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Does a smart contract come into play if I make a simple Ethereum transaction like sending someone an amount of ETH? Or do smart contracts only apply when I wish to implement additional functionality (Dapps) on top of the Ethereum blockchain? Trying to understand if smart contracts are a thing with “native” or “basic” Ethereum transactions.

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Ethereum accounts can have code associated with them. Externally owned accounts (the kind that you, for example, have) don't have any code. Smart contracts do have code. If you send a transaction with a "to" address that has associated code, that code will execute. Otherwise, no code is executed.

So when you transfer ether to an account that doesn't have any code (isn't a smart contract), no smart contract code is executed.

  • Thank you for confirming this. I wasn't sure if somehow smart contracts were used "internally" during a standard ETH transfer. ps I recognize you from that http podcast you did. – Howiecamp Jul 21 '18 at 22:08

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