The Accord Project is an ecosystem to build open source tools for smart legal contracts. Today it announced that it is now a Linux Foundation project. Accord originally started as a standards body. It boasts members from many of the world’s leading law firms as well as high profile players in the blockchain space such as IBM, R3 and the Trusted IOT Alliance.
At first, it was a little surprising that Accord joined the Linux Foundation and not the Foundation’s blockchain offshoot, Hyperledger. But one of Accord’s aims is to be technology neutral. If it became a Hyperledger project, it might be perceived as favoring Hyperledger technologies. That’s our guess, but we’ve requested confirmation.
Smart legal contracts are template contracts with aspects that are automated. So one part is the text you would typically expect to see in a contract. Some elements, such as the parties to the agreement, and figures might be left to fill in the blanks by the blockchain system. This is the “data”. Additionally, there will be some logic, such as when the buyer accepts the work, then payment is automatically scheduled.
The organization says a key purpose is to provide “a vendor-neutral “.doc” format for smart legal agreements.” Ergo is the specialist language developed by Accord for writing smart legal contracts.
“Our goals for the Accord Project are to promote the use of open legal technology, attract a self-sustaining base of contributors, supported by a rigorous governance structure,” said Dan Selman, co-director of the Accord Project. “Linux Foundation has been an excellent steward to scores of open source projects, large and small, over many years.”
Accord was founded by Clause, the blockchain legal contract company. The Agreements Network from Monax is also a member. ConsenSys’ OpenLaw is the third high profile blockchain legal contracting startup, but it’s not a participant.