What is a Smart Contract?
The term smart contract has been used over the years to describe a wide variety of different things. In the 1990s, cryptographer Nick Szabo coined the term and defined it as “a set of promises, specified in digital form, including protocols within which the parties perform on the other promises.”
Since then, the concept of smart contracts has evolved, especially after the introduction of decentralized blockchain platforms. In the context of Ethereum, the term is actually a bit of a misnomer, but the term has stuck. Ethereum network, uses the term “smart contracts” to refer to immutable computer programs as part of the Ethereum network protocol.
Basically a “smart contract” is simply a piece of code that is running inside Ethereum Blockchain Network.
Smart contracts have gained widespread practical use with the advent and development of the Ethereum Blockchain Network. In 2013, its future founder Vitalik Buterin came to the conclusion that Bitcoin is not suitable as a basic protocol, tool for smart contracts, since it was not originally designed for this task. Subsequently, Buterin decided to create from scratch the most suitable protocol for smart contracts.
What is ERC and it’s standards?
Standards — it’s like widgets with functions and interface that you can choose. But inside blockchain it’s making function of protocol. Basically “standard” is cryptographic protocol.
A Token — it’s a coin created on Ethereum Blockchain Network.
ERC, ERC 20, ERC 137, ERC 681, ERC 777 and etc — it’s like versions of updates for smartphones. But in blockchain it’s versions of standards. Where ERC — is category (stands for Ethereum Request for Comment) and 20(identifier) — version, options of tools. Basically “erc-20” is interface for cryptographic protocol.
Bitcoin Blockchain Network and Ethereum Blockchain Network — it’s like software, for example Android and IOS, but only for cryptocurrency.