A personal account of how Commercio.network was born, built with CosmosSDK, launched and what’s next for the CommercioConsortium.org we have created.
Imagine, one glorious morning passing through the Valpolicella wineries in Italy, arriving at Villa Canestrari, location of the commercio.network 2.0 main-net Launch Event.
Imagine meeting the most amazing 32 CEOs of IT European companies. People that believed in The Documents Blockchain™ project and invested their time and money helping us transforming a dream into a reality by joining our consortium and learning how to become a Validator Node.
Imagine the energy produced by a group of fantastic people that believe in a digital transformation future. People that think that the blockchain is not just Bitcoins, kitties and ICOs, but an amazing technology that can be used for reshaping the way people share and sign documents with each other.
This is no longer just a dream. We made it happen. here’s the story so far.
The Birth of Commercio.network
It all started in mid-2017 in Cancun. Davide, Johnny and I attended the Etherum DevCon3 Conference. After three days of “ICO driven talks”, one late afternoon looking at a sunset, sipping wine, we started wondering if there will ever be something useful build on the blockchain. We asked ourselves, what is one valuable thing people share with each other every day besides money?
Why don’t we create a Blockchain just for exchanging business documents instead of just Cryptocurrency?
At the time scalability was something that the Ethereum community has just started tackling, but we honestly believed we needed to wait just a little bit longer. We were drinking wine, remember.
In 2018 we created the Commerc.io srl startup company, we invited 25 colleagues for a dinner and we pitch them The Documents Blockchain™ idea. I am not sure if was the food, the wine, but people opened the checkbooks and started writing on them. We ended up raising 1 Million $ in one evening. Yeah, it was definitely the wine…
The 25 Commerc.io srl co-founders are people that believe in a better future and are willing to invest time and money to make it happen. They are: Davide, Leandro, Johnny, Antonio, Matteo, Filippo, Enrico, Maurizio, Federico, Claudio, Andrea, Enrico, Giorgio, Roy, Enrico, Francesca, Alberto, Alessandro, Federico, Gianluca, Paolo, Stefano, Antonio, Davino, and Mirko.
After a few months of hitting the Ethereum scalability hurdle the hard way, we were at our lowest emotional point. Davide Coletto and I felt we never going to make it. But one lucky encounter with Shelley from Tendermint Inc. changed everything. I was actually at a Polkadot meeting and started chatting with her. She pitched me the Cosmos SDK proposition, and told me they were launching the Cosmos hub Proof of Stake in early 2019… Wow. Was I dreaming? Someone just told me they will actually release something scalable? I was really intrigued and started researching about Jae Kwon and Ethan Buchman’s work. I thought it was amazing stuff.
I took the big gamble, as an enterpreneur sometimes you need to take risks, we wind down Ethereum and focused all energies and efforts on CosmosSDK .
The gamble paid off.
Fast forward to 27 December 2018 when we launch our first 0.1 Testnet called Polo. It worked! We were able to build a Proof of Concept, of The Documents Blockchain™, in a fraction of time. GoLang is simpler to learn than Solidity. The attack surface is smaller since the smart contract interactions are less of a deal. The performance was phenomenal (10K TPS). I totally wanted to meet Jae and Ethan to thank them personally, but Tendermint inc was totally focused on the Cosmos Hub. I eventually met Jae and Ethan in Berlin Conversations Summit later and It was amazing. I learned more about ICF and its mission to spread a simple safe and sustainable Blockchain technology. I made myself available to help them on the Enterprise Sector.
In 2019 we knew we could do it but not alone, so we created the CommercioConsortium.org. We spent all year focusing on 3 things:
- Getting the Validator Nodes onboard by explaining
- Building the core Software
- Creating the best SDKs to reach IT Companies worldwide
Building it with Cosmos SDK was amazing, the technology is great, but we needed to focus on creating something that followed current legal standards.
We are using cutting edge tech to improve the current centralized trust systems. We need to be compliant with the 3 pillars of eIDAS standards:
- eID using Self Sovereign Identity
- eSignature simplifying Electronic signatures to the max
- eDelivery, using the blockchain to store the document hash
There was only one guy in Italy that could pull that off. Destiny is strange since 10 years ago I met that guy, while he was working with is startup on what would later become, the Italy National ID standard SPID.
That person is Egidio Casati co-founder of Nym a startup specialized in Self Sovereign Identity and Verifiable Credentials. He jumped on board and as a DEUS-EX-MACHINA, [ in the classic greek drama, the plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and unlikely occurrence ] help us creating maybe the first eIDAS Compliant Blockchain in Europe. All Done with Cosmos SDK Tech.
A pleasant Surprise
January 29, 2020, Davide Coletto and I were at Istambul at BlockIS Horizon2020 Event. Commercio.network was selected out of the best 240 Blockchain Companies in Europe among the Winners.
Did we expect that? No. Where we happy? Yes.
We pitched a future project called CommercioPAY, it is still an early prototype, but it will allow companies to get their invoices paid, without the dreadfull 120 days payment delay, most South-European companies face.
How are we going to do it? Look at the Video of the 3 minutes pitch.
The Launching of Commercio.network
January 30, 2020, is the day we announced the launch of Commercio.network 2.0 main-net allows any companies to encrypt, exchange and sign business documents between the participants to ensure the:
- Paternity the document was created by a declared sender
- Non-repudiation can not deny having digitally signed the document
- Integrity of the document has not been altered during transport
Writing this post reminded me of all the roads we walked,and all the amazing people we met and help us during our two years journey... But HONESTLY this is just the beginning. In the next 6 years we have challenged ourselves to reach BIG objectives:
- 100 Independent Validators Nodes in the EU that will help us reach…
- 100.000 IT Companies to use our free SDKs to build Apps that solve real problems that will help us reach…
- 100.000.000 end users that will use our blockchain share and sign documents
Yes, I know, it looks like an unreachable goal but if you set yourself with very high goals, you might end up not reaching them, but what you will accomplish might still be big.
Are we going to reach them alone? No. We have put together an amazing team of talented people and Advisors:
Commerc.io srl core development team:
Alessio Treglia, is helping us shape the future of Commercio.network. He is the head of EMEA partnerships at Cosmos/Tendermint and he’s one of the most experienced GoLang Developers I’ve met. Having him supervising our codebase feels like standing on the shoulders of Giants.
Tradenet.it team: A bunch of developers I shared the last 25 years of my professional life; Pier Giorgio, Raffaele, Marco, Mario, Gianguido, Fulvio, Massimo, Valentina, Mattia, Pier, Raffaella, Lelia, Loretta, and Luciana.
Also Special thanks to our Token Economics Advisor Luca Bazzurro
Commercio Consortium team:
The Consortium Council who is screening and organizing the future of the governance of our validator node network: Johnny, Silvia, Leandro, Pier Giorgio, and Egidio are leading an organiziation that grew from 3 to 32 members in just few months. Luciana and Angela are also helping the Consortium on communication and Marketing.
The Commercio Token:
The Commercio Token (COM) is the unsung hero of this story, it is our business motivation tool because the value of the network we are creating is 100% captured by our Token. Everyone can actively participate and earn by staking it. Currently it is available only to the CommercioConsortium.org Members, but one day, it will become available to anyone anywhere.
Getting together 32 companies on one consortium, working together to create a cutting edge technology, was the most difficult task of the last 25 years of my professional carreer, but it was worth it.
Today, looking at all you people in this room I have the feeling that we can reach big goals. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together