The Agreements Network: how does it work?

Casey speaks with some more depth about how the two major types of users the Agreements Network envisions will use the blockchain-based platform to make their lives better.

In my previous posts I have spoken about why Monax decided to pivot away from being a horizontal enterprise software provider, and also I spoke about what the Agreements Network is.

In this post I’d like to speak with some more depth about how the two major types of users we envision can use the blockchain-based platform to make their lives better.

The Agreements Network is:

a decentralized contract management solution that uses smart contract technology to bring together producers and consumers of legal products

This means, at a fundamental level, that the blockchain platform – and the smart contracts that operate it – are sitting across multiple participants within the ecosystem. While the platform does much more than simply provide a market place for forms, it does offer a connection point between traditional marketplace actors: namely buyers and sellers. The outcome of the bargaining relationship will operate within the context of the Network itself in terms of an Active Agreement. In the below sections, I provide a high level overview of how each of these two groups that are vital to the evolution of the Agreements Network ecosystem can use the platform.

The Agreements Network for Business Leaders

They say that in startup land one should focus on solving real problems you actually face. And at Monax, we’ve taken that to heart in our work on the Agreements Network. Since I left the practice of law, I’ve been running a small business. A startup. This startup in fact. During this time I have faced innumerable circumstances where we could have moved faster and made more money if we had had something like the Agreements Network. Alas, it didn’t exist: so we had to create it!

Imagine a system where your sales folks could consume deal agreements that have been crafted by legal and technology experts, and finally vetted by someone you trust. Then imagine, that when your sales team concludes those agreements – entirely electronically – they can instantly trigger your accounting system to fire off the initial invoice. Without your sales team member having to call an accounts payable person (or, in startup land sending a slack message to the CFO). Then the agreements can initiate a new project within your project management system. Without your sales team member having to send a slack message to a project manager. And when the project is completed, the project management system can inform the agreement of the completion – in turn triggering the accounting system to fire off the end of project invoice. With a system like that, connecting your high value business systems via rock-solid blockchain-held evidence how much more money can you make (all while keeping your risk low!)?

The reason this is possible with blockchain based systems is that not only to they provide collaborative notarization that a certain party said an event occured, but they also provide an API that is not conceived by – nor operated – by a for profit company who can unilaterally decide to change it or turn it off. Rather, the API is provided by a solid blockchain based ecosystem which cannot be unilaterally changed.

Together these ideas allow for a huge swathe of amazingly exciting possibilities. The combination of risk reducing, bite-size evidence collected in a tamper-proof log with business process automation baked in via an unchangeable API provides business leaders with the legal infrastructure they need to do more deals, hire more people, and waste less time finding their paperwork.

The Agreements Network for Lawyers

As I noted above, before I ran this startup I was a practicing attorney. More precisely I was running my own law firm in a small jurisdiction in the Horn of Africa doing a range of small business and governance work. During that time, I was very interested in how I could make my own practice more efficient by using technology. During this time it became clear that if I was every going to scale my revenue, I had to leverage technology to do that. And yet, existing technologies at the time could only take me so far. At some point I would end up having to competing with the various forms libraries that exist on the internet. I needed more. I needed a framework on which I could build relevant legal products for today’s business – as well as tomorrow’s.

Imagine, if you will, a platform on which you as a lawyer can securely upload your legal contract templates, formally model the legally relevant business processes which using consumers of your product must follow, set the price for that product, and then sell it to anyone in the world with an internet connection. That’s what the Agreements Network does for legal folks.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be walking through many more details about the platform and how both legal products consumers and legal products producers can both make more money and reduce the friction of modern, networked commerce. Stay tuned for those posts, and in the meantime, please dig deeper into the possibilities that the Agreements Network allows.

Photo by John Carlisle on Unsplash

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