Can one create some "reversal clauses" in smart contracts that alleviate the immutability of Blockch

Hello everyone!

My question is the following:

Can one create some "reversal clauses" in smart contracts that alleviate the immutability of Blockchain?


I read recently an article stating that blockchain was immutable (I agree) and that it was impossible to foresee any clause, or I would say: "legal juridiction clawback", that could, for instance in case where a legal issue occurs, enable a judge to require the return of the asset to the initial owner.

Further, is there a way to design some quarantaine measures in case of a legal issue?

My question relates notably to the "self-destruct" function, a general private key ("to rule them all"), and all the others I do not have knowledge of!

Thanks in advance!

Note: I am a non-technical


  • o0ragman0oo0ragman0o Member, Moderator Posts: 1,291 mod
    @Glex What is 'immutable' is what has been committed to the blockchain itself. Ethereum is not just a blockchain but also a collective database refered to as it's 'State' which is 'mutable'. You can think of each smart contract having it's own bit of that database which only it can control. It's up to the smart contract to add modify, delete or destroy that data and up to the author to do it in a responsible manner. So even though a smart contract might allow 'self-destruct' that only deletes data from the State and not the bytecode or any transactions it performed on the blockchain.
  • GlexGlex Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for your answer. I understood it.

    But my question is rather to know whether it is possible to build a smart contract that says two things:

    1) Mr.X send 100 ETH (asset) to Mrs. Y on the 1st of July 2016. ==> Initial contract, no problem

    2) If Mr.Z (third party) request it in the 1 year after transaction occurred, the 100 ETH (asset) may be returned to Mr.X in full or in part. ==> Clawback clause or reverse transaction, ?

    Thanks a lot!
  • o0ragman0oo0ragman0o Member, Moderator Posts: 1,291 mod
    @glex The whole point of blockchain is so you can't rewrite history. If the transaction was just normal naive transaction and not part of some specifically written '12 month Escrow' like smart contract then there's nothing that could be done apart from forcing, by off chain methods (courts etc) Mrs Y to pay it back.
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