blockchain

What Crypto Can Learn from Public Companies

It may seem counter intuitive to say that there is a lot the crypto space can learn from traditional public equity markets. After all, the legacy financial system – with its opacity, its tendency toward oligarchy and monopoly, and its clear inefficiencies – is one of the main spheres crypto entrepreneurs are attempting to disrupt. But the fact that blockchain technology has the capacity to effect transformative change does not mean it has nothing to learn from its antecedents.

The features of the modern joint stock company were developed over many decades of trial and error through very painful mistakes. The crypto and blockchain space can do well to learn from these lessons and selectively adopt features that make sense in order to avoid making the same mistakes. Many of the features were developed to balance the competing interests of operators and investors, i.e., giving operators enough freedom to take risks and create a profitable business while at the same time giving investors/shareholders some control and oversight.

Shareholder voting and the establishment of a board of directors are also valuable features. Public companies are, in many ways, quite decentralized, although this is not coded into their DNA as it is with blockchain enterprises.

Governance power is actually distributed between the operators and shareholders. Shareholders convene on a regular basis to vote on essential matters related to the business, including whether to pay out dividends and whom to appoint to positions of top leadership. This leadership – usually comprising a board of directors that elects a chairman – is tasked with installing officers to run the business’s day-to-day operations on behalf of the larger pool of stakeholders. Leadership is ultimately responsible to the shareholders, who can remove directors.

Throughout the entire organization, the rules and processes governing the running of the business are transparent and clear to all participants. This organizational structure makes a lot of sense and provides some protection to investor stakeholders. This feature (or at least something similar to it) has been and could be implemented in token platforms to provide investors with some protection and control.  

Beyond governance, the operation of many of these companies is also surprisingly decentralized. Consider the fast food giant McDonald’s, which has a market cap of over $120 billion. Its logo, the golden arches, is recognized around the world and Chicken McNuggets and Big Macs are familiar from San Diego to Shanghai. But McDonald’s owns and operates fewer than 20% of the restaurants that bear its trademarks. Instead, the vast majority are operated as franchises. Under this model, the corporation establishes certain guidelines for the overall business – such as, for example, the recipe for french fries and the layout of stores. But the stores themselves are owned and operated by individual entrepreneurs who are better suited at managing the day to day operations and understand the unique echospace of their locations.. This decentralized model allows McDonalds to focus on big picture strategy while off loading the day to day operations to the franchisees, ultimately creating a much more successful and adaptable brand. Indeed, not all McDonalds are the same around the world.  Each market has its own unique needs and considerations. Its economic example can be instructive when designing token economies and establishing an efficient and productive split of responsibility and control based on each participant’s strengths and weaknesses.

Clearly, blockchain offers many advantages over traditional technologies and businesses. But that should not blind us to the hows and whys of the historical evolution of enterprise governance. Successes on the part of public companies can be written into code and used to make business much more efficient, if we do it right.  It is even more important that these features be considered early on in the crypto space because they need to be programmed into the token or smart contract from the beginning.

To learn more about Sagewise, please visit sagewise.io or follow the company on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Some Additional Details About Hedera Hashgraph

We’ve received a great deal of feedback since we announced that Sagewise would work with Hedera Hashgraph. In response, we want to go into a little more detail here about the specifics of the collaboration and what it does and does not mean for Sagewise’s own roadmap. First of all, we want to reiterate how excited we are to be working with the Hedera Hashgraph team. They’re building an exciting platform and we look forward to being part of their exciting growth in the future.

We also want to address some questions and concerns that have been raised by the community. Most importantly, we want to emphasize that working with Hedera Hashgraph does not mean we are leaving Ethereum. We recognize both the technological advantages and the broad reach of the Ethereum blockchain – it’s one of the reasons we decided to build our platform on it in the first place. On the contrary, Hedera Hashgraph, for a number of reasons that we will outline, is completely compatible with our work on Ethereum. At the same time, it offers additional benefits that we believe will materially advance our efforts to build the industry’s leading smart contract dispute resolution system.

The first benefit, as already touched on, is compatibility. The Sagewise platform can easily be ported to Hedera Hashgraph because it will support Solidity smart contracts with no changes required. This compatibility makes working with Hedera Hashgraph a true win-win, since we are able to leverage the specific benefits it offers without needing to sacrifice the obvious advantages and scale of Ethereum. Our developers are able to use the same Solidity code they use to build on that blockchain to build functionality utilizing Hashgraph. In short, we get the best of both worlds.

Hedera Hashgraph also offers tangible benefits to Sagewise that we expect will make a real difference in the quality, speed, and affordability of our service. Importantly, it promises to be faster and cheaper than Ethereum. This is something we cannot ignore at this stage of our growth; at current gas prices, we would not be able to scale as quickly or as comprehensively as we want by building on Ethereum alone. And the Hedera Hashgraph APIs will have unique, innovative features that present significant benefits to Sagewise. Among these is a best-of-its kind file system with cutting-edge features like provable deletion. We intend to use this to augment Sagewise’s system on Hedera Hashgraph’s stack.

The final thing to remember is that Sagewise has always had a goal of being platform-agnostic. Since we’re a middleware layer providing infrastructure for smart contract suppliers, we need to make sure we’re wherever our customers are. Using Hedera Hashgraph moves us toward that goal. It has emerged as a major player with enterprises, which is where we see much of our growth in the future. Hedera Hashgraph’s compatibility with Ethereum, its suite of exciting, cutting edge features, and its presence among our potential partners make the platform a clear win. We’re excited to build together.

EOS Shows Transparency is Essential in Resolving Smart Contract Disputes

Much has been made online over EOS’s handling of its first arbitration case earlier this week. For those who don’t know, a group of the chain’s block producers made a decision to freeze specific accounts in response to an apparent theft. An arbiter has ruled to freeze the tokens for now and return them from the alleged thieves to their original holders. It appears, from the evidence, that the block producers judged the situation correctly as an attempted theft and that justice was served.

However, despite the seemingly happy resolution of this specific incident, the way it was handled raises important and troubling questions for EOS and the broader blockchain community, as many observers have noted in the days since the event. Crucially, the decision was made by an anonymous group of network insiders with no input from the broader community or recourse to challenge the decision. This inequitable decision-making power – you might call it centralization – seems to go against the egalitarian ethos of the blockchain community as well as EOS’s own Constitution.

This is not to imply that EOS is wholly in the wrong. As blockchain entrepreneurs ourselves, we are intimately familiar with the unexpected twists and turns inherent in building a technology platform. We are inclined to agree with those who say EOS’s action was an understandable, one-off fix to a fast-moving situation in which the correct action was clear. It was a fudge, but an understandable one, and certainly preferable to the alternative in that instant. Nevertheless, it underscores how much work there is left to do if we are to build an industry with strong, transparent, reliable safeguards for smart contracts.

There are some concrete solutions to which we as a community can make a commitment in order to build the strongest possible blockchain future. In the case of smart contracts and arbitration, businesses should adopt a few fundamental best practices.

First, we must remember that a strong blockchain platform provides the tools for people to make good decisions. Decentralization does not mean insulation; it just means that participants have control over their assets and information and with whom they decide to share them. Mechanisms for dispute resolution must be robust, but transparent. The reason so many commenters are upset with EOS is the opacity with which it and its block producers acted. All participants must understand and be able to trust the parameters of any transaction they enter into. This transparency must extend to the arbiters, and the community should be able to remove them if they are judged to be corrupt. Transparency, an understanding of best practices, and a strong, equitable system for resolving disputes will be increasingly important as the space matures.

EOS has certainly achieved a great deal already, and we celebrate the progress they have made in moving the technology forward. But that should not distract us, as this recent incident makes clear, from doggedly continuing to establish the tools and safeguards the blockchain space will need if it is to be successful. Transparency and reliability in smart contract dispute resolution are a great place to start.

Meet The Team: Senior Engineer Grant Powell

Today we introduce Sagewise’s Senior Engineer, Grant Powell. Grant brings with him years of experience in the digital world and is well-poised to contribute towards our vision of developing a safety-net for smart contracts.

Grant, proficient in a multitude of programming languages, is an expert in the development of innovative technologies and digital products. Over the last fifteen years, Grant has produced hundreds of websites and applications. Most notably, Grant developed the first-ever live streaming platform for YouTube and the first application to integrate with Spotify’s Web API, used to match people based on their taste in music.

As we continue to grow, Grant will prove instrumental in executing Sagewise’s long-term vision and pushing forward our immediate goals. Grant is fascinated by blockchain and smart contract technologies. He is passionate about guiding these technologies toward becoming real-world solutions with valuable user experiences. Grant believes there is no limit to the market size or scalability of what Sagewise is developing as he is certain that “every single business will need to leverage these technologies in the future”. Drawing on his ample experience in both development and leadership, Grant will lead technical product development helping to build-out the SDK and real-world marketplace solutions for blockchain and smart contracts.

Innovative, creative, and business-savvy, Grant also brings to Sagewise his experience and success as a leader. As founder and operator of the digital agency Pomegranate, Grant has partnered with some of the world’s most notable brands including Google, Spotify, Porsche, Dow Jones & Company, among many others. Revealing his entrepreneurial spirit, Grant co-founded ServiceFirst Solutions, a payment technology company where he was the Chief Technology Officer. Grant also founded the very first peer-to-peer secure lending platform, YouPawn, where he was also Chief Executive Officer. Both of these endeavors have provided Grant with insight valuable to the crypto space. Creating applications that move millions of dollars on a monthly basis, Grant developed an intimate understanding of the intricacy of the code on which these transactions operate. Grant also understands the need for dispute resolution systems and believes that Sagewise will ensure accountability in smart contracts, an imperative as the crypto industry matures.

We are thrilled to welcome Grant to Sagewise as we build for the future.

For more information visit sagewise.io and engage via our Telegram.

Sagewise To Build Its Smart Contract Resolution Ecosystem on Hedera Hashgraph Platform

LOS ANGELES – June 6, 2018 – Providing peace of mind to all parties to a smart contract, technology company Sagewise will utilize the Hedera Hashgraph platform to build its ecosystem on top of. A blazing fast blockchain-alternative, Hedera Hashgraph will serve as the basis of Sagewise’s testnet, as the company realizes its mission to deliver transactional confidence and create a new legal paradigm.

Co-founded by Amy Wan Esq., an award-winning leader in legal tech, and Dan Rice, a veteran software engineering luminary and blockchain expert, Sagewise offers a proprietary SDK to mitigate variables such as the quality of smart contract coding and evolving situations. Sagewise does this by building in a layer of smart contract monitoring, notification, freezing, and dispute resolution to ensure that execution of a smart contract reflects the user’s intent. The hashgraph algorithm — a consensus mechanism based on a virtual voting algorithm combined with the gossip protocol — will help Sagewise achieve its goal by providing a framework for quick, fair, efficient and secure consensus.

“We believe justice should be decentralized, so our objective is to provide smart contract users a toolkit to settle errors and disputes, lest they end up with unintended outcomes. Smart contract losses exceeded half a billion U.S. dollars in value in 2017, so we feel it is integral to address the void in the industry,” said Amy Wan, Co-founder and CEO of Sagewise. “In order to reach our objectives, we knew scaling was of utmost importance, which is why we decided to work with Hedera Hashgraph. Its technology does not have the technical limitations of the existing blockchain, and provides distributed consensus.”

“From supply chain to financial services, smart contracts can be used in almost every industry; however, despite widespread adoption, the possibility for dispute is ever-present,” said Jordan Fried, Global Vice President of Business Development for Hedera Hashgraph. “Sagewise’s mission to help smart contract users quickly resolve disputes and reach consensus is greatly needed in the market, and we are pleased the team is choosing to build on top of hashgraph.”

For more information, please visit www.sagewise.io or view the Hedera whitepaper.

About Sagewise

Founded in 2017, Sagewise is a technology company focused on the efficient resolution of disputes involving smart contracts. Sagewise has developed a product comprising a smart contract safety net for blockchain users. The company’s proprietary SDK, released in April 2018, provides the tools and infrastructure needed for the effective handling of disputes at any stage in the development and execution of smart contracts, freezing contracts in place while they are being resolved. Sagewise’s mission is to provide peace of mind to all parties to a smart contract, ensuring that the outcome of a blockchain endeavor is consistent with the parties’ true intent.

To learn more about Sagewise, please visit sagewise.io or follow the company on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Meet the Team: Co-Founder and CTO Dan Rice

Today this blog will highlight the background and current role of Dan Rice, Sagewise’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer. Dan brings a strong background in technology to the company and, working with our CEO Amy, is well-positioned to deliver Sagewise’s vision of a fully built-out platform for a smart contract safety net. His successful background and deep knowledge of and involvement in the blockchain and fintech spaces position him as one of the leading experts and a first-rate choice to lead our technical development.

Dan began his career in kernel software development. In the kernel, a single bug will crash the entire computer. This environment was great training for working with public blockchains that are generally written in the same programming language as kernel systems, and blockchain bugs similarly have catastrophic impact — the potential loss of all funds.

Since 2014, Dan has been focused on blockchain and fintech. During this time, he has acted as CTO and consulting CTO for a number of projects, including Totum Risk and Velox. He authored the vzero framework solving cryptocurrency volatility issues, which you can find here. In 2016, Dan participated in the YNext Incubator as CTO for Totum Risk. He also founded the Bitcoin Developers Los Angeles Meetup as well as the Orange County CTO Forum, where he is also the chief organizer. Dan has built more than 20 software products over the course of his career, and the apps he has worked on as an entrepreneur and/or developer have been downloaded over 5 million times globally.

Along with Amy, Dan is often invited to speak at blockchain- and fintech-focused events around California and the nation. He has spoken on topics including blockchain basics; limitation of smart contracts and online smart contract dispute resolution; governance, data management, AML/KYC, and decentralization; client risk management and analysis software for financial advisors; software development in iOS, OSX and Windows; cryptocurrency usability and mass-adoption barriers; and ways to moderate volatility in cryptocurrencies.

Dan is a hands-on CTO, taking an active role in the development of each component of the Sagewise ecosystem. He was instrumental in the recent launch of our SDK, which marks the first time a working solution for smart contract dispute resolution has been released. As we continue to grow and execute on our longer-term vision, Dan will play a key role in overseeing all of our development efforts as well as contributing to the overall roadmap. He will help to build out a best-in-class team of developers to support and implement our objectives, providing leadership and oversight for our growing office. We are very glad to have Dan on board in this key role as we move forward.

Meet the Sagewise Team: Founder Amy Wan

Amidst the many product announcements, user stories and other important milestones we will be posting here over the coming months, we want to make sure we take time to introduce the team behind Sagewise. Ultimately, the success of a project comes down to the skill and dedication of the people behind it, and Sagewise has one of the strongest teams in the blockchain space, along with particular expertise in the legal sphere. In this post, we highlight the Founder of Sagewise, Amy Wan.

Amy founded Sagewise in 2018 after realizing the potential chaos that could arise from smart contract disputes. Her interest in smart contracts stems from her legal background and her experience in the crypto space; the intersection of these two passions formed the foundation of the Sagewise concept. As an attorney, Amy has served as a Partner at a boutique securities law firm and General Counsel of a fintech company. She has also authored numerous publications, including the Bloomberg Law guide to ICOs and chapters of the LexisNexis’ Private Equity Guide. Amy was named one of the “Top 10 Women to Watch” by the ABA Journal in 2014, one of 18 millennials changing legaltech by Law.com in 2018, and recognized as a top woman in legaltech by the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center in 2018. She also co-founded Legal Hackers LA, a recurring meetup for practitioners, students, educators and entrepreneurs to explore new ideas related to legal practice and entrepreneurship.

In 2015, Los Angeles Business Journal named Amy a Finalist for Corporate Counsel of the Year. She is also a Senior Contributor to Crowdfund Insider. Prior to her legal career, she served as a Presidential Management Fellow specializing in international trade and regulatory affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Department of Transportation. A thought leader in the space, Amy frequently speaks at conferences and events, events including SXSW, PLI, ACMA, and blockchain conferences. Topics she has discussed have included SEC regulation of ICOs and the security/utility token question; crypto self-governance; optimal structuring of token economics; flaws in current models of smart contracts; and the regulatory environment for post-ICO businesses. She received an LL.M. from the London School of Economics and her JD from the University of Southern California.

Amy is passionate about crypto and believes she can leverage her unique background to bring positive change and real solutions to the space. Blockchain remains a brand new technology, and as it grows over the coming years, smart contracts infrastructure will assume and exponentially more important role in everyday business transactions. Making sure those contracts do the jobs they are supposed to, that they fulfill their promise of making markets smoother and safer, is the mission of Sagewise and its founder.

Sagewise at Cyrpto Invest Summit

Dat Nguyen, VP of special projects, and amazing Amy Wan impersonator, speaking about IP considerations for blockchain startups (article mistakes Dat Nguyen as Amy Wan):

“And according to Wan, you should act fast when filing a patent. IP owners have one year to file a patent after disclosing a new product or technology, and Wan said white papers — a popular form of preliminary documentation in the blockchain industry — most definitely count as an IP disclosure.”

For full coverage, please visit:

Crypto Lawyers Explain How to Keep Your ICO Legal at Crypto Invest

Sagewise’s Vision to Build the Safety Net for Smart Contracts

Last month, we announced the launch of the Sagewise SDK. This marks a major milestone in the development of our business and the safety of the blockchain ecosystem overall. It is a step towards achieving our long-term vision of providing an infrastructure to address the inevitable issues that will arise around smart contracts. In this post, we want to provide a little more information about this vision and and our plan to achieve it.

Although most participants in the blockchain space probably don’t realize this, many smart contracts have errors or oversights in their code bases that will lead to significant problems for their businesses and for users down the road. Even if the smart contract code is perfect, situations inevitably arise that could not have been predicted by the developers writing the contract. Since 99% of people cannot audit (much less read) a smart contract’s code for themselves, they have no way of confirming the quality of a product other than trusting the word of a developer.

This situation is bound to lead to errors and misunderstandings. Over the coming weeks, we will publish a series of blogs outlining theoretical situations that can arise from such problems. Crucially, there is currently no way to resolve disputes arising from an error in a smart contract. The fact that the contracts are “smart” and automatically execute based on pre-set requirements can actually exacerbate disputes if the contract is not correctly constructed. Because the blockchain space remains so young, many parties remain unaware of the existence or the potential magnitude of this issue.

Sagewise’s vision is to build a fully-functioning plugin solution that allows smart contract users to achieve their true transactional intent, including the ability to resolve the disputes that will inevitably arise around smart contracts as they are bound to arise from any form of human interaction. Sagewise can “freeze” a smart contract in place while disputes are mediated. It can devise a number of forms of resolution depending on the preferences of the parties involved and on whether dispute resolution was built in to the original contract. Our goal is to provide peace of mind and the expectation of an equitable outcome for blockchain transactions – a toolkit to make sure smart contracts are doing their jobs. The safety net provided by Sagewise is intended to grow into a full suite of capabilities that will be indispensable as the crypto space expands. Disputes around token offerings are a problem; disputes around smart contracts that underpin entire supply chains are a crisis. We are building a platform that addresses the enormous future of blockchain, a future in which broad mainstream adoption is a reality and the integrity of contracts is paramount.