The team at IOHK, an organization supporting the development of Cardano (ADA), a blockchain-based platform for creating decentralized applications (dApps), have introduced Marlowe, which serves as a new programming language for writing financial contracts.
As noted in a blog post published on the IOHK website, Marlowe offers certain benefits because it‘s a domain-specific language (DSL).
As explained in the blog:
“As a DSL, [Marlowe] describes only financial contracts, rather than smart contracts in general. Because of this, it differs from general-purpose blockchain languages like Solidity and Bitcoin Script. Marlowe is industry-scale.”
The Cardano and IOHK team claim they’ve written or implemented Marlowe contracts based on examples from well-known and established financial smart contracts, the Algorithmic Contract Types Unified Standards (Actus) system. At present, these types of examples may be viewed or accessed via the Marlowe Playground, which is a web browser-based environment that allows people to “create, edit, simulate, and analyze Marlowe contracts, without having to install or pay for anything.”
The IOHK team explains that Marlowe is a platform developed for the emerging decentralized finance (DeFi) sector. It can support direct, peer-to-peer lending, contracts for difference (CFD), and various other instruments. Financial institutions or service providers may use it to deploy custom instruments for their customers and business clients.
The Cardano and IOHK team further noted that, as part of the Goguen rollout, they’ll be finalizing the development of Marlowe on the Cardano blockchain network, allowing users and organizations to have the option to run DeFi related contracts they have programmed themselves or downloaded from an existing contract repository. This should allow them to transfer digital assets according to the terms specified in the contracts.
As confirmed in the blog post:
“Marlowe will run first of all on the Cardano blockchain, but it is not tied to Cardano, and could run on other blockchains in the future.”
The IOHK team also mentioned that smart contracts running on the Cardano blockchain can access external data, which may include key information like the exchange rate between ADA and Bitcoin (BTC), through oracles.
“Over the next few months we will continue revising and improving the user experience provided by the Playground, and continue implementing examples from the Actus project. At the same time, we will finalize the implementation of Marlowe on Cardano, so that Marlowe contracts will run on the blockchain itself.”
There are two main Marlowe-based challenges that will be running this month (October 2020)
The IOHK team noted that there’s a $10,000 digital currency fund to address the United Nations’ global development goals, and also a $5,000-prize Actus event at the Wyoming Hackathon.