In April 2018 Monax introduced the Agreements Network, a decentralized contract management system for small businesses. Over the course of the past year, Monax has been engaged in a deep process of defining, refining, and building a public blockchain product and Zircon Tech is pleased to have contributed developing some pieces using Hyperledger Burrow. Now with the launch of the Monax platform, Zircon Tech will work with the legal industry in Latin America to implement practical solutions to address specific business cases.
The Agreements Network is a decentralized contract management platform that uses smart contract technology to create, prove, and operate legal agreements. It’s built to revolutionize the way lawyers, businesses, and consumers transact across the globe. The foundation of The Agreements Network consists of blockchain data assurance, along with smart contract Archetypes and Active Agreements.
Active Agreements combine legal templates with smart contract formation, execution and fulfillment workflows to create more useful legal products, by design. Users running blockchain nodes in The Agreements Network upload legal contracts, documents and instruments along with smart contract workflows to create packages we call Archetypes.
Consumers purchase these Archetypes to produce Active Agreements, individual contracts that automate many of the rights and obligations of parties. Active Agreements are extensible, scalable, computable legal products that operate efficiently, promote better decisions and open new value streams for global markets.
The Agreements Network revamps the outdated processes of the legal industry with a product created to keep pace with a rapidly-evolving networked world. One of the biggest problems the world currently has is that legal instruments and legal services providers are largely unable to provide relevant transactional legal services to their customers. While the problem is mostly hidden, nearly every business interaction between companies – in other words, basically all commercial activity – happens because there’s a legal contract underlying the interaction. However, as commerce continues to evolve there is a growing chasm between the traditional world that pin-stripe-suited lawyers in leather chairs operate in and the real world.
This chasm is in evidence not only between law firms and their business clients, but also between the legal function of a business and the rest of its operations. In this second case, it’s a non-controversial observation that while nearly every back office activity exists as the result of a legal contract, legal itself is the least digitized area of any back office. The advent of smart contract and blockchain technology opens up – for the very first time – a technical basis on which scalable, technically enabled legal products can be built and delivered to the market. And with The Agreements Network, an ecosystem is emerging to provide a strong and stable base on which to build those products. As network-based business models continue to evolve the demand for scalable, relevant legal products will continue to increase. Legal services providers who do not adapt to the changing landscape will find themselves behind extremely quickly due to the pace of technological change.
The Agreements Network Architecture
The Agreements Network’s architecture leverages robust interconnected distributed systems. The Agreements Network is configured to significantly reduce the operational costs to users. By operating a sharded and optimized zone, the Agreements Network is able to interact with Ethereum smart contracts without being exposed to backlogs or attacks in transactional processing within the Ethereum public blockchain.
Hyperledger Burrow is the base blockchain node used for the Agreements Network. The Go programing language is used to build all the necessary tools. This has been an area where the team of Zircon Tech in Latin America has been working with Monax New York team. This work has been mutually exciting, including some portions of ChainCode, and now Zircon Tech is working with Monax legal team in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, to go into actual use cases for customers in Latin America.
Monax started as Eris Industries and Zircon Tech started the conversations in 2015, and continued very good conversations since Consensus 2016 in New York. Since then, Monax has written more than 19.000 lines of Solidity code that now has been made public to build legal solutions as part of the Blackstone initiative, where has been released the first business process engine run entirely via smart contracts. Utilizing the engine, users can build a variety of blockchain-specific products without needing to necessarily write code themselves. Instructions given via a BPMN model enable the reliable orchestration of human resources, on-chain scripts and off-chain legacy systems across companies within an ecosystem. Monax is leveraging this engine as a core component of the Agreements Network, the open blockchain ecosystem for the creation, distribution and operation of legal agreements, which is redefining how legal products and services support the networked economy.
With lot of effort spent coding in Solidity, how hyperledger came into the picture? Hyperleder is an umbrella and particularly Monax has been actively working with Hyperledger Burrow, which is one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. Hyperledger Burrow was originally contributed by Monax and co-sponsored by Intel. Hyperledger Burrow provides a modular blockchain client with a permissioned smart contract interpreter developed to the specification of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). All the code wrote in Solidity runs in the EVM on Burrow, all the code is reusable.