Meet Stampery, a startup that wants to replace notaries with bitcoin’s blockchain. The service can issue legally binding proofs for all your sensitive documents, and the company is presenting its next version on stage today at Disrupt SF.
“We use the bitcoin blockchain to prove the existence, integrity and ownership of any document,” co-founder and CEO Daniele Levi told me in a phone interview before Disrupt. “At heart, the blockchain is distributed database. We use this technology to be able to generate this proof.”
You can certify any document using Stampery. All you need to do is send a document in email to your personal Stampery email address, use the company’s website, integrate Stampery in your product thanks to the API or link Stampery to your Dropbox.
“You can generate an immutable and accurate proof of existence and integrity for any document. Anybody in the world could verify automatically and at zero cost that this document was made on June 1st and wasn’t modified,” Levi said.
The reasons why you would use Stampery are the same reasons why you would notarized a document. It’s a great way to protect intellectual property, to certify a will, an oath, a contract, a communication in a family dispute and more.
What makes Stampery better than notarized documents is that you don’t have to physically visit notaries with your printed documents, which can be time consuming. If you send less than 100 documents per month and use less than 1GB of storage, Stampery is free. For $9.99 per month, you can store up to 10,000 files and use up to 100GB of storage.
“We are not a trusted certifier. This means that every proof that we generate can be verified even if Stampery disappears,” Levi said. “We don’t have a centralized database that you can hack.” As the legal proofs are stored in the blockchain, anybody could retrieve them. This is how Stampery differs from other electronic notary services.
When I asked Stampery’s legal value, Levi’s answer was straightforward. “It’s so new that for now nobody uses the blockchain in court. As soon as they use it, the judge will have to accept it. It’s not an opinion, it’s mathematic.”
Using Stampery is so painless that professionals who heavily rely on notarized documents could see a clear advantage compared to notaries. It seems to be a tiny market, but the company could win over a large portion of this market.
Questions & Answers
Question: Who are going to be your customers? You said you had 700 people using it today, who are they?
Answer: We have three main users — lawyers certifying documents, creators certifying pictures and videos, and startups protecting their intellectual property. All of the integrations we are rolling out are helping us to speak directly to the hundreds of millions of Dropbox users, and eventually Salesforce and so on.
Q: What’s going to be the thing that makes governments accept this?
A: This is faster and so much secure. Trusts create a security hole and a cost. We have a trustless system that can be verified independently anywhere in the world.
Q: How does it work for intellectual property?
A: You can notarize prior art. You can just find the prior art. It’s like a defensive patent.