Abstract: Novel legal problems presented by the recent emergence of new payment systems have prompted some to call for revision of article 4 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Others suggest that private contract can deal with the issues raised by most new commercial transactions. In this Article, Professor Scott examines the emergence of the first banking code in order to explain why private contract did not develop to govern payment transactions. He suggests that commercial statutes have been not as much embodiments of the law merchant as devices for allocating risk among transactors. Drawing on historical analysis, Scott identifies a number of factors present in the new payment systems which may lead to the adoption of new risk-fixing commercial legislation.