relic from the past.
Find out more:
Ethereum on Wikipedia
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