Grant Proposal: EthSign 🧩 a decentralized, versioned e agreement Dapp built on Web 3

EthSign

A decentralized, versioned electronic agreement signing Dapp built with Web3 technologies

Problem

Electronic signature services found in many business scenarios often make users uncomfortable due to centralization:

  • Documents containing confidential information are uploaded and stored in tech company-controlled cloud storage platforms, whose Terms of Service users do not control.
  • To retrieve a document or verify a signature, a user must obtain permission from the E-signature service provider
  • Once the E-signature service providers shut down, data on their servers is inevitably deleted.

As the dawn of blockchain and Web 3.0 has brought on decentralization, immutability, and transparency at levels unseen before, people are no longer content with authentication from controlling central authorities.

Solution

With a suite of Web3 solutions that only recently come to maturity, we are rebuilding the electronic signature application from the ground up and expanding the use cases of digital signatures beyond signing contracts.

On the surface, EthSign offers exactly the same signing experience as its Web2 counterpart. Users log in to our platform, upload documents, invite others to sign, modify documents, and complete signing.

Behind the curtain, however, we use decentralized wallets (Metamask, Fortmatic), decentralized ID solutions (Magic Link, ENS), decentralized storage (Arweave, IPFS, Sia), and smart contract networks (Ethereum, Polygon) to reinvent this entire experience, so that at no point users need to trust EthSign with their information.

Detailed Product Overview

Modules, Mixed and Matched

EthSign gives you the flexibility to choose what solution providers to use for each module of your document signing workflow. We currently provide the following combinations:

Decentralized identity managers:

  • Fortmatic
  • MetaMask

‌Smart contract blockchain testnets:

  • Avalanche FUJI C-Chain
  • Binance Smart Chain
  • Fantom Network
  • MATIC Mumbai

Decentralized storage networks:

  • Arweave (permanent)
  • InterPlanetary File System (short-term)
    • Free IPFS
    • Fleek IPFS

As our user, you are free to choose any combination of the above modules to fit your unique needs. For example, you can use Metamask to log into EthSign, Arweave to store the documents you upload, and Matic to register all the signature records.

Fees

Unlike other Web2 electronic signature solutions, EthSign does not charge subscription fees for using its services. Instead, users are responsible for cost incurred from interacting with the various networks within the EthSign tech stack, such as gas fees for smart contract blockchains or storage fees for some decentralized storage networks.

Every user has a balance on EthSign and the user can fund their EthSign balance by depositing tokens into our smart contract. This balance is the source of all pre-paid transaction fees for all documents initiated by said user.

Normally, all signers, including the document initiators, need to pay transaction fees for recording their signing activities on a blockchain network. However, EthSign allows document initiators to pre-pay all transaction fees. If an initiator’s balance is insufficient, signers have the option to either pay the fees or notify the initiator to deposit more funds.

Traceable and Transparent Audit Trails

Every action user take on EthSign, from uploading documents, inviting co-signers, commenting, to signing, along with these actions’ timestamp, are recorded on chain. This is an important feature to ensure that signatures on EthSign are legally binding. A fully auditable, tamper resistant contract signing record makes settling disputes straightforward. Since everything is on public blockchains, the entire process is also transparent and can be verified by any party.

Progress

We have reached a milestone by successfully building a EthSign MVP and revamping UX in EthSign 2.0. Our next iteration, Ethsign 3.0, has been fundamentally redesigned to bring it one step closer to production-ready.

As next steps, we plan to add document templates for standardized token investment documents such as SAFT. The SAFT template not only allows investors and projects to streamline their contract signing process, but also ensures that investors are using the same address to sign the contract and receive tokens. We are also looking to streamline the NFT issuance process by outlining an NFT’s specs as agreements signed between NFT issuers and issuance platforms.

On the road to EthSign 3.0, we will prioritize vertical integration over horizontal expansion. In other words, we will finish our core signature workflow before expanding on additional use cases. We are in progress of being integrated into moloch DAO.

EthSign_3.0_Development_Roadmap.pdf

Team

Team

  • Jack Xu - Tech Lead // linkedIn: Jack Xu, Github:boyuanx, Youtube: Head CP

Ethereum developer with extensive experience with Solidity. Previously worked as a software engineer at numerous firms such as General Motors and Fidelity Investments. Proficient in solidity, iOS, python and java. Teaching assistant for USC’s blockchain course. Also was TA for USC’s iOS and Java courses . Was head teaching assistant for USC’s software development course (java).

  • Xin Yan - Project Lead //linkedIn: Xin Yan

Former Investment manager and blockchain engineer at Fundamental Labs for two and a half years. Also former senior investment manager for Huobi Global. Xin has tremendous experience with the underlying infrastructure of Web3 and the Web3 tech stack.

  • Potter Li - BD & Operations Lead // linkedIn: Potter (Houyao) Li

Former investment analyst at Fundamental Labs, a venture capital specialized in the Blockchain sector. President of Blockchain@USC, University of Southern California’s premier student-run blockchain organization focusing on education, community initiatives, and career development.

  • Claire Ma - Interaction Design lead // github:clairemaa // linkedIn: Xinda Ma
    Former research assistant at NYU’s dynamic system lab and FuDan University in Shanghai. Extensive experience working as UI/UX design at Ebay and Mccann World-group Shanghai. Specializes in graphic design and branding. Very experienced with Sketch, Figma, InVision, Unity3D etc.

  • Nicole Respecia - Frontend Development lead //github:foreverrbum // linkedIn:foreverrbum
    Frontend engineer lead, former software engineer at Marti.so. Nicole is very experienced with ReactJS, Node.js, Javascript, HTML and many others. She had been involved with many tremendous projects such as E-jeep tracker, a website application that connects commuters and the jeeps by showing commuters the real time location of the jeep. Also project Moses, an early earthquake warning system analyzing P-waves and S-waves and notifies residents.

Grant Request $10,000 DAI & your help

Funds

EthSign has taken zero funding so far, and has all been bootstrapped by the original founding team. The requested funds will serve as a mechanism to effectively launch EthSign officially early this summer. EthSign is currently in talks with NGC, imToken, Dorahacks and Tim Draper for seed funding to help expedite the official rollout effectively. None of this grant will be retained by the core team members. MetaCartel will be included in the whitelist in the contributors.

The requested funds will be used to support product development amongst other things:

  • Integration with moloch DAO
  • Offer compensation to experienced developers that can contribute to the project.
  • A smart contract audit to identify any potential bugs or vulnerabilities before the complete product of EthSign is opened to the public.

Help

We’d like MetaCartel to try our product when it is officially launched in early May, help us spread the words among the Web3 community, and join our discord/twitter to provide feedback.

Additional Resources
Gitbook: https://ethsign-1.gitbook.io/ethsign/
twitter: @ethsign
Medium: EthSign

1 Like

Like the idea and can definitely see this as a useful app for DAOs and crypto-natives who care about decentralized storage of agreements. I’m a little skeptical re: the use case beyond the crypto-sphere and competing with DocuSign.

My experience as a transactional attorney was either clients had an in-house document management system they liked for clients and/or for important agreements relied on their law firms for “storage,” so DocuSign was more than sufficient. Clause has already made good headway into the self-executing smaller, sales contract sphere on the blockchain, and I think it will be a while before non-crypto law firms / companies will rely on blockchain-based solutions for larger transactions. In sum, it’s a crowded, competitive market, and I’m not convinced decentralized storage / signatures is the kind of 10x improvement normies will appreciate.

I don’t think a $10K grant makes sense, given the amount of money that the team has raised.

I do think this would be a good DAOhaus Boost, so more than happy to work with the team on creating a boost for moloch daos using DAOhaus.

1 Like

Thanks Bill, we’re trying to rebuild a very common scenario here use web3 tech stack. we want our product’s UX align with web2 products, but backed by web3 tech.

I agree that web3 tech always show its advantages when bad things happens, and web2 world can keep it running in most times. So the advantages is more ideogenetic to the users. But as a crypto developer, why endure when you can build a new one? so we choose to rebuild it, on the top of a bunch of breakthrough on the top of infra layer and middlewares.

Right now we have the graph(help us search data on a specific chain), fleek(help to fast store file), EPNS(off chian notification service). After serving as a legal aggrement signing app, we also plan to make it easy for other projects to integrate, and also try to sign a “smart contract”, let user define some term which will be automaticly excuted by smartcontract and triggered by kp3r.

After serving as a legal aggrement signing app, we also plan to make it easy for other projects to integrate, and also try to sign a “smart contract”, let user define some term which will be automaticly excuted by smartcontract and triggered by kp3r.

We are happy to create a boost for moloch daos, could you share more on this point?