Blockchain Marriage


If the blockchain really is forever, then etching marriage contracts into its fabric is a cheap and innovative way to access the nascent ecosystem of cryptographic technologies.

State-issued marriage licenses were rare in the United States until the late 19th century, when marriage became a new cultural battleground.

In 1996, Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act which defined marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court overturned the restriction of same-sex marriages in the United States by declaring that prohibition violated the equal clause protection.

As individuals challenge the legal and ethical tyrannies of state governance, the question arises: what right does a government inherently possess to regulate the legality of a voluntary contract based on love? In Washoe County, Nevada the Recorder’s Office has been working with the blockchain startup Titan Seal to implement marriage certificates on the Ethereum blockchain.

Marriage Story of Nicole and Zhu

In July of this year, Nicole Zhu and Daniel Onggunhao used the decentralized application Forevermore to code a virtual marriage certificate on the Ethereum blockchain.

Marriage isn’t the only example of coding love onto the blockchain.

In every blockchain transaction there is also an option to include text which has led to a growing number of love letters being etched into the memory of the blockchain.

In the world of blockchain, new oracles are needed to act as arbiters that can validate or absolve smart contracts based on however their value parameters were set.

Ethereum, and its founder Vitalik Buterin, took the simple scope of smart contracts and built a Turing-complete system that allows for any user to create a more complex contract than what could be produced on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Complex smart contracts of the sort that could judge and execute a marriage contract based on the social and economic vows embedded within are difficult to write and even more difficult to secure and enforce.

blockchain contract for marriage

Today, we leave those critiques up to courts, but what if smart contracts and the blockchain could perform a similar function based on the power of community instead of legal or religious authorities? Let’s imagine Mary and Jill utilize a blockchain contract for marriage.

If Mary cheats on Jill or if Jill doesn’t meet key criteria established in the marriage contract, a vote could be called for and the couple’s peers would have the ability to use their tokens to vote on voiding or amending the contract.

Fashion icon and former tennis star Björn Borg saw this very opportunity when his company recently introduced “Marriage Unlocked,” a digital notary that allows same-sex couples the opportunity to get married on the blockchain.

Costs of blockchain marriage

In the promotional video for Marriage Unblocked, one woman speaks of how the State used marriage to turn her and others into “second-class citizens.” Another notable blockchain marriage was between Russian couple Vasily Lifanovsky and Alla Tkachenko, who were the first to wed on the blockchain in their home country.

Their marriage was performed on the Ethereum blockchain and included a prenuptial agreement that stipulated, among other things, a division of chores, time spent dating per week, and frequency of shopping.

With the estimated cost of a modern marriage at a staggering $25,000, many couples also see an economic advantage in coding their marriage certificate on the blockchain.

A blockchain marriage can expedite the cost and time associated with both of these and provide a simple framework for updating the contract as each party sees fit over time.

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