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Does Smart Contracts Work for India Inc.?

The concept of ‘smart contract’ was introduced by Nick Szabo, an American cryptographer and computer scientist in 1994. But, only after blockchain became widespread in 2008, people understood practical applications of smart contracts. 

A smart contract is a computer protocol (set of rules) that digitally facilitates, verifies, and enforces the negotiations between two parties. It uses a distributed ledger system (blockchain) to store data on public databases and perform transactions without involving third parties. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the legal aspects of smart contracts in India. Before we do, here is a brief insight into how smart contracts work.

How Are Smart Contracts Executed?

The smart contract is a blockchain-based computer code. The contract terms are written in the code itself. Smart contracts interpret and verify every transaction against the terms and automatically executes them.

The key features of smart contracts are-

  1. Once the smart contract is released, no one including the creator (owner) can modify its terms.
  2. Physical documents are not required to initiate and complete the transaction.
  3. Although users can remain anonymous, the smart contract records the transaction details.
  4. Moderators can track market activity, but cannot regulate the transactions.
  5. Smart contract transactions are irreversible.

Smart Contract Real Estate Use Case: Propy

For instance, Propy is a smart contract-based cross-continental marketplace for buying and selling properties. It allows owners and brokers to list their properties and allows sellers to search and negotiate irrespective of location. The deal is closed through online transactions and each deed is recorded in the blockchain.

  

Viability of Smart Contracts in India?

Indian jurisdiction does not allow its financial institution to undertake bitcoin transactions. Since bitcoins demonstrate peer-to-peer transactional network, the fact that it is forbidden questions the viability of “Smart Contract” in India.

However, section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 states – “All agreements are contracts if they are made by the free consent of parties competent to contract, for a lawful consideration and with a lawful object, and are not hereby expressly declared to be void.” 

Therefore, legally, two parties can sign a contract with or without third party involvement. By definition, the Indian Contract Act 1872 allows Smart Contracts.

Also, sections 5 and 10 of the Indian Information Technology Act, 2000 legally recognize digital signatures and considers a contract formed through electronic means as valid and enforceable. 

Despite Indian law allowing for digital contracts, Ponzi schemes facilitated by blockchain questions the viability of technology to safeguard people’s interests. Amit Bhardwaj’s $300 Mn cryptocurrency fraud calls for a strict ordinance for peer-to-peer contracts.

Since Smart Contracts do not involve a regulatory third party, fraud-control is a real concern. But, according to section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 digitally signed contracts are admissible in a court of law. Therefore, the government can intervene to resolve the disputes between participants. Also, sections 17, 18, and 19 of the Indian IT Act, 2000 allows supervision from national and foreign governing authorities.

Drop us a ‘hi’ at hello@mantralabsglobal.com to learn more about building industry-specific smart contracts and products.

Smart Contracts Insurance Use Case: Fizzy

AXA’s Fizzy is a smart contract-based travel insurance scheme for flight delays and cancellations. It ensures transparency as the claims displayed on the website are stored in a blockchain and no one can change the terms after purchase. 

User can buy the insurance online. When the flight is delayed or canceled, the public databases of plane status information automatically triggers the insurance holder’s compensation. The event confirmation executes and closes the claim process instantly.

Are There Business Benefits From Smart Contracts?

Almost all businesses (viz. Insurance, automobile, healthcare, supply chain, real estate, education, etc.) can benefit from smart contract development.

Transparency and data immutability are the competitive advantages that Smart Contracts bring to users on a global scale. With accurate record-keeping, companies can overcome fraud and business inconsistencies. Especially pay-per-use and micro-transactions can save paperwork and costs associated. For instance, insurers can manage micro insurances better through smart contracts than traditional models.

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Implementing a Clean Architecture with Nest.JS

4 minutes read

This article is for enthusiasts who strive to write clean, scalable, and more importantly refactorable code. It will give an idea about how Nest.JS can help us write clean code and what underlying architecture it uses.

Implementing a clean architecture with Nest.JS will require us to first comprehend what this framework is and how it works.

What is Nest.JS?

Nest or Nest.JS is a framework for building efficient, scalable Node.js applications (server-side) built with TypeScript. It uses Express or Fastify and allows a level of abstraction to enable developers to use an ample amount of modules (third-party) within their code.

Let’s dig deeper into what is this clean architecture all about. 

Well, you all might have used or at least heard of MVC architecture. MVC stands for Model, View, Controller. The idea behind this is to separate our project structure into 3 different sections.

1. Model: It will contain the Object file which maps with Relation/Documents in the DB.

2. Controller: It is the request handler and is responsible for the business logic implementation and all the data manipulation.

3. View: This part will contain files that are concerned with the displaying of the data, either HTML files or some templating engine files.

To create a model, we need some kind of ORM/ODM tool/module/library to build it with. For instance, if you directly use the module, let’s say ‘sequelize’, and then use the same to implement login in your controller and make your core business logic dependent upon the ‘sequelize’. Now, down the line, let’s say after 10 years, there is a better tool in the market that you want to use, but as soon as you replace sequelize with it, you will have to change lots of lines of code to prevent it from breaking. Also, you’ll have to test all the features once again to check if it’s deployed successfully or not which may waste valuable time and resource as well. To overcome this challenge, we can use the last principle of SOLID which is the Dependency Inversion Principle, and a technique called dependency injection to avoid such a mess.

Still confused? Let me explain in detail.

So, what Dependency Inversion Principle says in simple words is, you create your core business logic and then build dependency around it. In other words, free your core logic and business rules from any kind of dependency and modify the outer layers in such a way that they are dependent on your core logic instead of your logic dependent on this. That’s what clean architecture is. It takes out the dependency from your core business logic and builds the system around it in such a way that they seem to be dependent on it rather than it being dependent on them.

Let’s try to understand this with the below diagram.

Source: Clean Architecture Cone 

You can see that we have divided our architecture into 4 layers:

1. Entities: At its core, entities are the models(Enterprise rules) that define your enterprise rules and tell what the application is about. This layer will hardly change over time and is usually abstract and not accessible directly. For eg., every application has a ‘user’. What all fields the user should store, their types, and relations with other entities will comprise an Entity.

2. Use cases: It tells us how can we implement the enterprise rules. Let’s take the example of the user again. Now we know what data to be operated upon, the use case tells us how to operate upon this data, like the user will have a password that needs to be encrypted, the user needs to be created, and the password can be changed at any given point of time, etc.

3. Controllers/Gateways: These are channels that help us to implement the use cases using external tools and libraries using dependency injection.

4. External Tools: All the tools and libraries we use to build our logic will come under this layer eg. ORM, Emailer, Encryption, etc.

The tools we use will be depending upon how we channel them to use cases and in turn, use cases will depend upon the entities which is the core of our business. This way we have inverted the dependency from outwards to inwards. That’s what the Dependency Inversion Principal of SOLID implies.

Okay, by now, you got the gist of Nest.JS and understood how clean architecture works. Now the question arises, how these two are related?  

Let’s try to understand what are the 3 building blocks of Nest.JS and what each of them does.

  1. Modules: Nest.JS is structured in such a way that we can treat each feature as a module. For eg., anything which is linked with the User such as models, controllers, DTOs, interfaces, etc., can be separated as a module. A module has a controller and a bunch of providers which are injectible functionalities like services, orm, emailer, etc.
  1. Controllers: Controllers in Nest.JS are interfaces between the network and your logic. They are used to handle requests and return responses to the client side of the application (for example, call to the API).
  1. Providers (Services): Providers are injectable services/functionalities which we can inject into controllers and other providers to provide flexibility and extra functionality. They abstract any form of complexity and logic.

To summarize,

  • We have controllers that act as interfaces (3rd layer of clean architecture)
  • We have providers which can be injected to provide functionality (4th layer of clean architecture: DB, Devices, etc.)
  • We can also create services and repositories to define our use case (2nd Layer)
  • We can define our entities using DB providers (1st Layer)

Conclusion:

Nest.JS is a powerful Node.JS framework and the most well-known typescript available today. Now that you’ve got the lowdown on this framework, you must be wondering if we can use it to build a project structure with a clean architecture. Well, the answer is -Yes! Absolutely. How? I’ll explain in the next series of this article. 

Till then, Stay tuned!

About the Author:

Junaid Bhat is currently working as a Tech Lead in Mantra Labs. He is a tech enthusiast striving to become a better engineer every day by following industry standards and aligned towards a more structured approach to problem-solving. 


Read our latest blog: Golang-Beego Framework and its Applications

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