Blockchain is just a technology to make things more efficient, explains Sagewise co-founder and CEO, Amy Wan.
Editor's Note: In this series The Way We Work, Entrepreneur Lydia Belanger, associate editor, examines how people promote productivity, concentration, collaboration, creativity and culture in the workplace.
Amy Wan began her law career in Washington, DC, where she quickly realized that working for the federal government fulfilled her stereotype of being "slow and bureaucratic". So he decided to take online courses to learn how to code.
An encoding task was to create a website for bitcoin exchange. This occurred in 2012, in the nascent days of cryptocurrency, before what Wan calls "Crypto Winter", when interest in blockchain-based technology weaned for a few years. Shortly before that bitcoin crisis, Wan quit his job, moved to Los Angeles and joined a "meeting of legal hackers".
Crypto Winter has temporarily diverted his career path to crowdfunding and securities security, until space activity has resumed and there were numerous regulatory and security holes to be filled.
"If you were analogous to the years" 90, there was a time when people were afraid of buying things online, because you did not know if you would get that widget you paid $ 40 for ", he said Wan. He saw an opportunity to build a company that would build solutions to tackle the "transactional confidence problem" that plagues the blockchain.
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He co-founded his company, Sagewise, to this end. This week, the company is launching a product called Blokusign, a blockchain-based integrated digital signature software designed to minimize and resolve disputes.
In many lines of work, the signing of contracts is an important moment of crisis. While there are already many electronic signature apps (such as Docusign or HelloSign), Blokusign has an additional level of decentralized authentication. If someone tampers with a contract (say, adds a 0 to a monetary amount), Master Blokusign will reveal what the original is.
Wan spoke with Entrepreneur on the potential of the blockchain as an invisible tool in the workplace.
This interview has been modified by length and clarity .
It seems that, in this era of the blockchain, contracts are one of the most logical use cases. It's crazy that we keep doing things like sign receipts when we buy something.
Before starting this company, I was working on a fintech startup. We had to make sure that the notary always arrived to physically document the documents. A notary in person is no better than another type of authentication method.
Now, with all of our technology around Adobe and all that sort of stuff, it's so easy to take a document and do it as a doctor. I am a former lawyer, and I can not tell you how many times I have come across a case where the loan documents have been tried, or the payment documents have been certified.
What does Blokusign look like for the user?
What we imagine one day is that, if there are two parts that have competing versions of the documents, all you have to do is upload the document you are claiming is the authentic one on a website with a friendly user interface and it will give you a red check or a green check. The green check says, yes, this is the authentic version, the hash match or, no, it's not . And it does so by reading the metadata of the document. Cut out the intermediary and allow the parties themselves to go and authenticate the documents.
What does this process of contestation imply now?
Today, if you go to sign e-sign something, you do not have authentication with blockchain, so you'll end up having two parts with different documents. First they must issue statements to the court, we believe it is the authentic one, and therefore may have to produce evidence. And if that's not good, then you should probably go to trial [the e-signature company.] [With Blokusign] you're not dependent on third parties who will not cooperate or maybe one day I'm not in business anymore or I'm very slow to respond.
To what extent do you expect Blokusign to increase efficiency for companies?
If you can demonstrate efficiently and simply which document is authentic, it is not so much that you are reducing costs. You are actually discouraging the bad behavior of people who go and doctorate documents. And then, secondly, cases never come so far. If you are able to promote a better culture of authenticity in real estate, in wills and trusts, in that sort of thing, you will decrease the workload in court on these types of problems, because people will be less inclined if it is easy  What are the biggest problems with companies that are experimenting with the blockchain technology you've seen?
I have very strong opinions on this. Often, many of these things are alone, we took an existing business and we slapped it on blockchain and it's a very bad idea. Blockchain technology makes things very complex and can bring a lot of security vulnerabilities into a company, as well as high costs. To use technology effectively, you must understand its advantages but also its limitations. Many companies use blockchain technology when normal database technology would suffice.
I also think there is a huge problem of ease of use. Nobody goes around saying "I'm using PCP IP". You use the internet and do not think about it. But right now in the blockchain space, it's like, "Oh, I'm using blockchain." If you are using blockchain, you should never know that you are using blockchain. This is one thing that prevents the mass adoption of the blockchain.
I do not think you should understand blockchain technology. You should be able to use it. If my mother can not understand, then I do not think she can ever take off. We are not planning here for the crazy developers of the world, because then it is a niche technology. We need to design the other 98% of the population that does not know how to code and is not technologically experienced
Have you decided to start Blokusign as a Gmail plug-in to help you with adoption?  As a lawyer, I used a lot of e-signature technology. But it's not easy yet, and I'll get angry again because someone will send me an email, so I have to download and sign it and upload it again or attach it to an email: it's a process. Either you have to download, print it, sign it, scan it, upload it. Reorder my desktop and I end up with all these files in my download folder that I will not watch anymore.
You should never have to download a document. You should be able to do that preview thing and sign something with a click. Although Gmail is not accessible anywhere, it takes us one step closer, how can we make the e-signature as intuitive and simple as possible?
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Beyond Blokusign, what is Sagewise's broader and longer-term vision?
Blockchain technology and intelligent contract technology offer a unique opportunity to change the paradigm of how things work today. With these technologies, we could basically create alternative legal systems – those in which, if I have a dispute, I do not have to spend a lot of time and money, and go hire a lawyer, and sit in court for two years. Most people do not have access to justice because you basically need to be a large company or a wealthy individual to effectively benefit from a legal system.
Our world has changed so much in the last two decades. We not only have blockchain technology that allows decentralization, we have social media, we have the rise of stateless organizations. You are starting to see the geophysical nation-state become a little less relevant. But our legal infrastructure has not reached and does not reflect how the global economy works today. If we can have more efficient and effective dispute resolution for these transactions in the blockchain ecosystem, then it will provide greater access to justice for most people.