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Blockchain Technology Tag

ZirconTech Top Developers Clutch Argentina 2021

 

As found in the latest studies, global blockchain technology spendings are expected to climb to as high as $11.7 billion by 2023. Compared to other dominant development markets, blockchain is relatively smaller but its growth is undeniable — because, by 2024, the number is set to jump to around $20 billion.

 

Here at ZirconTech, we want to help you transform your business through bleeding-edge technologies like blockchain development. Located in Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Montevideo (Uruguay), our team works with companies all over the world, bringing efficient and cost-effective solutions for their unique needs.

 

In honor of our team’s hard work, it’s a massive honor for us to be highlighted as a Clutch Leader! In the most recent Clutch Awards, ZirconTech was given the title of Argentina’s leading blockchain development company for 2021!

 

Clutch is an established B2B market research and review company that helps businesses connect with the right service providers. Every year, the site ranks the leading firms from their respective industries during their awards cycle.

 

The entire ZirconTech team would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to each and everyone who made this possible. We sincerely dedicate this win to our clients, most especially to those who graciously endorsed and reviewed us on Clutch.

 

Moving forward, we want to see what else we can achieve. The future is filled with unknowns but together with our clients, we can continue growing and conquering hurdles.

 

Work with a trusted technology partner! Work with ZirconTech to build your digital transformation! Contact us today and we’re excited to hear from you.

 

Since the advent of civilizations, trust has been the driving force of every interaction, and the invention of currency paved the way to manage this and enabled organized finance. But probably the greatest revolution in this field since the Romans introduced banking is Blockchain a technology that automates trust.


Initially started as an alternative currency, Blockchain soon proved that it’s much more than that, an ecosystem that supports all sorts of human and machine interactions and transactions, being a distributive network-based technology, it makes trust a collective term, and responsibility an objective value.


Today, Blockchain is not just a buzzword or a coin token, but a practical feature of many mainstream industries, ranging from economics, legal contracts, healthcare, anti-counterfeiting, art and media, video games, and many more.


So let’s dwell a little deeper into blockchain uses and how our current world is affected by it.


Blockchain Applications in Financial Services


Evolution of currency from the Barter system of the Bronze age, metal coins of the Iron Age, and paper currency of the pre-modern era, we moved to Digital transactions. Then in 2009, A whitepaper was published, which in upcoming years changed the perspective of the general populace on the currency. It was this whitepaper that later emerged as Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, and marked the beginning of the era of Blockchain. Since then, there have been numerous applications of blockchain for businesses and finance implemented all across the globe.


Cryptocurrency exchanges (Trading)


Cryptocurrencies, often abbreviated as Crypto, are digital tokens, a digital representation of these tokens and an ownership identification is needed, this was solved by the use of virtual accounts called Wallets, analogous to a bank account, and just like in a traditional pocket wallet one pushes banknotes, here, one can convert fiat money to cryptocurrency and push it into a crypto-wallet, and this conversion is managed by a Crypto-Exchange.


Similar to how we have a plethora of banks, with numerous ways of banking, we have a wide array of such Cryptocurrency exchanges, and a gazillion ways to trade with this money, all backed by the trust of Decentralized Blockchain.


Some of the most common Cryptocurrency exchanges are – Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, Bithumb.


Such exchanges allow common users to switch and experiment with Blockchain, provide many more features above simple coin ownership, this includes – User-friendly interfaces, reliability, lower risk factors, and extend the functionality of Blockchain.


There are even Decentralized exchanges (DEX) that use blockchain for its proper functioning, this further adds a feature of better privacy and security.


Money laundering protection


Cryptocurrencies transactions being completely anonymous are often linked with ungoverned and possibly illegal money movements, and declaring it to be a false claim would be a complete lie. But just like how diamonds cut diamonds, the best tool for detecting and preventing dirty money to enter finance is also Blockchain. Blockchain for businesses can solve this problem by automating/hardcoding the ue-case of a certain allotment of an asset.


Anonymity in Cryptocurrency is not an invisibility cloak, Blockchain being practically unhackable makes it immutable, a perfect unalterable record, that can never be erased, thus every transaction can be verified, and traced with complete trust, a trust which even conventional banking systems cannot fathom.


Blockchain transactions are stone-etched, with rigid identification and uniqueness, thus completely removing any possibility of ambiguity and loopholes once such a detection is made, and can be quickly and easily legally confirmed.


Such an Anti-Money Laundering technology based on Blockchain can detect and confirm any “dirty” money movement and can help monitor any form of such immoral acts using CryptoCurrency.


Insurance


Blockchain provides a seamless coordination system, and any system which demands a smooth coupling between multiple agents can be implemented using this technology, and that too with improvement beyond traditional methodologies.


Insurance is one such business, which foresees an ever-increasing use of Blockchain-based applications.



  1. Verification and Risk Mitigation – Insurance claims are sensitive matters and often involve legal entities, fake claims cost up to 40 billion dollars each year, and bottlenecks flow of the economy, Blockchain offering permanent ledger records and granular cooperation among insurers and their customers, thus helps in verifying suspicious transactions and mitigate fake claims.

  2. Property Insurance – Anything can be a property, from real estate to a car, or even an original piece of art, this increasing heterogeneity makes defining and valuing more and more complex, but blockchain offers something called Smart Contracts. Smart Contracts are equivalent to any paper contract but are much easier to manage, maintain, and process, making insurance claims automated and much more trustworthy.

  3. Reinsurance – Reinsurance in simple terms means insurance for insurance companies, useful especially in situations of some nation or global level catastrophe as we all witnessed in the form of COVID-19, and this being a transaction between two business entities requires a lot of legal paperwork and other overheads, Blockchain, and smart contracts are so efficient in performing the same task, that the issue can be made non-existent.


P2P & Cross-border transaction


Any sort of international transaction involves a great number of overheads, both financial and temporal, thus a verifiable, intangible, and quick way of such transfer of money, securities, and various sorts of funds, can bring the world much closer and prevent the need for questionable modes of such transactions.


Blockchain for businesses is such a solution, and probably the best one currently present. It’s the only candidate that can serve as the implementation of a truly global currency.


Crypto-Currencies and Smart Contracts, a combination of these two technologies has already made it true, and now even governments worldwide are slowly recognizing the authenticity of Cryptocurrency and its growth potential.


Paying a seller on the other end of the globe is now as easy as paying your neighbor next door. A huge number of Cryptocurrencies have flooded the market and the transaction is completely anonymous and private, Point-to-Point, some of the most popular ones are – Bitcoin, Etherum, Steller, Cardano, Uniswap, Dogecoin, etc.


Crowdfunding


Crowdfunding is one of the miracles of the Internet along with Blockchain because it enables a democratic way to raise funds, run charities, and get donations. Crowdfunding has been successful in powering many startups, helping underprivileged people, and making the world more human.


But, most crowdfunding sources are centralized, which turns this into a business. While this approach has its own merits and demerits, Blockchain offers quite a different prospect to look at this problem.


There are majorly 2 ways Blockchain and specifically, Cryptocurrency can be used for crowdfunding.


  • A simple upgrade over the current approach is to simply switch from classical currencies to Cryptocurrency for getting the funds, it’s simple, it’s point-to-point and it automatically removes the need for centralization except for marketing.

  • Another slight radical approach, but being proven successful now a couple of times is using ICO for fundraising, ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering and is a parallel of Public offering in terms of shares, in very simple terms – an organization or even an individual can host it’s own CryptoCurrency and provide an Initial Coin Offering, and interested parties can directly invest in the coin, providing a completely independent way of crowdfunding.


Borrowing + Lending services


CryptoCurrencies encourage fluidity in an economy by enabling transactions as freely as legally possible. A conventional fluid market is backed up by securities and actual physical entities like real estate, and these come into playfield through loans and mortgages. 


But a market that involves Cryptocurrencies has something more to offer, with the possibility of immutable ledger records and flexible transactions there are essentially two additions.


  • Smart Contracts for Securities – Security trading becomes much smoother, even international trade of securities can be made true.
  • Digital assets –  Blockchain makes Digital assets possible since now even a piece of digital art is as “real” as a physical painting. An innovative approach popularized in recent days is Non Fungible Tokens or NFTs these are Digital assets completely backed up by Blockchain for authenticity and can be traded just like physical entities in a marketplace

With the involvement of both these methods, a completely digital economy running on Cryptocurrency, backed by cryptic digital assets, and that as well supports the classical ways and is capable of incorporating a diversity of resources and funds is what Blockchain is capable of creating.


Blockchain applications in Healthcare


The year 2020 Marked the beginning of an era of revelation, a revelation about how important health is, and how much our seems-to-be-perfect society is lagging, but it also lit up the path to incorporate an alternative lifestyle that can be much better.


While technology has changed our lifestyle drastically, it also has the potential to improve it and in this interconnected world, apart from obvious things discussed before like insurances, the medical industry, as well as individuals both, can take advantage of various contributions of blockchain and smart contracts.


Secure Medical records


Every individual has a unique body, a running breathing chemistry lab, and has a unique medical history ranging from genes, allergies, anatomical features to chronic diseases and exposure to other external factors.


But this information being so important also makes it a huge privacy risk, because it can be used against a group or individual very easily. Medical records are often used by scammers to target gullible selves, for marketing purposes and even personal harm.


If the medical history gets stored in a decentralized and secure manner, such as a Blockchain ledger – it can provide a very easy and flexible way for patients and medical workers to keep track, update and utilize this information to improve the life of a patient. Even simple things such as Blood groups or possible allergies are very important information, which we cannot leave vulnerable.


In cases of emergency, due information about medical history can be life-saving. Like if information regarding someone’s blood group is readily available, in case of an accident, the blood transfusion can be started instantly.


Blockchain offers a simple way to implement this. Each medical test, every visit to the hospital, and every piece of information can be uploaded to a secure, immutable blockchain, which can thus provide a securely updatable way to verify this information anytime anywhere.


Fake Medicine detection


Fake and Adulterated Pharmaceuticals, substandard medical equipment, and production of low-quality raw materials, all these activities are not only illegal but also immoral and inhumane. And unfortunately, this still is a lingering truth.


Blockchain with its trust factor and flexibility can be used to tackle this.


A recent approach to this is being slowly implemented by various industries – A simple unique identification for each product or object can be used to view, verify and confirm the qualitative and quantitative parameters of the product provided, such as a QR code.


Companies can upload all the relevant information on a blockchain ledger, a data structure designed to store temporal but rigid information, and a simple scan of the QR code provided with the product can help one get this information readily.


BlockVerify is one such tool – it’s an anti-counterfeit tool that can be used with any sort of supply chain, at any level of the supply chain, vendors, and consumers everyone can use it.


The medical industry is one of the most vulnerable sectors to fake products and dirty tactics, and with huge requirements in recent times has been quickly trying to adopt such a model, while BlockVerify is a general-purpose tool, its use in medicine can be a strong strike to break stereotypes and increase trust within the industry.


Blockchain uses for Government


Efficient governments are designed to provide smoother work and life environments and accommodate diversity, rather than hindering performance and homogenizing the society. Governments run on trust, trust on the one running the institutions, trust among the real participants, and on the people of a jurisdiction. And the best solution for ensuring trust is blockchain. Blockchain maintains the legitimacy and authenticity of information and can be used to back everything ranging from money to policies and legal matters.


Blockchain can simplify governance and bring society closer.


Blockchain Voting


Voting is a process that requires huge amounts of resources, manpower, and time. An election is a costly periodic task that includes so many factors associated with risk at a scale that is unimaginable for any other system.


But it is the fuel of Democracy, it drives a country and directs those in power.


An alternative approach that is not only fast and resource-efficient but can be proved secure and fail-safe is not an improvement but a need of the hour. Blockchain has been viewed ever since its inauguration in the form of Bitcoin as the perfect choice for this.


Each vote is a transaction, thus it’s easy to implement and scale using Blockchain, or as some have suggested direct use of current Cryptocurrency chains for the same like Etherium.


It prevents the possibility of fraud, fake votes provide ease of access, and voting from the comfort of home is also made possible.


Blockchain-based Identification


Uniquely identifying individuals is an important task for governance, for safety and security of the public, and running welfare schemes as well, but it carries a privacy and security risk at a scale no other application has. Since its effects can encompass populations of a whole country.


Centralized servers, even with the best securities cannot be considered invulnerable


But a blockchain spanning the population of a whole country can be secure enough to solve this issue, this is because it’s decentralized, encrypted, and can only be hacked if resources equivalent to at least 51% of the included systems are used, which is not possible at anything in millions.


Blockchain can put a globally unique identifier to each individual, and this information can be stored on its immutable ledger, individual identity and all sorts of associations can be implemented in a blockchain-based application, which can be used by the government for implementing its schemes, without having the user compromise its privacy.


Digital Will and Inheritance


Legal issues related to inheritance and will are some of the most common problems caused mainly due to ambiguity in information. This ambiguity could arise due to various involved sources of information and no way to verify authenticity unless rigorous legal consultancy is performed. And the core of this problem is because individual identification and assignment of ownership is a difficult process.


Blockchain solves both problems of individual identification and ownership that pertains to inheritance and will. Immutable ledger makes sure the possibility of information mismatch and ambiguity is reduced, also not just allows to store data related to will which can be legally verified, it can also be implemented to automate the whole process without the need of much intervention. Hence saving time on the court as well.


Transparent blockchain-based budgeting


Budgeting is a big deal for every government because it reduces resource wastage and promotes the right investments. Take, for example, the New York City Council. The mayor has given a budget of $89 billion and the city council has requested a thorough investigation into the request.


Needless to say, the mayor was unable to provide suitable land and there was plenty of space. This is not a completely new scene. In addition to this, every year, governments lose money due to corruption and poor management. Moreover, it becomes too late for people to realize where their taxes are going. And so when there is a lot of waste in the government, blockchain for such systems can shine in this case. Blockchain for government use cases will provide transparent budgeting where citizens can see where their money is going.


The budget designing process itself can be benefited from blockchain as well, since prevention of policies from external factors to prevent any sort of biases is required in this process, and blockchain has the potential to provide such a service.


Furthermore, it will also increase overall efficiency and, not to mention, reduce waste and corruption. Before accepting any budget request, authorities can know exactly when and where they plan to spend the money.


Registry of land ownership


Another major blockchain initiative is the digitization of the real estate sector that can simplify the sale of land. The advent of smart contracts in blockchain platforms now allows assets like real estate to be tokenized and traded like cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether.


Legal advisors, investors, lawyers, agents, and customers, everyone has a say in this ecosystem of real estate. However, according to a report from Deloitte, blockchains could soon usher in a shift in their role and involvement in real estate transactions.


New platforms could eventually take on functions such as listings, payments, and legal documents. By cutting out the middlemen, buyers and sellers get the most out of their money by saving on the commissions and fees charged by these middlemen. It also makes the process much faster because the back and forth between these intermediaries are cut down. 


One of the prime examples of blockchain uses in this domain includes the case of the Dubai Land Registry. They’ve implemented blockchain into their infrastructure and their government will soon transform the way people buy and sell real estate.


Traceability: Blockchain-based tracking in Supply Chains


NFC-enabled tagging solutions are used in different products. Through a simple tap on the product label through a smartphone, you can read about products traceability, exclusive content, videos, stories, tasting notes, origin, and personalized messages. Today, consumers are increasingly concerned about where the product they purchase comes from. The conscious consumer expects brands to be more transparent and products to be sourced ethically and sustainably. 


An immutable ledger of transactions throughout companies’ supply chains, a blockchain solution, allows stakeholders to prove their claims of authenticity, legality, and sustainability. Other applications include digital platforms aimed at speeding the flow of data and goods and data in ocean transportation. 


Agreements in the shipping sector are required aimed at connecting cargo owners, vessel operators, ports, and logistics companies through digital platforms that use blockchain technology. Blockchain allows trusted participants to share information as goods move through supply chains. The system promises to reduce the cost of administering shipped goods, cut down on paperwork and speed the flow of goods by letting companies transmit information quickly and reliably. The Electronic Bill of Ladings (eBLs) aims to replicate the essential functions of a paper Bill.


The International Group approved Global Share S.A. edoxOnline platform (“edoxOnline”) on 11 June 2019, WAVE on 23 December 2019, and CargoX Smart B/L™ (“CargoX”) on 11 February 2020. As with Bolero, essDOCS, and e-Title™, the legal frameworks for this new generation of eBL providers’ systems were scrutinized by the IG to ensure that eBLs created on them are capable of performing the three functions of a bill of lading, namely as a receipt, a document of title and a contract of carriage. Liabilities arising in respect of the carriage of cargo under eBLs created on these systems are now covered by the IG Clubs as if the bills of lading had been issued in traditional paper form.


The key difference with these second-generation eBL systems is their reliance on blockchain technology. Unlike three years ago, blockchain is today no longer just a buzzword but has many real applications.


A blockchain may be a public or a private digital network used for recording transactional events in encrypted form, storing the same in a distributed ledger (i.e. the computers). A private blockchain network can feature a level of centralization. Access is limited by a governing body to a number of participants only. Public blockchain networks however run on thousands of computers and do not have a ‘central administrator’. It is not possible to shut down, block or limit access to a public blockchain network. edoxOnline’s, Wave’s, and CargoX’s products are based on the Ethereum blockchain; the best known public blockchain which also enables the use of smart contracts. The publicly distributed ledger contains a permanent record of all transactions, providing transparency and enabling auditability of all events. Without a central registry, there is no central point of attack for hackers. edoxOnline is the first eBL system created implementing blockchain technology. The company was set up in 2007 by a group of international trade experts to provide the industry with a collaborative digital platform to streamline the issuance of shipping and commercial documents. On edoxOnline’s system, all the participants trade from shippers.


Conclusion


Blockchain has proved itself as a revolutionary technology in the last decade and established itself as the new driving force of the world of security, credibility, and trust. Blockchain-based applications often called DApps or Distributed Applications, are used in many industries and have successfully upgraded and improved many existing workflows.


The domain of its usability knows no bounds. Every major industry in every significant sector has benefited from this or is going through a phase of change to accept Blockchain as a part of the ecosystem.


And we’re proud to say that we, at ZirconTech, have helped such industries in setting up and utilizing this amazing technology.


One of the most recent examples is – Development of an E2E solution for automotive insurance based on using blockchain.


We all know, there is a high distrust in the insurance industry because of the existing conflict of interests. Since the companies’ profits increase if less is paid to the users, or it is possible to charge them more money. This solution allows transparency to the scoring calculation that defines the policy’s value for this particular case. We used Hyperledger Fabric as a Blockchain platform.


It is developed following these chain codes:- Information tracking (to track vehicle information and store it in the blockchain) and Scoring (calculation of scoring from data received from vehicles). As part of the project, the development of two APIs, three SPAs, and one mobile application had been done. And all the products were designed keeping both factors in mind, user-friendliness & functional completeness. Our aim was, and still is, to provide the best quality service to the customers and users possible.


Brum Costa Abogados

Smart Contracts and Smart Legal Contracts

 

Dr. Agustina Pérez Comenale spoke with Dr. Gustavo Gauthier and Dr. Nicolás Gómez, leaders in the application of blockchain technology in digital contracting and other use cases in the legal field.

 

Dr. Gustavo Gauthier is Attorney-at-law, partner at Brum Costa Abogados, Magister in Labor and Social Security Law, Adjunct Professor of Labor and Social Security Law at the Law School of UDELAR (Universidad de la República), and Professor of the Postgraduate Course in Applied Labor Law at the University of Montevideo.

 

Dr. Nicolás Gómez is Attorney-at-law, a member of the Litigation Department of Brum Costa Abogados, a Dr. in Law and Social Sciences, and a Postgraduate degree in Applied Procedural Law.

 

Introduction: Digital Contracts, Smart Contracts and Smart Legal Contracts.

 

Dr. Agustina Pérez Comenale points out that “when we speak of digital contracting we refer to any contract that is drawn up through electronic tools. We are not talking about the IT contract itself, software contracts or the like, but about any type of contracts that involve IT or technological tools.

 

There is a new section of contracts or a new contract model that began to be used a few years ago, the famous CLM, Contract Lifecycle Management, the life cycle of the contract, which facilitates the preparation of contracts. Not only the pre-contractual part, but later in its execution.

 

Finally, what are the Smart Contracts, all the contracts or instructions that are made to the blockchain or chain of blocks. There are different blockchains, public and private, in which it can be programmed and there are programming languages, with loops, conditions, which it is very important to consider when selecting the platform that we are going to be operating.

 

Smart Contracts are instructions that we give the platform to operate and make certain instructions automatically without the need for human intervention.

 

Smart Legal Contract is the use of automatic execution for the conventions established between the parties. Here it implies a role for the legal professional who will be preparing the contract and will be putting it into practice, in the pre-contractual and clause stage, listing various issues such as the audit of the program among others.

 

It is important to understand the technology and the different types of contracts that we must see which is the best suited to a given situation. We must always bear in mind that we are using technology does not mean that it is good or profitable, but to understand it to see how to apply it in each circumstance”.

 

“The pre-contractual stage or the preparation of the contract is extremely important”, says Pérez Comenale, “being equipped with automatic execution, such as the Smart contract or the Smart legal contract, it is very important to be able to at least try to contemplate the different possible scenarios that may arise during the execution of the contract.

It is important in the pre-contractual stage to consider some clauses, such as the typical clauses of any contract because we stick to the legal nature of contracts, which is highly debatable even the concept of Smart Contracts, if we are dealing with related contracts, or contracts of adhesion or if it is simply a tool and we take the nature of the contract itself as its own nature”.

 

Implementing digital contracts at Brum Costa Abogados.

 

Dr. Nicolás Gómez and his team, on a practical level, have put together demos of different contracts, and then he will tell us about his experience and the challenges and benefits when using them.

 

Gómez points out that “in the second half of 2019 we started working on the development, either as a demo or a future project of smart contracts, with the ZirconTech team and especially with Martin Machin. We began to test and put into practice several situations that we understood that we could fit within these smart contracts. From the demos and this testing, we found several challenges that we were avoiding and that led us to the practical concepts that we are going to deal with”.

Brum Costa Abogados - Nicolas Gomez

 

Monax: A platform embedded in blockchain that already solves technical difficulties for legal professionals.

 

“In the first place, what we got around was the difficulty that we all think that these types of tools have, which is the practical difficulty that lawyers think that we have to sit down to program or do jobs that are outside of our professional training. But ultimately, the ZirconTech team presented us with a tool that is a platform that was already inserted in the blockchain ecosystem, where that task was already simplified. The idea was simply to diagram the contract flows and the different stages that were being raffled, and ultimately that first challenge was overcome very easily, and we did not have to think for hours and hours to see what to do, if we need a programmer, etc. We simply needed a multidisciplinary team like the one we created. From that moment on we started with certain demos as simple service lease contracts, then Dr. Gustavo Gauthier will talk about the employment contract. In short, what we saw was the testing in practice”.

 

“In principle, the tool presented has certain implementations that facilitated and that were even aligned with our law, because we were working within a blockchain where each step that we took within the contract was registered and within the traceability that even one can be downloaded. So, after we draw up a small contract we started with certain challenges. The first of them was to have the legal prose, the contract itself, we talked about the nature of the Smart Contract, we see it as a tool, the Smart Legal Contract that we work on, and what we saw is that we could already include the drafting of the contract and contrast it with the scheduling of the flow of the different stages that were to be derived from that contract.

Generating a more hybrid system where certain clauses are aligned to problem solving or skills. But that challenge was ready.”

 

“Surprisingly for us, then, already framing within the 18600 Law, we had electronic documents that were being generated on the platform with all the steps and each of the details of the smart contract. And the platform already had an electronic signature tool that was aligned with what our regulations understand as a common electronic signature. Generally, if both parties agree to use it, it was already included in the drafting of the contract within the tool, and it did not generate major difficulties”.

 

Advanced electronic signature integration.

 

“Exploring a little more we saw that the advanced electronic signature can be added to the tool, where the legal aspects are broader, and has the effectiveness of a private document certified by a notary public, and each of these stages can be done in the platform”.

 

Pérez Comenale points out regarding what Gómez mentions, “one of the great challenges is precisely the identity and the type of signature that we are using, that the persons signing are who they say they are, that is, it is a no small detail. But also at the interpretation level, because here we are first with an alphanumeric language and then we are with a programming language”.

“In practice there is a contest to see which one prevails, if first I go to program and then I see the contract written in a visible way so that anyone can understand it. How all that is managed, that is part of the contract cycle and see what platform they are going to use. If they are going to hire a programmer and are going to program the contract directly or use a market platform, which already incorporates this kind of interpretation or translation from alphanumeric language to programming language through the platform”.

 

Records in pre-contractual stages and during the execution of the contract.

 

Dr. Nicolás Gómez mentions as another element, “that the tool allows to have a record, not only of the progress of the contract stages but also of the pre-contractual stages, where the emails and all the documents that the parties exchanged can be included, if they signed a prior confidentiality agreement, also including it, which is useful for this later stage where there may be certain problems between the parties or a third party may have to be resorted to resolve some kind of difference ”.

 

Pérez Comenale says that “all this is very important in the pre-contractual stage and the typical conflict resolution clauses. Today there are several platforms such as Kleros that are already based on blockchain and offer the resolution of disputes in different types of contracts, then they can be foreseen, and also the automatic compensation clauses, thinking about the automatic execution that characterizes this type of contracts”.

 

“Another challenge that we see replicated in several articles when talking about Smart contracts is the enforceability it has, is that once it starts running, the parties cannot stop it and eventually things may happen that were not foreseen, if there are programming errors or there is a bad translation to the code. But it can be programmed in agreement with the parties and put a clause of forced detention so that a third party can resolve the dispute that may arise from it, as in the case of Kleros.

 

Integration with oracles and information from the outside world.

 

Gómez marks “also the connection from the decentralized world from the blockchain of contracts with the real world because many of the elements that we need are not within the contract and require connection with the outside world, and that is why we learned the existence of the oracles that communicate with the outside world. For simple tasks such as seeing the dollar price to make a payment or the payment gateways themselves to make a hold if it is an escrow or automatic payment system. For public organizations, if it is an agricultural traceability contract, and expand the useful framework that can be given to the tool”.

 

“It is essential that the oracles have reliable information, it is essential because in the face of this automation it is necessary to ensure the veracity of the information.”

 

Next, Dr. Gustavo Gauthier will comment on how all these contracts are applicable, what they are for, what benefit they can have by complicating it if it can be resolved on paper. What are the benefits beyond security, encryption, confidentiality, immutability, etc., what are the practical applications. Gauthier will talk about employment contracts and rental contracts among others.

Gauthier: “The smart contract is a crossroads between the technological and the legal”

 

“The issue of smart contracts like almost all technological issues puts us in front of a challenge of imagination at the present time,” says Gauthier. “The smart contract is a crossroads between the technological and the legal. And that crossroads inevitably crosses us with tech professionals as well. We cannot, from the law, only be able to advance in digital or smart contracts without having the support of engineers, programmers or analysts who know about the technology.

 

“The process that we did begins that way because the engineers consulted us to see what we thought about an idea of ​​some contracts that they were trying to program. And we, in turn, were thinking about how to make or realize a smart contract idea. And that first requires an analysis of the point of view of the contractual type that one tries to bring to a smart contract, because there may be a very simple contract and the logical evolution would indicate that it would be necessary to start with this type of contract. For example, a freelance service lease contract, or an international employment contract whose payment is made through cryptocurrencies. One can have a contract practically encapsulated in a blockchain and that can be executed 100% within the blockchain. Today it is already possible and much more than we think.

 

Functionality of the dogmatics of a legal contract with respect to a smart contract: employment contracts.

 

“Now when we think of more complex contracts, one must ask in each case if the urban lease contract or the work contract, if the dogmatics of those contracts are functional with respect to the smart contract. An analysis that we made of the employment contract, precisely the dogmatic fits quite well with an automatic execution. Because we all know that, with the fact of work, from the first day that a person begins to work, automatically a series of regulations are applied to him, which are already foreseen, which are mandatory, which are unavailable to the parties, that the parties they cannot modify, and they only must comply, apart from the fact that this does not operate at 100%. But perfectly an employment contract that is not too sophisticated can be fulfilled with what is already provided exclusively in the legislation. Both the legislation that has a heteronomous, legal source, decrees, resolutions, as well as that of an autonomous source such as collective agreements, an award of wages councils for referring to Uruguay”.

 

“From that perspective the contract could be executed more or less automatically.” And Gauthier says “more or less because the employment contract has some peculiarities, and that is that it varies over time. Normally the worker goes up in his career, his salary improves, he changes his category. But also, in the life of the employment contract, situations may appear where it is necessary to innovate certain conditions, where it is not clear whether there is a benefit or not, or if there is a benefit in exchange for a loss.

Here blockchain technology poses a challenge for us. Although we have the advantage of the immutability of the contract registered in the blockchain, that same immutability can be too strong, a corset for the necessary changes that allow the survival of the contract. This is a challenge in this matter”.

 

Communication of the Smart Contract with actors from the outside world.

 

“And also, being such a regulated contract, it is a challenge, how that contract is communicated with the outside world. Because necessarily the employment contract has a permanent dialogue with the outside. The worker must be registered in the State (government), in the BPS (Social Security Bank), in the MTSS (Employment and Social Security Ministry), he must make pension contributions and his taxes. Also, the contract then if it is not paid with cryptocurrencies, the contract will have to dialogue with the banking system. In the sense that the contract will have to send an order to a bank, and that bank will have to prepare, or it will have to accept receiving orders from a program or a contract and not from a person with a token to pay the salary”.

 

There is also the discussion of wallets, as well as once the salary is deposited, the contributions for social security are generated, which must also be prepared to receive not only the nominated statement of that worker, but also the contributions of that worker. that they will come from software, from a contract, and not from a person in the flesh, or from a traditional company.

 

They are all challenges, and the first dialogue that the contract must have is with the company’s salary settlement system, which in turn has to be connected to the time control system, in order to be able to repeat the cycle of the contract to consult if that person was attending, how many days did it and for having come those days what corresponds to be paid as salary.

 

There are several challenges that are posed in terms of that dialogue that the intelligent employment contract must have today with the outside world through oracles.

 

We can think of practical cases such as the employment contract that involves all these challenges. And tomorrow we can think of simpler contracts, returning to the smart contract per se, and not so much the Smart Legal Contract with all this mentioned scenario that has several challenges due to the clauses and all the information it handles.

 

Gauthier: “operating automatically through smart contracts would give speed and legal certainty”

 

Tomorrow, there are many acts, such as transfers of shares, communications to the Central Bank. If they could operate automatically through a smart contract, it would give speed and legal certainty, and we could see all the benefits that this type of contract entails.

 

What has been seen with all these demos is that in practice there is the great challenge of external information to the network.

 

Challenges and benefits: “communication auditable and accepted by the government”

 

“The challenge that this communication be auditable, but accepted by the State (government), by the different government agencies that have to do with contracts. Here one can talk about the benefits, because one can ask, and is all this complication worth it? What would be the benefit and for whom the benefits of having smart employment contracts.

The first benefit is certainty and legal security for the worker, for the employer, but also for the government. Because the worker with a smart contract is sure that the law will be respected because it is already included in the algorithm that was designed, and the contract will comply exactly with the law and will not take a step if the previous condition is not met. His contributions will be poured in a timely manner, there will be no deviations from the contributions. The employer, in turn, will notably reduce its time and payroll administration costs, and it will also avoid errors, which sometimes imply errors that can end in individual, collective or union disputes for paying a payroll wrong.

 

For the government there are also benefits, the benefit of ensuring that employers comply with the regulations, avoiding tax evasion. Teh team of labor inspectors instead of going to the companies to check if the regulations are complied with, is no longer necessary. These inspectors can be referred to control occupational health and safety conditions, which are things that must be checked more in the territory.

 

On the other hand, the government can have information in real time on the functioning of the labor market, and this is vital for labor policies, because having that information in real time means that the government can react faster to different labor policies than different governments want to carry out at a certain time.

 

Dr. Gustavo Gauthier concludes that “the benefits can far outweigh the challenges and problems that may be posed in the design or in putting this type of contract into practice.

 

Dr. Agustina Pérez Comenale closes and comments that with all this there would be a lot of speed and order, which is lacking in this branch of law, and is both a public and a private benefit. All this experience is essential to inspire others, tomorrow with the Brum Costa platform and another, to start managing contracts in this way and move forward, because the biggest barrier is cultural.

 

ZirconTech-Management-Team

In a post pandemic world with hybrid work environments, ZirconTech aims to consolidate the global expansion delivering nearshore solutions and services in blockchain technologies and integrating cloud computing, DevOps, data science and artificial intelligence.

 

New York, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Montevideo, September 27th, 2021. The Board of ZirconTech is pleased to announce today that Andres Zunino has been appointed CEO of the company. An experienced business leader, who will lead the company strategy and growth, in order to consolidate the global expansion and assume responsibilities on October 1st.


With a background in Civil Engineering and Business Administration, Andres has developed a career initially in infrastructure companies and then in the telecommunications company Ericsson in the operations in Latin America, where he oversaw the operations in several countries. Andres started investing in several startups in 2015 with interest in emerging technologies, and in 2016 co-founded ZirconTech in the blockchain space with the domain expert Alejandro Narancio, CEO of Infuy. Andres completed an MBA in IEEM (University of Montevideo) and has extensive experience in telecommunications, mobile networks deployment and operations, large project implementations and financial planning. Andres has been involved in Ericsson operations in Latin America working with the most important telecommunications operators in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay.
So far he has been leading the management of the operations while Alejandro Narancio advised and guided the team from a technical point of view. In this journey, with central offices in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, ZirconTech grew and expanded customers to Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Unites States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Singapore and New Zealand, among others.

 

Andres Zunino CEO ZirconTech

Andres Zunino – CEO ZirconTech

 

In 2016 Andres and Alejandro founded the first professional services company focused on blockchain in Uruguay. Pioneering in the technology and with the support of ANII (National Agency for Innovation and Research of Uruguay), ZirconTech implemented a blockchain usage based insurance solution which in 2017 was shortlisted in the top ten applications in the Swiss Blockchain Competition organized by the Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CV VC).

 

While developing multiple blockchain projects involving different technologies, ZirconTech has been a pioneer in legal tech and a key partner of Monax, a UK and global leader in digital contracting using smart contracts; has developed a blockchain based notarization tool for many use cases and partnered with key blockchain platforms among other initiatives.

 

As part of this new organization restructure, Alejandro Narancio will serve in ZirconTech’s board as technology advisor while he continues leading the specialized nearshore company Infuy as Chief Executive Officer. Alejandro is a thought leader in blockchain technologies, international speaker, university professor, RSK Rootstock ambassador and RIF product owner. Before co-founding Infuy, Alejandro worked for Tata Consultancy Services for several United States financial services companies, spending extensive time at onsite operations in Minneapolis, Miami, Los Angeles and New York City.

 

Martin Machin, who had joined ZirconTech as board member by mid 2019, will focus his role on digital innovation, data science and artificial intelligence services. Martin is a mentor, investor and advisor to companies in information and emerging technologies, and previously was managing partner in Pyxis, the fastest growth IT company in Uruguay in the last decade, expanding to Latin America and North America. Before that, Martin led the Global Delivery Center of Tata Consultancy Services in Montevideo and was Head of the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance Area of the operation. He also worked at IBM, Conaprole, and Banco Comercial which was later acquired by Scotiabank, and was Artificial Intelligence professor in the Universidad Catolica del Uruguay.

 

Martin Liguori, Co-Founder of Infuy, has been working in ZirconTech supporting the service delivery and now will be promoted as Chief Operating Officer. Before co-founding Infuy, Martin worked in Tata Consultany Services delivering services to global customers. He has extensive experience in web application development and cloud infrastructure in mission critical operations.

 

Williams Olivera, a senior software and solution architect who has been leading several global projects in ZirconTech has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer and will guide the technology strategy. He has been involved in key global projects in ZirconTech and has performed a key role in the competency development in different blockchain technologies like the evolution of Ethereum into Quorum, Hyperledger, Hedera/Hashgraph, R3 Corda, etc. He was one of the first R3 Corda Certified Developers in Latin America. Williams is a Computer Science engineer who previously worked in the leading IT company from Uruguay Codigo del Sur.

 

In the context of the Blockchain world we have identified that in recent years it has been necessary to resolve certain common requirements as part of our global customers’ demands. As a response to the market ZirconTech is announcing the launch of its Notarizer seeking to use Blockchain technology as irrefutable proof of the existence of complex data types, such as documents, or in general any type of file.


Notarization plays an integral role in any legal transaction and negotiations. Notarized documents are an indication that the parties involved are genuine and can be trusted. In other words, the notary public provides a security level that prevents us from becoming victims of fraud.


With the emergence of technology in the business landscape, blockchain entered the picture to automate notarizations. The blockchain serves as storage for notarized records and documents. In this way, any unauthorized user will not be able to edit nor delete portions of the document.


Notarization blockchain technology ensures the integrity of data as soon as it enters the chain. It provides functionalities, including tampering-resistance, non-repudiation, and traceability.


In particular, a network like Ethereum’s is not suitable for handling large volumes of data or storing files, therefore a feasible solution is to calculate a hash that represents this file in a plain text format. that it can be stored as part of a block. Then, it will be the job of a centralized system to make sure to maintain the consistency that this hash saved in the blockchain corresponds to with its original file.


One of the main objectives, therefore, has been the implementation of a software product that provides the necessary functionalities to solve this problem, as well as other additional functionalities, in such a way that it is adaptable to multiple use cases.


What are the Benefits of Notarization with Blockchain?


ZirconTech Notarizer is a blockchain based product and brings a private, remote notary channel to address all your notary needs. This channel allows organizations to acquire notaries without having to step out of their homes or offices. Thus, ZirconTech Notarizer leverages notarization with blockchain to provide notary solutions to organizations across different industries. Notarization blockchain technology testifies to the documentation of proof of ownership to protect owners of their rights. Notarization via blockchain can also establish agreements across multiple parties. These documents can only be accessed and signed on the blockchain.


Notarizer main functionalities


The product offers a set of services and scales to add additional layers of integration.


Smart Contract and API Rest


Considering that the objective of this product is to achieve the notarization of documents in Blockchain, a series of Smart Contracts have been developed capable of processing the references to the documents together with their owner and other eventual additional information. ZirconTech offers a solution on the Ethereum network that can be extended to other Blockchains. On the other hand, the public functions of this Smart Contract are not accessed directly, and has been built an additional logical layer that interacts with these contracts and offers access to them in the form of REST services as well as other complementary functionalities that facilitate the data usability. Users must register in the system to use the functionalities. Communication with the API services can be authenticated through the use of API KEYS that the user will obtain after registering.


A web interface allows users to register and use the product, prioritized by registering files and viewing that they have been notarized. 


User sign-up


As an anonymous user you can register a new account in the system using an email and password. For this, there is a REST endpoint that allows the registration of new users. It is also possible to egister in the web interface.


The system persists this information in the database and creates an API KEY / API SECRET pair for the new user. The key pair is required in each request made to interact with the system.


The Notarizer also associates a new data set in the Smart Contract for this new API KEY, that is, the data is federated by user.


Account configuration


Users could access through a web interface to configure the following options:


Signature type: it can be Centralized, where the backend uses its own Wallet to sign all its notarizations on behalf of the user, or Client-side, where the users could connect their wallets using Metamask and other options to be defined and must sign and authorize the documents to be processed.


A maximum gas price limit that you are willing to pay for your transactions (help texts are displayed to the user).


A switch to persist the files, in which case it is decided if the files that are uploaded for notarization should be stored by the system and made available to the user or if, on the contrary, the file is not stored and simply its hash is calculated.


Optionally, it is allowed to enter an email address where you will be notified when a new document has been registered. It is also possible to granulate these types of notifications in greater detail.


Document Notification


As an existing user, you could “notify” a new document or file, that is, to create a record in the Blockchain of its existence.


The Notarizer provides an endpoint that allows users to receive a file and from it create a hash that will be entered into the blockchain for this user. At the same time, this mapping is also entered in the database for easy access.


The response to the user is the hash of the transaction that contains the information that represents the original file, and optionally, the user can send additional data to identify the document that will also be added to the block as part of the transaction.


This functionality is available through the web interface.


Getting my notifications


A user can access the list of their previously created notifications. The configuration section shows information about the processed documents and a link to view them in the Blockchain explorer and, if they have been persisted, download them.


Additionally, a summary of the ETH expenses of the transactions is shown. The Notarizer provides an endpoint to access this information-


Document validation


The Notarizer offers an endpoint in its API to validate that a document exists in the Blockchain as well as a web interface that allows uploading the file and visualizing if it exists in the blockchain. The Notarizer receives the file, calculate its hash and search for the corresponding record in the Blockchain.  The answer is an error if it does not exist or the transaction if the document is valid and exists.


Payment of transactions


Since the insertions in the Blockchain network have an associated cost, it is assumed this cost in one of two ways:



  • If the user has selected the option for the system to centralize the notarizations, the associated expenses are calculated and accumulated in the user’s account. This involves integration with a payment system, also accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. Users must select a cost control so as not to generate excessive consumption outside of what was planned. The Notarizer incorporates a cost optimization mechanism.



  • Alternatively, users bear the costs associated with signing client-side notarizations using an electronic wallet such as Metamask or similar, or even an HSM device.


How does notarization with blockchain help businesses flourish?


Notarization with blockchain has several benefits to organizations, but here are key points on how they helped businesses flourish:


Secured Storage of Notarized Documents


The primary goal of notarization is to certify the authenticity of any document. Notarization blockchain technology leverages various automated tools to carry out this goal seamlessly and quickly. On top of that, users can secure the storage of notarized documents on the blockchain. This organized and infinite storage process allows them to retrieve the agreement when needed and detect any changes made through the timestamps attached to every document.


Encrypted Documents Providing Users With Private Access


A majority of notary services require user information for creating an account and proof of ownership. This security measure happens on their system database for your notarization needs. The transaction ID and the user account information in the database often reside outside the blockchain. This measure gives security to the users considering that most authentication services happen on the blockchain system. They would only take a hash of the document to verify the proof of ownership of the user to notarize documents.


Moreover, the transaction ID integrates encryption to documents for easy retrieval. User account information helps perform cross-checks of the document’s ownership before its release.


Transfer Document Ownership Seamlessly


With notarization service blockchain, organizations can transfer ownership of documents seamlessly. The system would first verify the ownership of a specific form through the user account that acted. Blockchain technology locates the certificate authority system that confirms the blockchain’s bounded blocks’ data.


Users can quickly transfer document ownership by following these steps:



  • Like modifying any legal record, the system identifies the user through the previously recorded transactions used for verification.

  • The transaction identification verification will then create a signature for the user in the data field.

  • Notarization blockchain technology prompts the hash verification and signature storage on the duration of deploying the contract.


Case studies


Global Share 


Global Share is a company dedicated to the continuous improvement of business processes, providing innovative solutions to companies to add up value and competitive advantage by improving their processes productivity. As a major milestone in Global Share/edoxOnline history, the company launched a service for the preparation, issuance, signing, transmission, negotiation and presentation of the electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL). Zircon Tech has been a key partner implementing blockchain technology in the solution architecture.


Zircon Tech helped Global Share in the implementation of the solution that tracks the changes in the documentation over time and ensures tamper proof and no possibility of modifying the information of the same. Zircon Tech proposed to identify the documents through hashes (SHA256) and then leave the same “notarized” in the Ethereum blockchain using a document ID and the mentioned hash. Each change in the document is registered using the corresponding ID and hash update. For this project a smart contract was developed using Solidity and an API using Node JS.


Global Share’s edoxOnline electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL) meets its customers’ expectations and business needs, going paperless and efficient. Particularly, in the midst of the complications that the coronavirus has presented for the trade of products linked to agriculture, these Argentine’s developments facilitated the electronic transmission of documents through the digitization of processes representing a great advantage, and has been used by firms like Cargill, Bunge and Dreyfus. In COVID-19 times, this application helped a lot to avoid obstacles to the agricultural trade.


Prova Technology 


Prova Technology is a US technology company working with universities in the process of certification of diplomas. Prova Technology has partnered with ZirconTech to implement the notarization services to start engaging with United States universities to issue diploma certifications for the graduated students.


ZirconTech


ZirconTech has developed a Notarizer version based on Hedera Hashgraph (https://hedera.com/), a proof-of-stake public network, powered by hashgraph consensus.


More information:

The world’s financial system is going through a lot of changes today. You must have felt its heat during the crashes of the crypto market, or through the promises of blockchain applications. It’s not new, and it all began almost a decade ago. Most of us were unaware of this ongoing revolution but, there are few, who looked under the hood, and became contributors to this world-changing technology. 


In an interview, Andres Zunino, COO of ZirconTech, told that he and his team were looking for innovative ideas to invest in since 2013, and at the end of 2015, they finally found blockchain, as their worthy candidate. They wanted to build something on top of this emerging technology and chose the blockchain insurance application, which later got presented at a prestigious blockchain competition.


As you may have heard time to time, our current financial infrastructure is “centralized” and has a lot of problems and loopholes in it. There are people who abuse their power, systems that fail from time to time, countless scams, public frauds, and a lot more day-to-day hassles that consumers go through. What if we tell you that we can replace each and every segment of this huge system with blockchain technology, and you will never see such problems ever again!


We have a long way to go but, it is possible. Let us elaborate …


Blockchain Explained


What is Blockchain?


The applications of blockchain can be tricky and difficult to understand, but its underlying concept is pretty simple. According to CB Insightsdefinition, “Blockchain technology offers a way for untrusted parties to reach consensus on a common digital history”.


You might ask, how can I trust this so-called common digital history? What if it has tampered with?


The reason people trust this common ledger is that it lives on the blockchain, which makes it unhackable. This is the beauty of this technology, where it shines the most. It provides immutability, transparency, and, of course, decentralization. 


Nobody can tamper with its data or took over the control because blockchain’s architecture distributes “data and control” over a network of computers (also called nodes). Changing data on one or a few nodes will not affect the entire blockchain, and hence the modified or malicious transaction will not be approved, assuring the integrity of the data. This way, it protects its assets and the credibility of transactions happening all around the world.



In comparison to this decentralized mechanism, centralized storage systems are highly vulnerable because there is a single point of failure. One misconfigured security setting can collapse the databases and the entire system of control. Unlike blockchain, there is no way for us to trust that all the transactions are valid in a centralized infrastructure. We just have to believe that the transaction history is not yet hacked. 


In addition to the inherent security feature that decentralization provides, blockchain uses cryptographic hashing techniques to protect the personal information on the network. Only the right person with a valid private key can access certain associated information, and no one else.


Example Usecase


Let’s take an example to understand how a typical currency transaction takes place:


Say there are two parties, Alice (the sender) and Bob (the receiver).  Both, Alice and Bob, have their respective wallets, and each wallet has 2 keys, one public key, and one private key. 


Supposing that initially both have zero funds in their wallets and Alice wants to send 1 ETH to Bob. To do so, she accesses her wallet using her private key and initializes the funds from, let’s say, the bank. To receive the payment, Bob provides his wallet’s public key to Alice to use as an address. Alice can now initiate the transfer and once the transaction is completed, updated funds get reflected in Bob’s wallet. 


In this process, there is a small gas fee involved. That means, to transfer exactly 1 ETH to Bob, Alice needs to pay some extra fee on top of the principal amount. This fee is necessary to power the blockchain network. It serves as an incentive for the miners who use their computational power to validate transactions.


Mining and its Mechanism


Mining is the process of adding new coins into circulation and it is also important for the maintenance and development of the blockchain ledger. Miners provide their enormous computational power to solve an abstract mathematical equation, a cryptographic hash generated by each transaction. For every valid transaction that is solved, a new block is added to the blockchain. The hash value of this freshly generated block is dependent on the hash value of its previous block and the details of the transaction. This is called the “proof-of-work” mechanism, on which most of the famous cryptocurrencies operate, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc …


So as you can see, in the whole process, there is no centralized entity involved who is making the decisions. It is a self-sustaining system that can power the entire financial system of the planet.


Cryptocurrencies: The Bloodline of Decentralized Applications



According to Investopedia, a cryptocurrency, as the name suggests, is a cryptographically secured virtual/digital currency that is impossible to counterfeit or double spend. Usually, it is based on blockchain technology, which is simply a distributed ledger. No government or central authority has controls over it, and it is famous for its portability, transparency, and inflation resistance quality.


There are different types of cryptocurrencies present in the market, bitcoin being the most famous among all. Bitcoin is considered the father of all cryptocurrencies and every other variant comes under the category of “Altcoins”. Combinedly, the value of all cryptocurrencies adds up to 1.5 trillion dollars (USD), where BTC captures more than ⅗ of the market.


So let’s have a look at the top cryptocurrencies in the market:-


Bitcoin


Back in 2009, a mysterious person with the pseudonym, “Satoshi Nakamoto”, released a whitepaper containing a revolutionizing concept, which later resulted in the creation of Bitcoin. That whitepaper came with the promise of lower transaction fees than the traditional payment gateways which were controlled by the banks and huge private organizations. It offered a decentralized solution to the banking that nobody controls, an incorruptible infrastructure, that can power the global financial markets.


Consequently, Bitcoin became super popular and it triggered the development of hundreds of other cryptocurrencies. Today, it is often abbreviated as BTC in the trading markets and referred to as “digital gold”.


Ethereum


Like Bitcoin, it is also a blockchain platform, with the associated currency called Ether (or ETH). Currently, It is also working on the proof-of-work concept and they’re planning to shift it to a proof-of-stake mechanism in later 2022. The new version will be called Ethereum 2.0. 


This blockchain is famous among decentralized application developers because it allows them to deploy smart contracts using the Solidity programming language. In terms of market value, it is around 266.83 Billion dollars in capital, right next to Bitcoin. Most of the tokens that you see on the exchanges are built on top of Ethereum, which powers a variety of DApps (Decentralized Applications) in the industry.


Stablecoins


Stablecoins is a category of cryptocurrency that aims to provide a stable market price on the exchanges. Unlike their other volatile counterparts, they are backed by some reserved assets, called collateralization, so their value is derived from an external reference. For example, a stablecoin can be pegged with the US Dollar, or with some commodity like gold.


Examples of Stablecoins include, 


  • Tether (USDT)
  • Binance USD (BUSD)
  • True USD (TUSD)
  • Paxos Standard (PAX), also knows as PAX Gold

Altcoins


The term, Altcoin, refers to every cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. It is a combination of 2 words, “Alt” and “Coin”. Stablecoins, utility tokens, security tokens, etc…, all come under this category. 


Collectively, Altcoins captures around 2/5th of the total cryptocurrency market, with more than 9000 variants listed on the exchanges. As of March 2021, ETH and BNB had the largest market capitalization and they’re still growing. This term will most probably refer to the mining-based cryptocurrencies only, in the future, as we move towards other than proof-of-work-based technologies.


How to become a Blockchain Company?



Implementing Smart Contracts


Smart Contracts are the programs that are deployed on the blockchain network. They get executed when some predetermined conditions are met, for example, to automate a legal agreement or a financial transaction. Smart contracts are being popularly used in certain Voting Systems, Financial Services, Healthcare, etc …


Since they don’t need any intermediary, malpractices by third parties can be avoided and the whole process can be automated, saving a lot of business hours. Apart from that, all the documents are backed up automatically and the strong encryption of the blockchain algorithm takes care of the safety from any kind of infiltration.


ICOs: Initial Coin Offering


ICO is the new IPO, but with much less hassle.


The term ICO stands for “Initial Coin Offering”. It is similar to a real-world IPO (Initial Public Offering) of the company but, it happens entirely on a blockchain network. It is mainly used by technical people for raising funds for decentralized projects that have some potential in the future.


In the interview, Andres Zunino briefly pointed out his initial struggles as, 


“We needed to dedicate a lot of effort to research, test, and develop competencies. We are happy with the point reached today thanks to the initial funding, the support from the Research and Innovation Agency in Uruguay, and all the dedicated effort”


Today, several startups are opting for ICOs for fundraising, instead of sharing a piece of their company with venture capitalists. Launching an ICO requires only two things: a spectacular announcement, and a digital campaign. In return for the money that is invested, the blockchain company provides utility tokens, that can be used in the future for using their decentralized service.


NFTs: Non-Fungible Tokens


NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. In layman’s terms, non-fungibility means unique and irreplaceable. Unlike a normal currency, which is fungible, NFTs derive their value from their uniqueness and scarcity in the market.


All the currencies that you see in the market are fungible, including Bitcoin, Ether, etc… Theoretically, a 10 dollar bill in my pocket is equivalent to a 10 dollar bill in your pocket. This is called being fungible. But in the case of NFT, an original digital asset, say any artwork, cannot be replaced by a replica of the same, despite being exactly identical. NFTs provide a stamp of originality that cannot be corrupted.


You would not pay the same price for a Mona Lisa’s duplicate, as you would pay for the original one, however real it may look. Would you?


If you want an in-depth understanding of NFTs, we highly recommend this article.



Blockchain-based ID Protection


Today, blockchain technology has made Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) possible. The ideology behind this is to give control to the individuals over the usage of their identity. This means you can register yourself, with the accurate details, on an unalterable decentralized database and use the generated unique identity hash to represent yourself online. In comparison to the centralized identity management systems, it is much more secure and reliable. This technology has the potential to completely change the way how we interact with different online services.


DeFi: Decentralized Finance


Decentralized Finance refers to a new financial system that is transparent and gives control to the user over his/her accounts. It provides you with the option to interact with the global markets using alternate currencies, instead of using government-issued fiat. As of now, tens of billions of dollars have been pumped into it via cryptocurrencies and it’s still growing. Anyone with an internet connection can use these services, and no one can deny access to them or choke your payments. No human errors are possible in these self-sustaining systems, which makes them much faster than their traditional counterparts.


Fact: A group of crypto-enthusiasts in Argentina used DeFi to escape inflation.


Associated risks with Crypto


Extremely Volatile Market Prices


If you have been crypto-trading for some time, then you know what we’re talking about. There is great instability in the prices of crypto due to its unregulated nature, which makes them extremely high-risk investment tools. You need to understand it deeply before jumping into the sea of crypto. Currently, the market sentiment for cryptocurrencies is very uncertain, which leads to sharp and unexpected price movements frequently. 


To keep your portfolio in crypto, you need a strong risk appetite.


Vulnerable Smart Contracts


Smart contracts are self-executing, unalterable, autonomous programs that live on the blockchain networks. In the land of decentralized applications, smart contracts give birth to the philosophy, “Code is Law”. But, is it a good thing or a bad thing? If there is a vulnerability or loophole in a smart contract, then exploiting it is acceptable or not? Is it any different from the situation where a lawyer bends the law to suit his client? It’s an ongoing debate in the crypto community with no clear answer.


Smart contracts that power DApps are difficult, or sometimes impossible, to change once they’re deployed on the network. So if any mistakes are made, then you’ll have to deploy it again before it’s too late. That’s why rigorous testing of all the external functions of a contract is quintessential.


On 20th July 2016, the original Ethereum Blockchain Network was hacked due to a small vulnerability in a smart contract, which enabled hackers to siphon off almost 33% of the funds to a subsidiary account. To restore all the funds, the Ethereum community hard-forked a new branch and essentially had to split Ethereum into two. The original Ethereum continued as “Ethereum Classic”, whereas the new, unhacked, branch is now called “Ethereum”.



Lost Cold Storage


The term, Cold Storage, refers to the offline crypto wallet that is not connected or dependent on an internet connection. This protects it from all kinds of cyberattacks, hacks, and vulnerabilities that a normal online digital wallet possesses. But, its prime advantage is also its worst disadvantage. There have been several cases in the past, that you might’ve heard of, where the owner has lost large sums of crypto in his/her cold storage which now worth millions of dollars.


Government Restrictions


Without a doubt, we’re in the middle of a crypto-revolution and most of the countries acknowledge this fact. Today, governments all around the world are working on “regulating” the usage of cryptocurrencies and making and modifying constitutional laws for this new financial system. The pros of this technology outweigh the cons, hence, accepting this change is their best move.


But unfortunately, there are countries like Iran, Bolivia, North Macedonia, etc… that do not see the good side of implementing cryptocurrencies. They have restricted its usage and declared it illegal in their jurisdiction. Hence the development of Blockchain technology is difficult, if not impossible, in those parts of the world. And for blockchain-based companies, it presents a new challenge when they try to go global.


Why should you care about this transformation?


The world is transforming rapidly, faster than ever. Businesses and organizations are automating their transactions with blockchain networks, and rebuilding their services in a decentralized manner. 


Andres describes the usage of blockchain technology  as, “Dramatically simplifies financial processes, being a self-maintained network that substantially increases the security and efficiency of transactions.”


This dramatic shift towards crypto is due to the increase in public awareness. People now know about all the benefits that decentralization provides and why it’s necessary. If your business does not adapt according to this changing digital landscape, it will soon be ex-communicated and vanished.



In the interview also, Andres mentioned the increasing awareness over there as:


“In Uruguay, the blockchain movement really started this year [2017], because several people started to talk about it and because IBM is pushing a lot the IBM Hyperledger blockchain services.”


On the personal level, he and his team started contributing ever before that: Andres said, “it was Alejandro who started the Blockchain meetups in Montevideo in 2015”!


The rate of social adoption and technological advancements in this field are exponential and the future applications of blockchain are beyond our imagination. If implemented correctly, it provides you with impenetrable security and an inherent data backup system. You can leverage other DeFi services and present new and exciting features to your customers. You can sell utility tokens or security tokens that can help you in fundraising and power your platform. 


With so many things going on, one thing is absolutely certain, that blockchain isn’t going anywhere soon. Either welcome it with open arms or be left out.


How to incorporate a blockchain-based solution into your existing infrastructure?


Adding new payment gateways for crypto


There are numerous crypto payment gateways out there, but BTC is still considered and accepted as the standard form of receiving payment. There are several bitcoin payment gateways in the market, like Coinbase, Coingate, CoinsBank, etc …, that provide you with all the integration facilities that you’ll need. 


By adding these payment gateways, you can attract new customer segments that prefer cryptocurrencies over fiat. Also, if you happen to provide a sensitive service, where confidentiality is the key, then integration of such crypto payment gateways is the perfect choice for you.



Creating Smart contracts


We know, that for most businesses, automating everything with smart contracts is near impossible. It is also true that not everything can be automated through smart contracts. But, there are areas in any organization that can benefit from such automation. Like several legal aspects that follow a fixed standard procedure, or business logic that can be encoded for faster execution. To develop and deploy smart contracts within your blockchain company, coders and business experts must join their hands and work together.


In regards to the success of smart contracts, Andres believes in the power of Ethereum, since it is the most popular blockchain network where smart contracts are deployed. 


“As long as the community continues to develop in Ethereum, it will be required ethers so that the smart contracts can be executed by the nodes, and therefore will have demand.”


Conclusion


Throughout the article, we explained blockchain, how it works, what are its application, what are the risks involved, and how you can incorporate blockchain solutions into your existing business infrastructure. We also saw that Andres and his team were talking about this revolution long before it became trendy in the eyes of the commonwealth. In the realm of technology, first movers always get the advantage, but it’s not too late. Now it’s up to you to use this information and create something valuable.


YOU CAN BE INTERESTED IN THESE ARTICLES TOO:
1. Benefits of Notarization with Blockchain
2. Smart Contracts with blockchain: Monax success story
3. Smart contracts with blockchain: Clause.io business case

About ZirconTech: A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.