ISDA Papers on DLT and Smart Contracts

ISDA has published a number of papers exploring issues of legal and regulatory uncertainty as market participants seek to apply new technologies, such as smart contracts and DLT, to derivatives trading. This page contains links to each of these papers.

This page will be updated as new papers and materials are published.


1.           Legal Guidelines for Smart Derivatives Contracts

2.           Whitepapers & Academic Papers

3.           Letters & Consultation Responses

If you have any questions or feedback on any of these papers, please contact

(most recent update: 22nd April, 2021)

A series of legal guidelines for smart derivatives contracts, intended to explain the core principles of ISDA documentation and to raise awareness of important legal terms that should be maintained when a technology solution is applied to derivatives trading.


Published Subject Link
January 2019 Introduction Link
February 2019 ISDA Master Agreement Link
September 2019 Collateral Documentation Link
February 2020 Interest Rate Derivatives Link
February 2020 Equity Derivatives Link
November 2020 Credit Derivatives Link
November 2020 Foreign Exchange (FX) Link


2. Whitepapers and Academic Papers
A series of papers exploring the broader legal and regulatory aspects of distributed ledger and smart contracts technology. These papers also propose practical and constructive measures that can be taken by the industry in order to deploy new technology in an effective and efficient manner.
Published Title Overview
2017 Smart Contracts and Distributed Ledger – A Legal Perspective Co-authored with Linklaters, this whitepaper sets out what smart contracts and DLT are, how they might be used in a derivatives context and what the relevant legal considerations.
2018 Smart Derivatives Contracts – From Concept to Construction Co-authored with King & Wood Mallesons, this whitepaper proposes a practical framework for constructing smart derivatives contracts.
2019 Smart Derivatives Contracts: The ISDA Master Agreement and the Automation of Payments and Deliveries An academic paper exploring which provides a framework for understanding how derivatives contracts are structured at different levels, in terms of both the legal documentation and the work-flow and discusses how smart contract code might processes and automate payments-related and deliveries-related events.
2020 Private International Law Aspects of Smart Derivatives Contracts utilizing Distributed Ledger Technology Co-authored with Clifford Chance, R3 and Singapore Academy of Law, this whitepaper discusses the private international law, or conflict-of-law, aspects of derivatives contracts governed by the laws of Singapore and England and Wales involving distributed ledger technology.

Subsequent papers covering French, Japanese, Irish and New York law be be found here.


3. Letters and Consultation Responses


Date Event Overview
29 July, 2020 Joint Association Letter on a Digital Future for Financial Markets A letter from ISDA and several other trade associations to the Financial Stability Board, the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision asserting our joint commitment to defining and promoting the development of a digital future for financial markets.

Access the letter here.

19 March, 2021 ISDA Response to HMT Cryptoasset and Stablecoin Consultation ISDA’s response to HM Treasury’s consultation and call for evidence on the UK’s regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins. ISDA’s response highlights opportunities for the deployment of new technology such as distributed ledger technology (DLT) and smart contracts in the derivatives market.

Access the response here.

Documents (0) for ISDA Smart Contracts