BigchainDB and Smart Contracts

One can store the source code of any smart contract (i.e. a computer program) in BigchainDB, but BigchainDB won’t run arbitrary smart contracts.

BigchainDB will run the subset of smart contracts expressible using Crypto-Conditions. Crypto-conditions are part of the Interledger Protocol.

The owners of an asset can impose conditions on it that must be met for the asset to be transferred to new owners. Examples of possible conditions (crypto-conditions) include:

  • The current owner must sign the transfer transaction (one which transfers ownership to new owners).
  • Three out of five current owners must sign the transfer transaction.
  • (Shannon and Kelly) or Morgan must sign the transfer transaction.

Crypto-conditions can be quite complex. They can’t include loops or recursion and therefore will always run/check in finite time.


We used the word “owners” somewhat loosely above. A more accurate word might be fulfillers, signers, controllers, or transfer-enablers. See the section titled A Note about Owners in the relevant BigchainDB Transactions Spec.