To the general public, enterprise services are not the most exciting sector. Many of the services provided run in the background, invisible to the users and clients. But while most are unaware of the daily functions of IT, logistics, and operations, any stall or delay in these departments results in delays and loss of profit. Conversely, optimizing these industries improves efficiency across the board. One application sorely in need of an update is Notarization. With the recent update to its FOURns service, 4thpillar (4thtech) is preparing to disrupt the multi-billion dollar notary industry.
What is notarization?
As per the National Notary Association, a Notary is “An official of integrity appointed by state government —typically by the secretary of state — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents.” They serve as a kind of impartial “judicial” officer, who screen sensitive documents and verify the identity of all parties involved in signing said documents. In short, they make sure the right people sign the correct documents.
While not the most exciting occupation to most people, notaries serve a crucial role in the business world. Without a notary present, if a contract is incomplete or signed by the wrong person, the revenue loss could be staggering. These agreements, like mortgages, often have significant legal and monetary ramifications.
This leads us to the 4thtech notary solution, FOURns. FOURns is an operational blockchain notarization service that was developed according to strict European Union guidelines. The notarization service can store, timestamp a document, and verify the authenticity of the document. Our previous work on the 4thtech technology suite detailed the individual pieces of technology that make FOURns possible, FOURdx and FOURid. These services allow for secure document transmission, identification, and signing, all secured on the blockchain.
Upon recognition as a legally-binding notary, FOURns can replace the standard notary. In a macro sense, the benefit to companies using this could be immense. Not only are the costs lower, but the time saved by automating the process instead of meeting with a person is substantial. For perspective, the 2017 Notary Census estimates there are nearly 4.5 million notaries in the United States. Using very general assumptions, the average notary cost per signature is $10, and up to 20 notary tasks per contract is possible. The potential savings for companies using FOURns are in the billions of dollars.
But notaries are not limited to the US. In Europe, the role of the notary is more official, similar to a magistrate. The Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE) states the importance and weight of the notaries’ responsibilities like this: “For the notary, authenticating an instrument involves gathering together and expressing the wishes of those involved completely, impartially and in full respect of the law. This is why notaries are thought of as amicable settlement magistrates, practising preventive justice.” As FOURns is developed according to EU guidelines, it is not a stretch to speculate that it might also be permitted for use in the US.
Looking past enterprise and B2B examples, notaries are also widely used in consumer agreements. Loans, mortgages, wills, marriages, trusts, and credit lines could all be replaced with 4thtech’s blockchain notary service.
Since its creation, the blockchain has been a potential solution to many problems. In the ICO craze of 2017, any project connected to “blockchain” saw interest spike and prices grow. We know now that blockchain is the most useful when attached to applications that require services that are tamper and censorship-resistant. Although other companies have attempted to put notary services on the blockchain in the past, 4thtech’s FOURns service is moving ever closer to adoption.
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*Disclaimer – This article is written in cooperation with 4thtech, our Media Partner.