With technological changes coming rapidly, the landscape is quickly changing for the mobile notary and notaries in general. Firms continue to position themselves to be at the forefront of digital technology, therefore it comes as no surprise that Bitcoin Miner Canaan has purchased the document timestamping service Proof of Existence.
Proof of Existence has software which runs on blockchain technology. In the simple version, blockchain is used to verify a series of transactions, which all get logged and sorted into blocks (each transaction is its own block). After they are created, these blocks cannot be altered, which allows for a verifiable history for any account.
Of note here, is that the technology currently runs on Bitcoin, the rapidly expanding network of private, anonymous payments online. Neither company stated in their announcements whether the service will remain solely on Bitcoin, or if they will branch out into traditional payment methods. This is important, because while Bitcoin has become more popular, and valuable, it is still only a small fraction of online transactions. And many businesses are not keen on getting involved in bitcoin, as it is used for a lot of illegal purchases.
We should expect to continue to see large firms get into the notary software business, pushing the boundaries of how virtual transactions can be done.
But, don’t fret just yet.
Technology like this is ahead of the curve, yes, but these services need to be officially adopted by states to change the notary landscape. As you’ve seen on our blog, states across the country are updating notary laws, but they are not going so far as to allow virtual signings. Government tends to be slow to change, so we may be many years away from anything regarding the status quo changing.
What I would expect to see, as larger firms get involved, is lobbying at the state level to increase from these companies, as they try to turn an idea into a profitable business. Still, this is a slow process, often taking a decade or more before the lobbying and campaign donations make a change in legislative thinking.
So, it is fun, and maybe a little scary looking at all the firms positioning themselves for purely virtual transactions. But, we have not seen much in the way of thinking by the states that they are a good idea at this time.