The latest analysis by research firm Gartner has painted a mixed picture of the benefits that blockchain-based smart contracts can offer enterprises.

While the study, published Jan. 30, concluded that smart contracts would be overall net positive for business, Gartner warned that the terms and conditions set for smart contracts could limit the availability of data for enterprises:

“This variable could leave participants in a worse position than if they did not participate in the blockchain smart contract process. As such, an organization’s overall data asset availability would decrease by 30 percent by 2023.”

Nonetheless, an enterprise can expect to see the quality of its data increase by 50% by 2023 if it adopts blockchain smart contracts, Gartner senior research director Lydia Clougherty Jones said.

Smart contracts are a net positive

Even though the availability of certain data assets might become more limited, Gartner said blockchain smart contract adoption will have profound and beneficial implications for decision making in enterprises. It will also bolster ROI (return on investment) on data and analytics.

Automated, continual verification would ensure that data quality is more reliable and trustworthy, so that decision making can be more transparent, efficient and granular, the study claimed.

Senior research director Clougherty Jones said that their usage would reduce the costs associated with hiring third-party intermediaries — whether they be bankers, escrow agents, and lawyers. In their stead, “code is law” provides a near certainty of trusted exchange:

“Once deployed, blockchain smart contracts are immutable and irrevocable through nonmodifiable code, which enforces a binding commitment to do or not do something in the future.”

The analysts at Gartner advise piloting smart contracts to automate basic business processes, such as non-sensitive data distributions or basic contract information for management purposes.

If successful, these pilots can then be expanded to automate multi-party contracts with external partners within a defined ecosystem, across areas such as banking, finance, real estate, insurance and utilities.

Adoption of the technology at scale is reportedly faster in Asian Pacific countries such as Singapore and Australia, yet business worldwide would do well to take a more proactive stance, the report concludes.

A new smart contract driven privacy network on Ethereum

On Feb. 1, the Aztec privacy network officially launched on the Ethereum blockchain. By way of Zcash-based technology — which hinges on the use of Aztec’s Cryptography Engine smart contract — its goal is to deliver three key privacy cornerstones on the network. The last of these, Aztec CEO Thomas Walton-Pocock told Cointelegraph, “will eventually allow private smart contracts to execute with just one trusted setup.”