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Is there a way for smart contracts to directly execute a line of code after a set amount of time instead of locking the funds and having the user withdrawal from this escrow contract?

Say I want to delay the transfer of an ERC20 by 1 day, could I do this without an escrow?

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  • crontabs are not supported in Ethereum. You have to runn your job periodically from the outside. Neither there is any equivalent of javascript's setTimeout()
    – Nulik
    Jul 21 at 7:41
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No, a smart contract cannot execute a function by itself. Someone has to send a transaction that will trigger the particular function that you want to be triggered.

However, it is possible to make a function executable by a transaction only after a certain amount of time has passed or an event has happened. It is also possible to subscribe to services that will send the transaction for you based on a schedule. See my other answer here.

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