Storing a document on the blockchain is one of those crypto promises people have been been promised for a long time. The Blockchain Factory is set to actually bring it to the user with their iNation platform.
The founders of the Blockchain Factory have been putting out some useful tools at a pretty quick clip, and as such we have talked to them several times in the past. David Mondrus already pioneered commitment to the blockchain when he and his wife Joyce recorded their marriage on the Bitcoin Blockchain. But now Mondrus and his cohort (and co-founder of Blockchain Factory and iNation) Nathan Wosnack want to bring that capability, and perhaps much more, to the masses.
Your Passport on Blockchain
iNation is designed to bring blockchain recording to the end user and small businesses. This might sound mundane, but it really isn't. With it, users will be able to keep a perfect copy of their passport or deed or will or other legal document in a cryptographically secure place, and be able to access it at anytime using a mobile app.
Their stated short term goal with iNation is to allow you to travel internationally using only your phone, but it is hard not to think about the long term possibilities. International travel would be very impressive but it is potentially only the beginning. Once legal documents and contracts are uploaded to the blockchain, that is only one step away from smart contracts that are both stored and executed on the blockchain while also being enforceable in the fiat world. This is something they tell me they are “absolutely” working on.
Cointelegraph: iNation is designed to let user submit documents to the blockchain where they can be held securely. Can you give our readers a quick idea of some of the use cases for this?
Nathan Wosnack: Every aspect of your online life including your legal documents, your online communications, your social networks and of course your money are available through one of the world’s first secure, distributed, cryptographically verifiable platforms' we're calling iNation.
With real-world integration, disaster proof document storage, end-to-end encryption and full document veracity using the blockchain iNation represents the first real step to the disintermediation of government and people.
David Mondrus: The US government recommends that when you travel abroad you take a copy of your passport and store it in a safe place. But, if that copy gets stolen too, that's not much help.
The same issue (loss of legal documents) applies to diplomas, titles, immunization records, etc. Right now, the storage of those records is haphazard and difficult. So in the short term, being able to upload those docs into the system encrypted, time stamp verified and hashed provides an obvious value.
Nathan Wosnack: And most importantly; we have a solid team behind us working to make this happen. Parts of it are already completed and bootstrapped.
Cointelegraph: How do the documents appear on the blockchain and how would I use that to say, get another copy of my passport?
David Mondrus: On the Bitcoin blockchain it's a hash of the document. On our chain (using IPFS or Factom or Storj) we store a copy of that document. Over time, we will work with governments and agencies to accept the veracity of that data so that it'll be easier to get a new copy of your passport. In the really long term, we'd like to be able to [enable] travel with just your phone. You can travel domestically now with just your phone, it has your boarding pass. Why not internationally as well?
Nathan Wosnack: We'll be building the APIs and the back end to integrate this all together. We're acting as integrators, but also marketing this via real-world integration.
Cointelegraph: David, you got married on the blockchain already. How will iNation's method vary from BitNation's? [a project Wosnack and Mondrus were previously involved in]
David Mondrus: We have a bit more pragmatic approach. We recognize that the timeline to change government and people's perception is very long so we're focused on creating a self sustatining organization that can accomplish our long term vision via incremental change and via our own revenue.
Nathan Wosnack: We also have different ways of getting there through our tools, development strategy and integration; we'll likely be focused on different areas of the wedding industry, with governments (perhaps with some overlaps). Our approach will not be the same.
Cointelegraph: But strictly speaking about the method of storing documents on the blockchain, is there any noticeable changes in how you guys do it compared to how you did it at Bitnation?
Nathan Wosnack: To be fair, Bitnation didn't have any document storage solution in place at the point when we left in October, and my understanding is [that] they are still working on it. When we left all we had was some rough ideas that were discussed but that were never implemented at all, or were rejected. There was a whitepaper and some theoretical ideas but we didn't have a concrete strategy for achieving document storage at that time. Our document storage (which will be distributed) is using technologies and methods that were never discussed during our time at Bitnation. Whatever they're working on now and the tech they are using has not been made public, so we're unaware. We're more focused on building a platform from scratch with the advice from our highly skilled tech team and advisers.
Cointelegraph: The mining slicer is aimed at industrial clients, BTC2MYSQL is aimed at insiders. Would you say that this is blockchain factory's first product aimed at "regular" consumers?
David Mondrus: Well, I'd say BTC2MYSQL is focused on forensic accounting and so on, but iNation is focused on consumers. So yes, that's a fair comment. My background is more consumer oriented anyway so this makes sense
Nathan Wosnack: My experience is more with B2B which will come in handy at iNation. iNation will be for both consumers and the B2B industries; Small to Medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
David Mondrus: Right.
Cointelegraph: I assume you haven't revealed any prices yet, are you guys willing to share any kind of ball park figures on that?
David Mondrus: We're still working on the revenue model. Obviously, many aspects of the platform will be free, but we're still working on the premium features/pricing.
Nathan Wosnack: Our platform will be a premium SaaS (Software-as-aService) model. Free, Basic, Pro, Enterprise recurring fees, and a transaction fee for using the platform. We'll have 3rd party fees for vendors and the real-world services, but we aren't willing to disclose the structure at this time. This will be made available when we launch the platform.
Cointelegraph: What legal documents do you plan to support out of the gate?
David Mondrus: Marriages, diplomas, wills and titles.
Nathan Wosnack: Probates (which fits into the wills category)
We're doing mobile too!
Cointelegraph: A mobile app?
Nathan Wosnack: Oh yeah!
David Mondrus: Right, the idea is that you should be able to do everything on the platform no matter the device. Obviously [there are] technical limitations, but within that constraint [we will do what we can]
Cointelegraph: Google Play, the Apple App store, any other platforms?
Nathan Wosnack: It will be Android to start. A mobile application integrated into the iNation platform. A client-side encrypted application. [It will have:]
Anonymous Messaging - Send private messages and post anonymously. Send p2p encrypted messages over the iNation blockchain. All data is encrypted from your application to other user's application (end-to-end).
Open Chat - A platform where you can openly post messages, links, and various updates to the chat room within the iNation community.
Privacy - iNation does not have access to your data. Your phone contact list, phone number, or social media credentials are always encrypted client side. There is no storage of any of your personal information without your explicit approval.
Platform Integration: Full integration into the iNation platform so you can securely access your Deeds, Education, Marriage, Probate/Wills and other documents. [All of that is] 100% free!
To be clear the blockchain for the messaging on the platform will be over our forked NXT version which will be part of iNation. And it will tie directly into our Platform which uses both our NXT fork and our own custom-build UI, and the distributed file storage system.
Cointelegraph: I was just about to ask that actually. I had assumed it would use the bitcoin blockchain, so it has its own blockchain, and that is based off of NXT?
David Mondrus: We are blockchain agnostic, so we use what's best. In this case timestamping and hashing will be BTC, comm is iNation forked from NXT and other components may be other blockchains. We expect to support multiple currencies, multiple wallets and multiple chains.
Cointelegraph: The next obvious step would be smart contracts that have a connection to the fiat world using documents you put on the blockchain. Any plans for something like that?
Nathan Wosnack: Yes absolutely we are. Smart contracts with legal documents and our platform is precisely what we want to do. And we're vendor neutral (on the smart contract 3rd party vendors we may utilize to achieve this onto the platform), but will choose the best ones based on security, scalability, their features, and their compatibility with our document veracity platform and APIs. As we grow we will be looking at a number of smart contract solutions to achieve our goals of best serving the needs of our valued clients.
Cointelegraph: So do you guys have a launch date in mind?
Nathan Wosnack: We'll have a demo done in a month. We're bootstrapping the project, so progress on the project depends on funding. We are actively talking and meeting with accredited investors now, and we'll have something to announce soon.
Cointelegraph: Anything else our readers should know?
Nathan Wosnack: We're always looking for like-minded people with dynamic skills to help spread the word about iNation and offer assistance and insight.
We would like to thank Nathan Wosnack and David Mondrus for taking the time to speak to us.
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