is a nice TED video that explains what is the overall impact of
blockchain technology on the global society. The recap of the video is
"Less trust to institutions and more trust to strangers." The talk
showcases several corporate ethics violations as a cause to trust
institutions less. And yes, cheating and lying by big corporations for
their own profit is a legit cause to trust institutions less. However this
is only a surface level of the problem. Here we will go for a deeper
look into the problem of institutional trust, and we will go with the
problems about institutions that manage trust itself. Spoiler alert: they
had one job and they failed at it miserably.
Ideas can make people cooperate on large-scale for some time. Our
tribal legacy like traditions and family bonds can make people
cooperate for a long time but they are neither scalable nor flexible.
Market economy is the only known thing that can make people
cooperate on a large-scale for long periods of time.
To start doing commerce you need to have the product and the
market for it. The other thing you need to do commerce is some level
of trust across your operations area. One component of trust is safety.
You need to have confidence that chances of being robbed are
acceptable and predictable. This is the law enforcement part of trust.
But on top of that
you also need to know that your subcontractors will do their part of the
deal. Or won't. But then they will be penalized for it. And the penalize
part is where most middlemen of trust come into play.
What usually happens when you violate the contract? There could be
some sanctions foreseen by the contract. Or you can impose them by
mutual agreement. Let's suppose you can't reach that one.
Next, there are some sanctions foreseen by court intervention. You
can sue your partners for agreement violations. This is where trust
middlemen come into play. The court will gather evidence, engage
experts to verify them, listen to cases of lawyers from both sides, and
after examining all the data it will make an enforceable decision.
So far so good. But what is the price to pay for this system to be a
thing? In a perfect world there are taxes. In a real world any
competitive business also needs to factor in growing expenses for
legal department arms race. Also this system is abused by patent
trolls. Also for many of the second world countries the court system is
corrupted. Trust me, life is pretty dire when you live in a state where
having more money then you automatically grants a "win any court
against you" button.
See the pattern? Looks like that humans are… only humans after all.
Therefore systems that consist of humans are fault prone. There is
event this process called "automation" that is aimed to reduce human
involvement in various systems. If only we could automate this trust
Oh wait… Probably we can. At least we can start with automating fact
checking. Today you can simply upload any agreement into the
distributed platform. And it will be there. Uneditable. Forever. Then we
can add signatures and sign it by unique signatures tied to global KYC
system to verify that this is what people actually agreed upon. And it
will be there in the chain. Signed and sealed and accessible from
But wait, distributed platform is much more than globally accessible
uneditable paper. For example you can just paste some scripts into
your agreement that will specify markings on the supplied goods and
then track actual movement of those goods through supply chain
automatically deducting fines for time violations. Another production
related example could be integrating product tracking system with
electronic warranty agreements where the end user can buy extended
license directly from the manufacturer and manufacturer can
automatically track all the service statistics in real time. Also these
smart agreements are directly integrable with your company
cryptocurrency wallets (or bank API, if they provide those).
The bonus thing is that distributed ledger does not limit you to use
text-only for your agreement. You can attach pictures, video, audio,
webpages and other files.
The good thing is this sci-fi looking distributed platform already exists
and you can actually use it to store any important evidence. While
courts do not have any laws that directly recognise encrypted
distributed database entries as evidence, they do have laws that
involve technical expertise to examine any tech-dependent evidence.
Silent Notary as a platform is going through a major upgrade on the
backend which will allow it to work faster and with lower prices in the
nearest future. The platform is already integrated with world most
popular messenger apps. Also Silent Notary supports most
widespread standards for electronic signatures. Legal notary signed
documents are already a reality.
The next stage of the Silent Notary platform development will be
advanced combat drone research program to automatically handle the
enforcement part. Just kidding, it's not needed right now. The next
step for the Silent Notary platform would be getting more legal
recognition as a reliable source of fact-checking data and emergence
of a new class of code lawyers. One small step for the Silent Notary
platform and one huge leap for the legal industry.