The following document introduces Multis, a cryptobank dedicated to companies. The document is intended as a guideline for the development of Multis.
In 2008, Bitcoin became the first peer-to-peer electronic cash system allowing online payments without the need for an institution. The underlying technology of Bitcoin is the blockchain, a decentralized, distributed, and public ledger that records all the transactions of a network. Since then, various projects leveraging blockchain technology appeared, each of them solving alternative problems that Bitcoin was not designed for. Ethereum, as an example is a decentralized world computer. It enables any developer in the world to run code on it with the insurance that it will run, and that it can’t be censored.
For those networks to execute accordingly, incentives have been built-in and internal currencies are being used. Those currencies are called crypto-currencies.
On top of those networks, entrepreneurs leverage blockchain technology to build decentralized applications.
Those entrepreneurs usually raised money thanks to an ICO (Initial Coin Offering), selling the tokens that will be necessary to use the applications they build. Thanks to this strategy, entrepreneurs were able to raise millions to fund their projects.
The same way internet radically changed the way we exchanged data, the interchain and its blockchains will redesign the way we exchange value. If today, it’s mostly reduced to payments, soon anything that can be digitized will be transferred online and we will be able to trade house ownership as easily as we send money. Any company will then need to own crypto-currencies to operate all these types of trades.
Securing those trades and assets is quite difficult and any mistake can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, the current tools are designed for individuals or developers and it remains quite difficult for companies to manage their crypto-currencies efficiently and securely.
At Multis, we want to ease this pain by adding a layer of interface to render blockchain technology more accessible, helping companies manage cryptos, and being the only product companies need to run a crypto activity.
To own cryptocurrency means you have access to a password, named as the private key, that enables you to transfer funds to someone else. The private key is a list of characters that is hard to memorize. Wallets were designed to provide a safe and easy way for users to store their private key.
Those wallets offer different levels of service, from the paper wallet where the private key is simply written down on a piece of paper, to the hardware wallets in which the private key is encoded. However, those tools are designed for individuals taking care of their own funds. What happens when the funds belong to several individuals? What happens when the funds belong to a legal entity and its employees may change over time? How do we make sure that no one can leave with all the funds while still being able to use them when needed?
For those reasons, multisig smart-contracts have been designed, they enable several persons to manage funds in a secure way. Smart-contracts are programs that run on the blockchain. Whereas, on standard accounts only one signature is required to send funds, on multisig smart-contracts, several signatures can be required to create a transaction over a certain threshold.
Various multisig implementations exist and each of them provide specific options. One of them has been implemented by Gnosis, it is open sourced and has already been used to store more than $2 billion without ever being hacked. It’s one of the most popular multisig and we can easily interface with it.
To interact with this smart-contract, several tools exist. The official one built by Gnosis, several custom Command Line Interfaces which are all low-level and dedicated to developers and interfaces such as MyCrypto which are not specifically designed for multisig. Those require technical knowledge and pale in comparison to neobank standards. There won’t be mass adoption until the tools are ready for a less-informed audience. The wallet being the first chain link for any company to enter the crypto world, we need to get it right.
Other solutions such as custodial services also exist, however we believe companies should be able to be their own custodian of their funds, not leaving the responsibility of managing their private keys to a third-party. If the third party fails or become rogue, companies lose everything. It is also fundamentally contrarian to the principles of decentralized technologies.
However, being one’s own bank is difficult and brings a lot of responsibilities on the owners themselves. Basic errors could involve very large amounts of losses. Thus, we need to design interfaces that look neat, are easy to understand, leave no error possibility for users, and are secured to prevent any attack.
This is why we are building Multis: a cryptobank for companies. This interface enables companies to manage their cryptos. Our users will be able to access, transfer and receive their cryptos. While being able to delegate responsibilities within the team and to remain in custody of their funds.
Multis will be the gateway for companies to access cryptos.
To achieve this, we are focusing on several key components and differentiators.
First, we start developing this interface for the Ethereum ecosystem. It gathers tens of thousands developers which is by far much more than any other crypto ecosystem. Also, most of the ICOs have been built on the ethereum network and many tokens are currently following the ethereum standard ERC20 (a technical standard to create a token on Ethereum). Our target customers are Ethereum users.
Second, we are dedicated to companies. They don’t have the necessary tools to run their business efficiently. All have to design and build custom tools that fit their own needs. Companies waste a lot of energy, and security standards are rarely met. We will be bridging the gap between crypto-currencies and the corporate world.
Third, we understand the crucial need for a better user experience to democratize access to cryptocurrency. Understanding the underlying technology should not be necessary for our users.
Finally, we intend to be agnostic by including as many protocols, multisig & signing systems as possible. The future will not be one blockchain to rule them all but an interchain of all the various blockchains, each providing its own specificities.
Today, Multis is a web application that integrates and uses Gnosis multisig smart-contracts to store the funds. It also uses Metamask to interact with the blockchain. Metamask is a chrome plugin that enables users to send, receive cryptos and interact with smart contracts. While a wallet in itself, it also integrates with the safest hardware wallets that are Ledger and Trezor. This personal wallet is used by more than a million users and is the main solution to interact with dApps, decentralized applications built on the ethereum network.
The interface currently works with ETH and ERC20 tokens.
Our users access their funds through a custom interface, they are able to send/request cryptos, set a daily limit (the amount an user can send everyday without needing the approval of the others) and manage users. All the transactions linked to the contract are also available.
The homepage of the app is splitted in the header, the pending transactions and the past transactions. The pending transactions are the transaction requests that have not been approved yet or which are not yet recorded in the blockchain.
To send a transaction, our users accomplish several simple steps.
Click send on the header of the application.
Enter the Counterparty name, a white-list of counterparties is recorded within Multis.
Choose the cryptocurrency to be sent, enter the amount and provide additional information that will be linked to the transaction. Then click on Submit transaction.
Confirm transaction in the Metamask pop-up.
If the transaction is below a certain threshold, it will be validated and broadcasted to the network. Otherwise, other signers will receive a notification and they will be invited to either Deny or Confirm the transaction.
Once they approve the transaction, Metamask will pop-up and instruct them to sign the transaction.
When the number of signers required is reached, the final transaction will be broadcasted to the network. And once it is uploaded on the blockchain, the transaction will appear in the past transactions table.
To request a transaction from one of your counterparties with Multis, you simply have to fill the form below.
On the current version, this will trigger an email to the counterparty that needs to do a payment with the necessary information. In the next versions, we intend to interact with protocols enabling payment requests, and simplifying the transaction tracking.
With Multis, our users will be able to delegate rights to their teams. From the Admin who created the Multis account to the User who will only be able to request transactions and payments.
Note that users already using Gnosis multisig don’t have to move their funds anywhere: we are simply providing a new way to interact with it. This drastically reduces adoption friction and if anything would happen to Multis, our user would still be able to access their funds.
For new companies, we’ll deploy the contract and transfer them the signing rights. For those users, the notion of smart contract will be completely abstracted as long as they remain on Multis.
In the next steps of Multis, we intend to provide crypto to fiat (USD, EUR, …) exchange solutions directly from the interface. This will reduce the friction between the crypto ecosystem and the traditional one. To make sure of the resilience of our system we will use some decentralized applications and protocols to provide liquidity. Also using banking as a service solutions to offer fiat currency accounts within Multis.
Also, we will provide access to financial services that are based on blockchain protocols and useful to companies. Such as debt contracts or exchange infrastructures. Interfaced with those protocols, our users will be able to use those services as if they were built in Multis. We believe this to be another key of self-banking adoption, being able to run traditional banking operations from the comfort of a refined interface while interacting with decentralized protocols.
In parallel, we plan to introduce other cryptocurrencies depending on our customers needs and the evolution of the market. Indeed, if most of the cryptos companies usually own ETH and their ERC20 token, some of the early companies also detain BTC and sometimes other cryptocurrencies may be used. We will not limit ourselves to Ethereum.
To access the interface, our users will pay a monthly subscription, with no engagement. Set-up fees will only apply for the companies that deploy a new multisig through Multis.
In addition, we may take a fee for the enabled interactions with open financial services.
The crypto ecosystem is booming, while the price rally of 2017 brought a lot of traders and investors, it also brought many developers that are shaping tomorrow’s economy. The number of github repositories related to Ethereum is skyrocketing. Since 2017, more than 1000 companies did an ICO raising more than $12 billion and the numbers keep growing. While most of the companies that hold cryptos today are the ICO companies and the crypto-funds, we believe that in a near future, most companies will need to own cryptos as an alternative form of currency. Multis will open the gate for them.
With that in mind, we are targeting on the one hand companies doing an ICO and on the other hand companies that handle cryptos such as mining companies. A lot of those companies are already using Gnosis Multisig smart contract giving us an edge on other solutions building custom systems.
As of today, more than thousand contracts have been deployed, and it currently secures 2.1 millions ETH. With some research it is possible to find the companies they belong to. This will give us access to a user base to test, improve our product, and most importantly to build our brand trust. When looking for a crypto management solution, new companies will be looking for the easiest one that is deemed secure.
Those companies will be targeted through traditional SaaS distribution channels, such as online advertising on Google and crypto-related websites, whereas our early adopters will also be found on telegram channels, following GitHub repositories or tweeting about their last medium post. On that last platform, we will be creating content for evangelization and education purposes related to cryptos and multisigs. This is content marketing and it will help us build a robust community which is necessary in the early phase of cryptos. Our users are located around the world and we will need to have ambassadors to introduce our solution.
We will also keep an eye on several alternatives that could threaten our solution. Those alternatives are represented on the following diagrams:
The first of them is the Gnosis Safe Team Edition, which is the multisig evolution. The smart-contract will be improved and the interface refined. It is due in 2019, and we will then be able to integrate it to Multis.
Then there is the Ledger Vault which is the team edition of their famous hardware wallet, it is really expensive and currently dedicated to crypto-funds. They implement multisig features directly on their software, and will still need the hardware connection to send transactions which is quite inconvenient. If there is no doubt that they will eventually release a more affordable solution for companies, we intend to be there first.
Finally, we will follow closely on custodial solutions such as the ones provided by Bitgo or Coinbase. By providing a great user experience, we expect to make custodial solutions obsolete. The original vision of cryptobanking is that no one needs to trust anyone else with their funds.
Bitgo is also providing multisig wallets while the users remain in custody of their funds, however when they choose to diversify by the various coins they accept. We intend to diversify by the various services we integrate.
It may seem that, since we are dealing with cryptocurrencies, we will face a lot of security threats. In fact, the biggest security issue we face is about the metadata we store being hacked. This data would only be related to email addresses and counterparty labelling as much of what we use is public information. This issue will be reduced as we implement our solution on decentralized storage services. Most importantly, we won’t face security issues linked to custody management as we won’t be owning cryptocurrencies.
Also, we intend to open-source several parts of our code for audit and improved security.
The Multis team is composed of two engineers with previous experience in startups, consulting and venture capital. We intend to recruit software developers, UX designers, and security experts in the coming months.
All in all, as a cryptobank, we are helping companies manage their funds and we want to be the companies interface to open financial services. We are dedicated to teams and non-developer users. We are building this interface on an already well known technological stack for a fast growing ecosystem that is Ethereum.