Amy Wan, Founder and CEO of Sagewise and Building Crypto LegalTech Solutions
Amy Wan, Sagewise Founder and CEO joins us to discuss the smart contract LegalTech solutions they’re building at Sagewise. We go over her background, how she moved from the traditional legal space and into LegalTech, what smart contracts are, dispute resolution, and the tools they’re building at Sagewise to handle dispute resolution. Another episode of people building usable tools in this space.
Here’s a transcript of QuantLayer Crypto Podcast #19.
The episode in its entirety can be listened to here:
QuantLayer is a software consultancy based in Brooklyn, New York. All opinions expressed by podcast guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinions of QuantLayer. The information presented should not be construed as investment advice. Guests may maintain positions and assets mentioned in the podcast.
Vikram: Hey, everyone. We got QuantLayer here. Vikram speaking. I’m joined by Faizaan, also known as the Wizard. We are also joined by Amy Wan of Sagewise Legal. Thanks for joining us, Amy.
Amy: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Vikram: Of course. So, Faizaan and I always joke that we need a lawyer to ask all of our important crypto and legal questions to so it’s pretty awesome to have you here to talk to us.
Amy: I guess that’s what makes me popular in this space, huh?
Vikram: Yeah. So, first off, we love to start the show off with some controversy, so you tweeted something that was a little controversial so I just wanted to ask you about it. So this is from your Twitter. “I laugh when Westerners argue about decentralization. Only a few people in the world really control Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc., and they’re all in China and don’t give a damn about decentralization.” So, just wanted to ask you about that.
Amy: Yeah, so, you know, like my CTO and I, we’re all sitting here talking about decentralization, like what does it really mean, is there a spectrum of decentralization, and you see all these ICO and crypto projects, right, and they’re always like, oh, everything’s going to be open source, everything is going to be peer-to-peer and decentralized and, you know, like no centralization, and yet the entire space is owned by people who really don’t care about that. I mean, you know, electricity in China is so cheap that there’s like a couple main Bitcoin miners. There are a couple more main Ethereum miners. They’ve amassed a fortune in crypto, right? I think I saw some article the other day about like, you know, Bitcoin cash is basically primarily owned by, you know, one of these huge miners who owns a ton of Bitcoin and they’ve taken that wealth and they’re diversifying it into other tokens and ICOs and things so that’s where — but at the end of the day — and I’ve talked to some of these people before, they don’t care about decentralization. In fact, they have only ever lived under a form of government that is not only centralized, it’s pretty much authoritarian, right? So I find the rhetoric between the East and the West in this space so funny because the West is so philosophical about all that stuff and the East doesn’t care, they only care about money.
Vikram: That is an interesting point. So, tell us about your background. How did you get into the space? You know, what were you doing I guess before crypto?
Amy: Yeah. So I started my career in the federal government doing international trade and regulatory affairs, and if you know about working in government, you know that it is very bureaucratic and very slow and very frustrating sometimes so I basically started taking an online coding class through Coursera and one of our assignments was to make a web page and ask people for Bitcoin. Unfortunately, I did not do that assignment, which I regret today, but that’s kinda how I like first found out about it and then when I moved from DC back to LA, I wanted to find a new area of law to practice in, I didn’t want to do like the same old like, oh, personal injury or whatever, right? Like I just didn’t really find that super exciting so that’s when I started looking into the space some more but then Mt. Gox happened and I kinda hid out in the crowdfunding world for a while, and then, the past couple years, I’ve been practicing as a security attorney and when I left my partnership at my law firm in early 2017, I was having all these people call me being like, “Hey, be our attorney for ICO,” and I was like, nah, I want to do more scalable things nowadays like, you know, I really left my law firm to start a legal technology company, and so with all these people calling me, I was kind of like reintroduced back into the space. I looked around and I thought this is really weird. Why is it that every week there are ICOs getting hacked for two or three or seven million dollars and, you know, the founders are kind of sitting there, shrugging their shoulders, going like, “Oh, sorry, there’s nothing we can do,” and the cryptocurrency investors are — just seemed like fine with randomly losing value and I thought, man, like this blockchain thing cannot take off unless until you seed the ecosystem with more transactional confidence and certainty because so long as people feel more comfortable, more confident transacting using credit cards where they can dispute something, they’re never going to adopt blockchain where like, oh, I was slightly careless with my keys and now they’re gone, like everything’s vaporized, right, and so that’s what my company does today. We pivoted in 2017 and we basically create a safety net for smart contracts and what that really means is it’s dispute resolution infrastructure for the smart contract and blockchain ecosystem so that there is more transactional confidence, more transactional certainty, and I kinda liken it to, you know, when eBay, PayPal, and Alibaba and Amazon back in the early nineties, people were afraid to buy stuff online because, again, there was no transactional confidence and certainty but then they put into place reputation and dispute resolution mechanisms and now it’s completely normal to transact online, right, and so that’s really the ultimate goal here, to really bolster the system.
Vikram: Yeah. It’s an interesting point because I know my parents, you know, are pretty conservative about how — they typically don’t even like to use credit card, they like to pay for things either by check or in cash.
Vikram: And I remember — yeah, exactly, so I remember when I was a kid, like even to my teenage years, like they never wanted to put down a credit card online, let alone online, if they don’t anywhere else, so it’s interesting how that’s changed because they are totally comfortable now buying stuff online with a credit card using Amazon and all that.
Amy: Yeah. Definitely.
Faizaan: Yeah, and that term transactional confidence, I find interesting because we’ve talked before about it’s really important for the space to see more institutional money and one of the big things holding that back is custody and insurance but the insurance piece is really sort of like what happens when things go wrong but what’s interesting here is adding the arbitration as it’s sort of somewhere in between there where things don’t have to go wrong before, you know –
Amy: Yeah, and I’ll just throw in there, because I know in this space right now there’s like when we talk about this problem everyone uses the term arbitration. Actually, I hate that term. I prefer to use the term dispute resolution because arbitration implies that there’s like an external human being that sits there and helps you resolve the issue but in many cases this, a, is as simple as customer service, right, it’s not necessarily arbitration, and then, b, you don’t even have to have humans to do it, right, like if all dispute resolution in this space is done by humans then we’re taking a huge step back in terms of technology because, you know, eBay, PayPal, they have automated bots that resolve sixty million disputes a year and only 5 percent of those are ever touched by a human being, so I don’t believe it should all be done by human beings.
Vikram: Got it. Yeah, that’s super interesting. So your company is Sagewise, correct?
Vikram: Okay. And as far as dispute resolution goes, can you give a couple examples of how Sagewise would fit into some disputes.
Amy: Yeah. So, I will say that we are blockchain agnostic and dispute resolution process agnostic, so that means we don’t actually sit there and resolve your dispute. What we’re actually doing is building the infrastructure that enables you to initiate and resolve a dispute in the first place which you really can’t do today in this space, right, and so it’s everything from — you know, we start off with an SDK that I explain to laypeople is kind of like an arbitration clause in code form. You take it, you copy and paste it into your SDK and when you’re doing that, you set up certain parameters like, hey, I would like my transactions to be delayed by twelve hours or I’m pre-appointing this third-party dispute resolution vendor to handle any disputes that might arise, right? That paired with Contract Canary — Contract Canary is our notification monitoring system, and it will notify you about how your smart contract is about to execute, so if one day you wake up and you say, hey, someone is trying to take out like a hundred times from my smart contract, you’re like, hmm, that’s kind of weird, that’s probably not right, someone’s probably trying to hack it, let me go ahead and press the freeze button and once you do that, it makes sure that your smart contract does not execute and it gives you the luxury of time to sit there and figure out what exactly is going on so whether it’s fixing a coding bug, patching a security vulnerability, upgrading or terminating your smart contract or self-resolving or using a third party to resolve a dispute, you can certainly do those things, and at the very end are collection enforcement tools because I think that’s one of the beautiful things about blockchain, right, is this beautiful enforcement mechanism that we don’t even have in the real world today because global trade and cross-border trade are, like you buy something from a merchant out in China, like you’re probably never going to get your money back, they can just like shut down the factory and move across the street and you’d never be the wiser, right? There’s — in the real world, it’s very hard nowadays to have real teeth, real enforcement, because we’ve gone so global as opposed to just localized communities. And then the last piece, the most aspirational piece to all of this, is the entire system sits on what we call a private digital jurisdiction, and the reason for that is because I’ve seen, as an attorney, like I often have to avail my client in contracts like New York law or Chinese law or Dubai law and I think that’s crazy, like no one sits there and researches law in all these different jurisdictions and it’s a huge transactional cost thing too, right, like look at these ICOs, now you want to do an ICO or an STO, you have to go higher counsel in fifty different countries if you want to sell your tokens in fifty different countries. I just think that’s insane. It’s not a great way to do business, and so we want to create, you know, a private digital jurisdiction where it’s just a base set of at least contract law so business law where it’s harmonious no matter what country or what jurisdiction you are transacting from and so long as you opt in then everyone’s on the same playing field.
Vikram: Yep. I guess I have a followup legal question related to that outside of blockchain. So say ten years ago, or even now, I just don’t know if it exists, is there any notion of kind of like an international company or like a jurisdictionalist company, if that makes any sense?
Amy: You know, so the idea for a private digital jurisdiction is not nearly as crazy as it sounds, right? There are places around the world where there are special economic zones so those, for example, may have interesting jurisdictional aspects. There have been, you know, experiments where people will buy land and just have their own jurisdiction. For example, like in the US, you know, like the Native American territories. They are their own sovereign, their own jurisdiction, right? So the only real interesting aspect about what we’re doing is we’re separating that concept from any sort of physical location and bringing it into the digital realm.
Vikram: Got you. So, it looks like you guys raised a million-and-a-quarter-dollar seed round about a month ago. Congrats.
Amy: Oh, thanks. It’s actually a couple months ago. It took the press release a little while to come out, but yeah.
Vikram: That’s awesome, that’s awesome. So, you mind walking us through that process and what that was like? What’s the fundraising environment like for blockchain and smart contract entrepreneurs?
Amy: Yeah, so that’s a really interesting question. When we set out to raise at the end of 2017, we thought we were going to do an ICO and for those just tuning in, my background, I’m a securities attorney and so when I went to talk to a couple crypto whales, they were like, “Oh, we want massive discounts and instant liquidity,” and I was like, well, that’s illegal and I’m pretty sure I’m held to a higher bar so I don’t –
Vikram: Yeah, it’s also not the partner you would want necessarily.
Amy: Yeah, yeah. I mean, what they were asking for, I was like you’re not a true investor, you don’t even have to believe in what you’re doing — you’re a speculator, right, like you’re not going to be there — you’re going to dump the first opportunity you can and so, based on that experience, we decided like, okay, like the type of token sale that we would want to do, the world is not there yet, right, and so we just went and raised a more traditional seed round and it was an interesting experience for many reasons. One is we’re based in Los Angeles, and LA, I would say, when it comes to start-ups, is, I mean, there is a lot of like blockchain, crypto stuff happening here but I would say the start-up community here is very practical, right, like there’s not as much venture money down here as there is up in SF and so people are more attuned to revenue, to marketing, things like that, you know, down here like people are open and excited about the next big blockchain that will be like the Mozilla Firefox or the Google Chrome, right, not the Netscape Navigator, whereas we took a lot of flights up to San Francisco and Silicon Valley and we were actually invited to a lot of VCs who basically asked us to teach them about blockchain and had never made a blockchain investment and we soon realized that those –
Vikram: Oh, really?
Amy: Yeah. They were kind of a waste of time. And then even if we did talk to folks who actually knew about block chain, we found that San Francisco is a very Ethereum-centric city, right, and my guess on why that is is because San Francisco judges everything by metrics and traction and Ethereum right now is, at least in 2017, was the blockchain with lots of — probably the only blockchain with significant amount of traction, although, you know, now they have a lot of competitors today, and so I found that when you’re asking for an investment in a blockchain start-up, unfortunately — you know, blockchain is a technology but it comes with all this philosophical dogma and, you know, one of the first things people would say to us is, “Well, isn’t code law?” and I was like no, well, law is law, right? Code and, you know, language are merely forms of communicating intent but, sure, code is increasingly law until it isn’t, right, until it breaks, until something isn’t right. So on that aspect, it was interesting, and, you know, just from the second, from a more personal note, I was like very pregnant while I was racing around and that was –
Amy: Yeah. It was definitely not easy and I think that whole situation, a, it made me hustle harder, that’s what it felt like. I had to like get everything into order before I actually had the baby, right?
Vikram: Of course, yeah.
Amy: But, b, it’s — there’s a lot of talk today around like, oh, female founders and, you know, implicit bias and stuff like that and I think that was kind of like the pinnacle of having to deal with it because I wasn’t just a female founder, now I was like a “pregnant, minority, at the very beginning solo” female founder so it’s all been a very interesting journey.
Vikram: Right. How did you find your CTO?
Amy: Yeah, so, you know, like I said, I’ve been involved in crowdfunding, I’ve always been kind of interested in blockchain, and so the blockchain community has always kind of just been very, very small up until 2017 and so when I read there was a blockchain panel, there was only a couple folks that were ever invited to sit on it, right, so that’s basically how I met my CTO and we kept in touch that way and in LA I have a group called the Legal Hackers Meetup so in January of 2017 I actually invited him over to explain to my group smart contracts and the DOW and actually when he was talking about the DOW, I was like, hmm, this sounds like a security, like, it sounds like a fund, right, so we kept in touch and then like when I started thinking about this problem, he was one of the first people I called up and he was very excited because, although he’s been into Bitcoin and blockchain since 2013, 2014, for example, when smart contracts came out, he took one look at it and he was like this will never work, like rarely do developers ever, on the first try, produce flawless code, like I don’t know how people expect that this is going to work.
Faizaan: Yeah. The immutability of contracts is a huge barrier, I think, to success because of that reason.
Faizaan: It’s almost impossible that it ships without any sort of bugs.
Amy: Yeah. I mean, code is very rigid, very static, but human situations are not, you know? I think that’s really what makes us human. I’d like to say that we are the most creative species on the planet because, you know, when you’ve worked as an attorney, your kinda like the janitor of society. You literally see everything that people can possibly do to each other, right? But it just — it shows you, like humans have an incredible amount of creativity and there’s a huge need for flexibility and so when I look at smart contracts now, it’s like, man, like this does not work the way humans does.
Vikram: Right. I guess for helping us understand then, so what types of industries do you think smart contracts do work really well on?
Amy: First of all, anything with 1s and 0s, right, so financial services I think is going to be very helpful. I think smart contracts can have broad application, but I think you have to be very thoughtful on how you use them. One concept that’s becoming increasingly popular today is that of the Ricardian contract which was basically a concept invented by Ian Grigg, but a Ricardian contract is basically — it looks at a smart contract more as programmable language, right, and so you will have, for example, an English contract but paired with that, you would also have code that at least executes certain parts, if not all of the smart contract so that there’s something that you can look to to go and determine intent.
Vikram: Gotcha. I’m just pulling up the Wikipedia entry on Ricardian contract. It has this whole section on smart contracts below, it’s citing the works of Nick Szabo.
Vikram: I guess I’ll just read a couple parts from here that are relevant. “By means of a hash within a reference or link to external documents, above, the Ricardian Contract form easily extends to refer to code. The explicit referral to code can pass legitimacy from overarching legal prose to the code, thus implementing the concept of the smart contract.”
Vikram: Gotcha. Okay, yeah. That sounds really interesting. So, on the site, you mention supply chain, financial services, digitized assets, consumer marketplaces, and ICOs being the key areas of smart contracts. Can you give us like maybe a couple examples — I know we talked broadly about financial services and industry but maybe you have any kind of concrete examples we can kinda wrap our heads around?
Amy: So, actually if you go to our website, sagewise.io, there’s a little tab called Use Cases and that lays out, for example, like where — not only where you might be able to see smart contracts but also where disputes with smart contracts might arise, right? It’s one of those things where it’s kinda like you ask a lawyer and my response would be like give me a situation and I will like create a story for you because there’s literally — there is really an infinite number of possibilities here.
Vikram: Yep. So tell us a little bit about Blokusign.
Amy: Yeah, so we went to a supply chain conference earlier this year and someone came up to us and they were like — and, mind you, this is not like a crypto person, this is like someone from enterprise, and they were like, “How do I know if my company has entered into a smart contract?” Like, where do they sign it, and we sat there for a second and we’re like, hmm, well, no one really signs a smart contract, but, you know, they raised a really important issue like how do you know if you’ve entered into a smart contract, right? Like, how is it even legally binding or enforced or any of that stuff, so we kinda went down the rabbit hole and really, in building out this dispute resolution layer, we realized that there’s a lot of gaps in legal infrastructure between blockchain technology and how law works in the real world today that really hasn’t been addressed or built out yet and so, we have taken it upon ourselves to kind of build out those bridges. So we recently did the alpha release of Blokusign. The beta is coming very, very soon. And Blokusign is basically blockchain-powered e-signatures, right? If you use it, you really don’t ever know that you are using blockchain. It doesn’t really involve coding or anything like that, and I will clarify that, right now, this is for traditional contracts and documents, not for smart contracts yet. We will build bridges as we get there but, you know, this is just the first iteration, but it’s, you know, really opened our eyes to how blockchain can help in the e-signature space because, you know, ten years ago when e-signatures were launched, it was a lot harder to doctor a document, right? Like we didn’t have all this fancy Adobe tools and things like that. Today, it’s so super simple, right, and so — I mean, we’ve even seen people in the blockchain space go online and say, hey, like, you know, they’ll post their version of the contract, someone posts their version that is signed with a signature and then you have like accusations of, “Oh, you forged my signature, that’s not the authentic version of the document,” and so blockchain really can help in document authentication, and increasingly there are states and countries around the world that are recognizing this and they’re passing laws that allow and recognize that blockchain can be a method for self-authentication, whereas today, if you want to authenticate a document, it’s actually incredibly expensive and there’s a lot of middlemen involved.
Faizaan: Yeah. This is interesting because one topic that keeps coming up is around UX, like there’s a lot of problems that blockchain can solve but the current UX for a lot of it is not user friendly.
Faizaan: So what’s interesting here is you’re essentially giving people that don’t necessarily have any interest or understanding of blockchain a way to get the benefits of the certification of signature but still use the same UX they’d be used to with other digital signatures.
Amy: Exactly. I mean, I think in our company, our approach to the industry as a whole is like if our parents can’t use it, no one else can either, right? Like if this industry remains confined to developers and technologists, like that’s such a niche industry, it will never really take off. This industry really only needs a huge paradigm shift when the masses can actually use it.
Faizaan: Yeah. I have a followup question on Blokusign. So if you were to use a traditional signature service, there’s some central authority that tracks the signatures and IPs and any of the data associated with the document and when it was signed and who signed it. Where does that go on Blokusign?
Amy: Right. So basically there are hashes when the document is e-signed, right, so we’re not actually storing the entire document on the blockchain but we’re storing the hash and so to the extent that there’s ever a question over which is the authentic version of the document, you’d basically take the one that you are saying is authentic, you upload it on to a website and there should just be like a red X or a green check and that would tell you like this is or is not the version that was e-signed.
Faizaan: Got it. So the documents themselves can stay private, it’s not as though — I guess, yeah, because I was, you know, I was thinking like where would it go if you put it on IPFS then it’s public and you may not want that so you can actually keep the content private but verify the hashes.
Amy: Yeah. That plus I think would become incredibly expensive from a transactional cost perspective if we wanted to –
Faizaan: To store the data.
Amy: Yeah, exactly.
Vikram: And what is the business model here? How do you expect to generate revenue? Like, what are your plans there?
Amy: For us right now, what’s more important is adoption and traction, right, and so we really want people to test it, give us feedback, we really want to make the product a lot better before we go and start charging for it.
Vikram: Gotcha. But to the extent that, you know, say, it’s going to work out so in like two, three years you have, you know, start having a lot more enterprise clients, do you expect there to be like an enterprise-level solution? I’m just trying to understand like long term what the business model might be.
Amy: Yeah, sure. I mean, I don’t think you have to reinvent the wheel for this particular kind of product. I think like a monthly subscription thing is perfectly fine. You know, I’m one of those people who I don’t think you need a token for everything, and in fact a token oftentimes causes a lot of friction, like if I want to use your service, what, I have to go to an exchange, buy a token, and then like — that’s crazy.
Vikram: Then I can sign the document. Yeah.
Amy: Yeah. That’s too much friction.
Vikram: So, moving more in the dispute resolution side, so you’ve written up some great EOS dispute resolution and arbitration working group summaries and we’ll post links to those in the show notes for our listeners, but can you walk us through a little bit in terms of the EOS project and what your interest there is?
Amy: Yeah, sure. So my co-founder and I have taken interest in EOS not just because it’s good technology but because they specifically architected a layer within their protocol that looks at dispute resolution and arbitration, right, like they are trying to be the first governed blockchain, so what that really means is if something on their system goes awry, if someone gets scammed, if there’s a phishing thing, right, that there will be some avenue of recourse and that’s very interesting, to us at least, I guess. Maybe not so much to the “Code is Law” people, but they approached us a couple months ago because, as you know, like EOS, when the main net launched, there was actually a lot of controversy over dispute resolution and arbitration on their system and they have a centralized arbitration body today called ECAF and ECAF today, you know, as of today, like has probably over four hundred disputes filed and more being filed every day, right, and so they were suddenly looking at this and saying, oh, man, like we need something more scalable, we need something that maybe works a little bit better because there was a lot of community, I would say — to nicely put this, community feedback over the existence of that system, right, and so they basically asked me to step in and help them not just with the community engagement in terms of explaining why dispute resolution will be a competitive game changer for their particular blockchain but also in terms of like how do you get there and how do you really design and architect a system that is efficient and transparent and scalable and really works for small businesses, because that’s primarily the audience they’re trying to go after.
Vikram: And another question I have which you talked a bit on your Twitter was around real estate tokenization. So I think this is something that’s gained — at least I’m seeing a ton of projects pop up around this. They’re trying to raise capital either do more real estate development or real estate investment, so what are your thoughts about this? You know, how did real estate tokenization work?
Amy: Yeah, sure, so, you know, in a previous lifetime I was general counsel for a real estate crowdfunding platform, so I have lived this life before. The only difference now is that people want to do it with tokens. I think real estate tokenization will be the future but I don’t think it’s going to be as pervasive, as game changing, or, you know, live up to its current hype. Like, I keep hearing people say crazy stuff and I’m like, no, like have you ever bought a piece of real estate? Like that’s not how this works at all, right? Like there’s people going around being like, oh, if we tokenize real estate and we use smart contracts, there will be no escrow and I’m like — and they’re like, oh, we’ll have immediate escrow, I’m like, no, because you still have to do an appraisal and an inspection and negotiation and then there need to be like, you know, there’s a lot of things that need to happen, right? You might not qualify for the loan and they’re like — I don’t know, the stuff I hear is kinda crazy so I just want to put that out there, like I think it will happen, it’s not just going to happen I think the way a lot of people would think it’s going to happen, right? But I can certainly see like real estate funds getting tokenized, very, very large pieces of real estate getting tokenized. I think we’re many, many years away from tokenization of every little piece of real estate in the world. I actually think in less developed countries, things might go faster than here in the US because, here, there’s a lot more bureaucracy, there’s incumbents that might lose out so it’s going to be a bit more of a battle, right, but with tokenization of real estate, like, first of all, I see a big change in the title industry, right? We should not need title insurance anymore. I think that liquidity around real estate can be done a lot more efficiently but I will say that’s going to be reserved to more so large funds and very large real estate projects as opposed to like the fifty-thousand-dollar home in like Kansas, right, because there’s a transactional cost associated with all this stuff and, at some point, it doesn’t make sense to spend that money if the payout is not going to be big enough. And then, I think there’s going to be a lot of change here, but there also — again, you have to like come at this with a more tempered perspective. What I find is a lot of people charging forward on the real estate tokenization front have never actually done the type of real estate transaction that they are contemplating and so I think there is a lot of — there’s a lot that needs to be learned.
Vikram: So, I guess one of the arguments that I’ve heard around the real estate tokenization stuff is liquidity premium, so basically the idea is like real estate and a lot of hard tokenization is supposed to increase liquidity premium and liquidity premium here meaning, you know, because it’s easier to trade because it’s been tokenized, the value of the underlying asset should go up in the same way that assets that are hard to trade with low liquidity have a lower value. So, you know, I guess one worry I have about real estate tokenization is that it will just — if liquidity premium ends up going up, it has the potential for just simply making real estate more expensive and unaffordable, and to your earlier point about, you know, more underdeveloped areas, and if those areas end up moving more quickly, there’s a possibility that real estate, housing, being able to buy those assets in those areas will just become more difficult for the people who live there. This is less so a legal question, I’m just curious about your thoughts there.
Amy: Well, so, you know, there’s a couple things to unpack here. So the first is real estate has gone up, at least in the US, in general over the past sixty years. That’s the one trend that investors always look at, so with tokenization or not, I mean, the prices are just going to keep going up. The world population is growing. People need places to live. It’s a supply and demand thing, so with or without tokenization, you’re still going to see an increase in real estate prices. Now, what I do think is like it does make, you know, real estate ownership more secure because you can know who has title — I mean, look, if you today buy a piece of real estate in one of the counties where all these title records are stored on paper in filing cabinets in large basements with like fifty years of title records, which is a real thing, so I think the benefit is going to be there and prices are going to rise no matter what. I think the one thing that people aren’t talking about enough actually is the compliance and regulatory aspect because once you build automated compliance into real estate, I mean real estate today is where all the arms dealers and drug dealers and whatever, right, the people who launder money, that’s where they go hide their money, right, because traditionally, AML/KYC has been very difficult to enforce. Once you have a regime where all of this is going to be automated and you’re just — you’re locked out of the system if you can’t pass certain types of compliance measures, you’re out. I mean, I think that’s the big deal here, but no one seems to be talking about it.
Vikram: Huh. That’s super interesting because I haven’t heard that either. So I guess if that is kind of on the way to the end goal, what do you think are going to be the first few types of businesses that will succeed in this real estate tokenization space?
Amy: I think it’s going to be, for example, RETS, it’s going to be large real estate offerings, right, of all compliant with securities regulations, of course. You know, I think there is a possibility that unlisted RETS and things of that sort are going to jump to this.
Vikram: Awesome. So, going back to your business, you know, how can our audience help you, like what are you looking for right now?
Amy: Yeah. So, I would say on the Blokusign front, we are looking for people who are enthusiastic about what we’re building and want to test it and provide feedback and they can do that by going to Blokusign, B-L-O-K-U-S-I-G-N, dot com, and signing up on our wait list. On the Sagewise front, we are always interested in talking with projects, hopefully projects that have actually raised money, about integrating our system with whatever they’re building, whether that is a blockchain or on the dApp level, so that is sagewise.io, S-A-G-E-W-I-S-E, dot, I-O, and then I think in general we are still very much in the exploratory phase of figuring out how to bring in revenue for all this stuff because our vision of what the world could be with our products, it’s — we’re very early stage, right? It’s still going to be quite far into the future and so to the extent that people are interested in consulting at the intersection of blockchain technology and law, we’re open to hearing those proposals.
Faizaan: And I have one other question actually, with Sagewise, you had mentioned a lot of the dispute resolution is handled by third-party vendors?
Faizaan: So how does someone become a third-party vendor or what’s the process for that?
Amy: Yeah, so right now, we’re doing private marketplace listing agreements and so if anyone has a dispute resolution service they’d like to provide, whether it’s human or a coin flipping app or whatever, they can come approach us about that. One day, we haven’t done this yet, but we will be writing like a standard, a set of standards around what it takes to be a dispute resolution provider, right, and all those vendors would have to adhere by those standards.
Faizaan: Got it.
Vikram: Awesome. Well, I think that was super helpful and really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today.
Amy: Yeah, thanks. These were very interesting questions.
Vikram: Thanks a lot.
Amy: Awesome. Take care.
- Amy’s controversial tweet
- Amy’s background
- What Blockchain brings to the legal profession
- What Sagewise is
- Fundraising environment for Blockchain/smart contract entrepreneurs
- What Blokusign is
- The Blockchain platform Blokusign is built on
- The EOS project
- What a smart contract is
- How real estate tokenization works
Hey everyone, this is Vikram again. Thanks for listening to us. If you’re
an exchange, a trader or working on a crypto project get in touch with us.
You can reach us on twitter at https://twitter.com/quantlayer or email us