The high school startup using blockchain technology

Wednesday 27 August 2014

It was sitting in a coffee shop, reading, in Cleveland Ohio, when 17 year-old Jamie Young came up with the idea for a new bitcoin-based company. The student from Acton Boxborough High School in Massachusettes says he has always had a keen interest in all things crypto, and together with his friend and fellow student, Brendan Duhamel, they set up Pavilion.io.

Pavilion: contract signing using blockchainThe company specializes in using the blockchain for contract signing and they hope it will have many applications in everyday life. “It's very simple,” Young tells BitScan. “Enter your name and email, signer's name and email, and upload your contract.”

Seventeen year-old Duhamel, the firm's growth hacker explains more:

“It’s using the blockchain for proof of existence for anything from a song to a mortage on a house."

The pair have established the firm as an LLC based out of Delaware, USA, along with two other friends. CEO, Jim Thomson has seven years’ experience in corporate law and now resides in California’s technology mecca, Palo Alto. CTO, Poramin Insom is studying a Masters in computer sciences at John Hopkins University.

“I read as much as possible about crypto 2.0 and knew that there was ample room for innovation,” explains Young. “Contracts seemed like a great place to start because they're functional and easy to digitize.”

They do not currently use private keys to sign the contracts, but do use time stamping, and a small bitcoin transaction, sent to a unique address, acts as the signature. By using document time stamping on the blockchain, a document can be proven to exist at a certain moment in time without the need for a centralized organization.

They envisage the service to be of most benefit to companies. “It is much cheaper than Adobe EchoSign or DocuSign,” says Young. “Contracts are free to send and only 1 mBTC to sign.”

So how did two high school students suddenly become interested in bitcoin? Young admits they are pretty unique among their friends, and wishes more of them were as interested as they are. He says unfortunately, even their parents are “not too excited.” This has not deterred the teenagers, who say they “were simply intrigued” by bitcoin and one night decided to take a trip to New York to learn more about it. “I was also looking at it as an investment as I had been running a VIX derivatives fund for the past 16 months,” Young says.

It is no surprise therefore that they also have long-term ambitions for their new venture. “Pavilion is soon-to-be a suite of cheap and simple blockchain applications,” says Young, adding, “Not too many details can be revealed. However, they will connect smart wallets, multi-signature transactions, and the Internet Of Things.”

They see huge potential in alternative uses of the bitcoin blockchain

such as trustless exchange and equity management

and these are some of the areas they are exploring.

“We're developing a smart contracts platform for trustless exchange that will eliminate the need for third parties or middle men,” Young tells us.

Minimizing trust is a big issue for bitcoin users and any innovations that help in this way and make this more convenient are bound to generate interest.

When BitScan asked them about the legal implications of their business, Young says, “Legislation passed during the Clinton era validated digital signatures so I'm not too worried.”

So far, they have kept news and information about Pavilion fairly quiet. “[We] have a few friends testing it out,” says Young, and the firm signed their own Founders Agreement using the blockchain technology.

Louise Goss


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