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
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
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
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