Internet of Agreements: A British fintech start-up is developing blockchain-powered software that is intended to revolutionise the way that small and medium-sized firms conduct legal matters.
Founded by technology entrepreneur Simon Krystman, the Smart Startup Company has launched a new contracts platform, SMRT (Smart Startup Token), powered by blockchain.
Few small businesses have the resources or understanding of blockchain technology to make use of it, said the company. As a result, it has designed SMRT to be a “vending machine for legal documents” that are then secured in the blockchain.
The solution will eventually be incorporated into a “frictionless trade platform” for startups and SMEs, said the firm. With it, companies will be able to create important legal documents quickly and store them securely.
Users can choose from a wide range of templates covering different contractual areas, including shareholder, intellectual property, finance, and trading agreements.
Smart Startup said it chose to create a blockchain-based platform because the technology makes it “cheaper and easier” to handle sensitive business assets.
Krystman explained that blockchain software makes legal arrangements more transparent and more secure. “Established trading marketplaces could benefit enormously from our smart contracts, as buyers and sellers will have automatically enforced agreements to transfer money for goods and services,” he said.
“They also open the way for many new decentralised marketplaces, where the smart contracts are the enforcements of trade. Small businesses would be able to buy bundles of our smart contract templates to facilitate their sell/buy trades.”
He added that the platform will result in the “marriage of legal agreements with blockchain software code, supported by data science and AI”.
The company has published a white paper on the programme.
An expert team
The company is run by a team of business, finance, and legal experts, who also have expertise in areas such as AI, cryptocurrencies, entrepreneurship, business funding, intellectual property, government, and regulation, said the company.
The team is supported by a number of advisors who work across industry, government, and academia, and will be making more hires in the near future. Roles will include software developers, lawyers, and finance advisors.
Dr. Syed Kamall, a Conservative member of the European Parliament, serves as one of the company’s advisors. He said that blockchain solutions can make business and legal processes more trustworthy.
“The technology offers some very exciting opportunities, but as legislators internationally, we must also make sure that consumers have trust in it. Blockchain and smart contracts will be a game changer for startups,” he said.
Twelve Ronnies, an organisation that matches entrepreneurs with investors, is one of the the solution’s first adopters.
Jake Shaw, founder of the company, said: “SMRT is the gateway to the ‘Internet of Agreements’. In the same way that the internet and social media allowed anyone to start up a business from their kitchen table, SMRT will transform the ability of small companies to transact and trade globally.”
Internet of Business says
This year has seen many of the claims made for blockchain technologies subjected to moderation and caution by a range of blockchain experts. Some have said that distributed ledger systems are inappropriate for many enterprise tasks – and even that they need to evolve past the concept of a block and a chain to be be more widely useful in the long term.
However, this would appear to be one of the purest and best-considered use cases, as a means of logging and authenticating legal documents, and enforcing the associated terms: a process that is nowhere near as time-critical as, say, retail banking transactions. We wish this innovative British startup luck.
Here are some of our recent reports that explore both the pros and the cons of blockchain systems.