Prizes, Permissions and Ecosystem Applications
This year’s Nobel prize for economics went to contract theorists Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström for their examinations of elements and incentives in contractual relationships.
The first line of the Nobel committee’s summary gives apt description of why data-driven ecosystem applications with distributed ledger tooling are fundamentally legal technology: “Contracts help us to be cooperative and trusting when we may otherwise be disobliging and distrusting.” For legal engineers, blockchains and smart contracts are new tools in the evolution of ecosystem-level legal and business process solutions meant to create trust, reliability and predictability in future events.
The Nobel prize winning work echoes in “wet” law what we at Monax have been saying all along in a distributed ledger context: permissions themselves are things of value. Blockchains and smart contracts give the legal engineer new tools to build myriad ecosystem applications. In order for users to arrange their data-driven affairs in ways that are consistent with their needs, priorities and environments, they must be able to control their relationships via permission, i.e., the right to perform an act.
Enter the marmot.
As legal engineers on a mission to build interoperable, ecosystem software, Monax developers in 2014 saw what was required to iterate successful commercial, industrial and enterprise relationships with blockchain technology: control via permissions. Monax’s permissioned chain-making platform provides ecosystem-level tools for developing control of one’s business process using blockchains, smart contracts and permissions.
Consistent with Hart and Holmström’s theories, permissioned blockchains create a fundamental element of contract value, independent of currency or stock-like tokens. Monax’s legal engineers saw this early and began iterating a platform that would support any user configuring a permissioned blockchain and creating legally significant relationships with it. Monax’s libraries further articulate the merged dependencies of law and code to create the building blocks of data-driven commercial ecosystems.