Smart contracts are simply programs stored on a blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met. They typically are used to automate the execution of an agreement so that all participants can be immediately certain of the outcome, without any intermediary’s involvement or time loss. They can also automate a workflow, triggering the next action when conditions are met.
Once a condition is met, the contract is executed immediately. Because smart contracts are digital and automated, there’s no paperwork to process and no time spent reconciling errors that often result from manually filling in documents.
Because there’s no third party involved, and because encrypted records of transactions are shared across participants, there’s no need to question whether information has been altered for personal benefit.
Security and uniformity of smart contract execution is ensured by the decentralized nature and consensus algorithms of the blockchain network. No party to a smart contract is able to make changes to the smart contract once it is placed on the blockchain network.
Smart contracts remove the need for intermediaries to handle transactions and, by extension, their associated time delays and fees.