SAFE Contracts - Escrow without third party?


Can anyone think of a way to do escrow without a third party? Could we accomplish this with a distributed smart network? I’m thinking of a safe/smart contact that would somehow know when terms are fulfilled and then release funds. In my head it all seems kind of scifi-ish and I’m just brainstorming.

The escrow is setup that the buyer puts the safecoins in an escrow wallet. The seller sends the product that includes some kind of (internet of things) device to the buyer. The network monitors tracking of the item. The buyer must unlock the product and when it happens the escrow is released to the seller. If the buyer does not unlock the product the funds can be transferred back eventually and the product will not work again… Not sure about that last part but anyway, what do you all think? Possible, helpful, crazy?


Sounds like the concept of smart contracts. I think the hard part of smart contracts is actually shipping physical goods. Although one could probably expand upon your idea there. Put the item to be shipped in a box (or some other container). Lock the box with a lock that is only unlocked with a code that is released upon payment. Ship the box to it’s destination. Buyer pays and unlocks the box and gets the product. Actually you could improve this by basically having the lock be defaulted blank and then you download an encryption key and some info (buyer and seller usernames and whatever else you might want to put in, shipping addresses maybe?) into the lock itself. Basically you personalize it to every deal, not only giving it a unique encryption key but also a unique relationship between buyer and seller. Again depending on privacy and all that how much info you want to put in is debatable. But my point is blank lock becomes personal unique lock connected with specific escrow deal rather than just a code in a database.


I don’t see it as desirable to eliminate the third party entirely. If it is a multi signature transaction, most times the buyer and seller will both sign off and be done. The third party would only come in if there’s a problem.

Even with an internet of things device with an item, that wouldn’t guarantee the item was the one requested, that it arrived in good order, that it arrived timely, etc.


I didn’t realize there was something known as smart contracts. Nothing new under the sun is there…

Unless the product itself was an “internet of things” device capable of diagnosing/initiating itself. Some type of AI device… Again very scifi-ish dreaming here. This would/could only work for certain types of products.

Yes, exactly what I was thinking…


The escrow model defined in the WhitePaper (Appendix Tech Part Chapter 6 and 8) using the signature (similar to multip-sig) concept instead of wallet.
The fund won’t be put into third-party’s wallet, third party only signs the transaction/coin data to block/release/refund the fund.

Further to that, it is allowed to have multiple third parties (escrows), and majority rules applys.
Some kind of de-centralized consensus can be achieved if the app has the logical to pick up multiple escrows when creating the transaction.


Thanks for pointing this out. Could you or someone link to the actual white paper? I’ve read through some of the white papers that @David posted on the pinned post. I’ll look through those and see if I can find the the correct loc…

@David can we work together to maybe setup a wiki post that could be a sort of topical/alphabetical index to make things super easy to find?



Sure. Just start a topic and I’ll wiki it for you. When we feel that it’s good enough I can sticky it.