A Ricardian contract is a document which is legible to both a court of law and to a software application. Its purpose is to provide digital trading systems of various kinds the solidity of legally binding claims on property, so that you and your partners can concentrate on the business opportunity.
It was invented to do one thing above all others: to allow you and your partners to communicate in digital trade honestly, fairly, completely.
Openness not rules - nobody forces you to write the right. In an open, fair market where everyone has their say, and people stick around for a while, reputation and words matter. As we’ve seen from the altCoins, the absence of reliable claims worked briefly for some, but ultimately against the community; confusion led to scams and now they’re all tarred with the same brush.
In a Ricardian world, everyone claims their comparative advantage. One can say, “My dollar reserves are held there in my Singapore bank” while another says “Your gold is held *securely* here in London!” You can take those open claims, prove them, each, then compare them, all. Honesty, integrity, credibility starts with a person making a claim, your decision starts with your review of their claims.
The Ricardian Contract gives you and your trading partners the option to fairly make and exchange your claims.
It's our work in progress to get this idea of digital secure contracts into the hands of users, and although everything about Ricardian Contracts is open and published, I’d love to share my experiences with you. Contact me at iang at this domain to talk about how I can help you reach your users.
" The Ricardian Contract" as presented to IEEE's Workshop on Electronic Contracting.