DAMN, a research proposal seeking to provide arbitration for smart contracts, has been presented to the public. Its creators seek feedback to determine its necessity in a growing digital currency ecosystem.

Community engagement

DAMN - or Decentralized Arbitration and Mediation Network - has been submitted to public forums and open platforms such as Github, Reddit, etc to seek public participation and voluntary collaboration to achieve a broad community engagement that could lead to funding and partnership opportunities.

This could play out well considering that the interest in smart contracts has grown of late especially with the formation of The DAO, (Decentralized Autonomous Organization, based on Ethereum).

Smart contracts are still surrounded by topical issues such as how to enforce legality in the Blockchain and the digitisation of legal agreements.

Antonopoulos onboard

DAMN will be managed by a team from Third Key Solutions LLC headed by Pamela Morgan, CEO and Attorney from Empowered Law, and a well-known Bitcoin figure, Andreas M. Antonopoulos.

According to Morgan, DAMN is important in the times when digital currencies don't recognize national borders and transactions flow across the internet freely.

Morgan explains to CoinTelegrapgh:

“To see how this impacts users of digital currencies let's look at an example: Bob, an artist, lives in California. Alice, who lives in Toronto, hires Bob to paint a custom portrait and ship it to Alice's cousin in Mexico City. Based upon this scenario, which court could Bob find himself in if something goes wrong and he’d need an arbitration? If you said all three - California, Toronto, and Mexico City - you're correct. Sounds expensive and time consuming, right? It is and savvy business people have found a way around it. That’s why most commercial contracts contain an “arbitration clause” that takes disputes out of local courts and puts them into a private justice system, where parties can choose the venue, rules, and even the decision-makers before problems arise.”

Third Key Solutions will not be offering mediation or arbitration services as part of this proposal, she said, but proposing to develop open source software that will allow others to provide these services.

Pamela Morgan, CEO and Attorney from Empowered Law

Open-source project

Morgan clarified that although it is likely that the first development of these contracts will occur on Ethereum, they will ideally be suitable for use on many platforms and with different cryptocurrencies.  

Morgan says:

“For now, DAMN is just an idea. One that we’ve submitted to the world for public comment. We hope someday it will be an open-source project that provides a suite of opt-in, modular, customizable, commercial dispute resolution smart contracts to the community. The entire project is limited in scope to commercial transactions only, it does not impact criminal law. We're looking for feedback from the community because there is no point in pursuing the project if it's not strongly supported.”

She also said DAMN is not a funding proposal to the DAO as they “are still looking at funding options and have not yet made any decisions.”

She concludes:

“DAMN is a research proposal posted for discussion and comment only. It is not a funding proposal to the DAO and may never be. The DAO is just one of the potential sources of funding we have considered. A research proposal like this is not something that can be directly linked to a return-on-investment, even though the findings will benefit the entire ecosystem. Crowdfunding as a research grant allows us to focus on building open source code and open-licensed research that benefits everyone.”