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I am new to Ethereum and trying to understand what real-world use-cases are there for smart contracts (outside the world of cryptocurrencies).

As an example, suppose a flight company wants to sell a flight ticket with a guaranee that, if the flight is late by more than 3 hours, the ticket will be fully refunded. Or, suppose a person rents his home through AirBNB, with a guarantee that, if the buyer cancels at least a week before check-in, he can get 50% of his money back. Can such contracts be encoded in Ethereum? Apparently it seems they cannot, since someone has to tell Ethereum that the flight is canceled, or that the rent is canceled. Am I missing something?

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In any system that requires information, something or someone should provide the information.

The contracts that you describe could very easily be implemented on ethereum. The information can be provided automatically using services like Oraclize, ETH-Tempus, etc. These allow contracts to access information from different sources (i.e, Internet)

Hope this helps

  • Oraclize seems like an interesting solution to my question. I have to look into it. – Erel Segal-Halevi Jun 8 '18 at 12:21

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