No Need for Notaries When You Have the Bitcoin Blockchain; Interview with Stampery’s Co-Founders

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Image credit: Signing contract, Shutterstock.com.

Stampery wants to send notaries on vacation – forever. By leveraging the blockchain to certify all documents, this young startup is determined to cut off all trusted third parties, “which are basically both a cost and a security hole,” claims Daniele Levi, Stampery’s co-founder and CEO.

Founded in April 2015, this Spanish startup enables users to certify the existence, integrity and ownership of any file or communication using the bitcoin blockchain.

One of the company’s main concerns is simplicity. “Usually people see Bitcoin and blockchain as difficult and abstract concepts,” the company writes in a blog post. “Our aim has always been to bring our users the power of this world-changing technology without them even noticing.”

Stampery’s co-founder and CTO Luis Iván, described this as building blockchain products that “even my grandma could use,” he told CoinJournal.

And Stampery’s platform is indeed super easy to use. Each user is given a unique email address that can be added into BCC to certify all emails.

Another option is to link your DropBox account so you just need to drag and drop any file to your Stampery folder in your Dropbox to stamp it. And that’s pretty much it.

One month after Techcrunch Disrupt SF, we catch up with Levi and Iván to learn more about the story behind their startup, what is coming next, and the challenges they are facing.

CoinJournal (CJ): What’s the story behind Stampery? What inspired you to start this startup?

Daniele Levi, Co-Founder and CEO of Stampery, Image credit: LinkedIn.
Daniele Levi, Co-Founder and CEO of Stampery, Image credit: LinkedIn.

Daniele Levi, Co-Founder and CEO of Stampery (D.L.): The first time I heard about Bitcoin, in late- 2012, I was mind-blown by both the concept and the technology behind it. I had the feeling I was definitely witnessing something that was going to have a deep impact in the world – and at the same time, I felt I could play an important part in it. That was tremendously inspiring, I felt lucky: I was in the right place at the right moment, able to actively participate in a revolution.

I realized this new technology removed the necessity of trust in the digital economy. Basically, 100% truth could be established with 0% trust. And that’s where the inspiration for Stampery came from for me personally.

CJ: Stampery claims it wants to “send notaries on vacation.” Would you say that this is your startup’s long-term goal?

D.L.: Yes it is. Our mission is to leverage a single shared source of truth – the blockchain – to allow our users to interact with any third party, even if there is no trust between them.

That removes a lot of friction and bureaucracy from deal making. There is no need any more for trusted third parties, which are basically both a cost and a security hole.

CJ: Do you believe that someday all legal documents will be ‘certified’ using a distributed digital ledger?

D.L.: I’m 100% sure about it – the blockchain will become the standard for digital certification. It’s inherent to its core characteristics.

CJ: What would you say are the main challenges that need to be overcome before this happens?

D.L.: The inflection point will be the first precedent in court: as soon as blockchain-based evidenced is ruled valid by a judge, adoption for non-financial uses of the blockchain will skyrocket.

CJ: What differentiates you from your competitors such as BitProof, Blocksign, or NXT-based Open Trade Docs?

D.L.: Both Blocksign and Open Trade Docs are completely different concepts. On the contrary, BitProof is similar. We admire what Louison Dumont, Bitproof’s co-founder, built, and we feel we somehow went through parallel paths.

I’d say that our main competitive advantages are a) our own proprietary scalability solution to overcome the 7tps limit of the blockchain; b) focus and c) execution.

CJ: Can you share a bit about your technology stack?

Luis Iván, Co-Founder and CTO of Stampery, Image credit: LinkedIn.
Luis Iván, Co-Founder and CTO of Stampery, Image credit: LinkedIn.

Luis Iván, Co-Founder and CTO of Stampery: As the blockchain itself, we like to use new but production ready technology. We use IcedCoffeeScript, created by the folks behind OkCupid and now Keybase, for almost everything, both in our frontend and in our NodeJS backend. It makes our life much easier and both productivity and happiness go up.

We have created our own blockchain scalability system using very cool crypto that lets us stamp infinite data into the blockchain. We’ll release more info on it soon, since we strongly believe the community could benefit a lot from it.

We use Heroku and Google Cloud heavily, and everything we do is split using micro service architecture. We do heavy automated testing and monitoring since our infrastructure is being used for critical data 24/7, we can’t afford to go down.

CJ: Are you guys looking to raise funding?

D.L.: We raised a first financing round in September, most of it covered by Draper & Associates. Because of demand, we just opened a new financing round.

CJ: What should we be expecting from Stampery in the coming months?

D.L.: Many things: we will roll out a blockchain ID management system in the following weeks. Government ID verification and ID management are essential elements of the XXI Century notary system.

After that we’re rolling out an email plugin and an integration with Box, a cloud storage solution.

Last but not least, we launched a couple of weeks ago a closed beta for an MVP of an intellectual property vertical.

Cover image credit: Signing contract, Shutterstock.com.