Startup Feature: Vellum, an On-Chain DocuSign

Coinfeeds Staff
Last Updated:
February 28, 2023
Published:
February 28, 2023

We spoke to the founder of Vellum, a new e-signature product with blockchain technology, and are excited to share the latest innovations in legal tech

At Coinfeeds, we recently started actively interviewing founders and teams of companies that we scout, which, as we expected, led us to some interesting discoveries. 

We reached out to serial founder Diego Segura with the aim to discuss the journey of NATION.io, an on-chain launcher of movements with funding options and governance features. 

It then turned out that Diego had left NATION to pursue a new initiative that would be more aligned with his vision – Vellum. Vellum is a legal agreement signer and manager with a plethora of inventive features that other e-signature platforms are lacking. 

Diego told us about his time participating in some of the early online technology forums, how he started out by doing graphic design for the underground innovators. The "hacker attitude" he learned throughout helped Diego look at concepts from the first principles, which is where Vellum comes up. 

Looking at Web3 a Different Way

While the majority of blockchain-related companies tend to push buzzwords and highlight web3 everywhere possible, Vellum, although having on-chain solutions, is focused on building up from the fundamental concepts of digital products, adding blockchain tech only as a perk. 

As an e-signature platform, Vellum innovates the most through transparency – not only can the contracts be immutable via hashing, have a Git-like version history, but they can also be made public, which is not possible on alternative products. 

Public contracts accessible to everyone can make individual and organizational operations clearer, which is part of what web3 communities are after. 

In addition to transparency features, Vellum differentiates by offering a mobile-native contract reading experience, text notifications for status changes, and even a built-in text editor that neither DocuSign, Acrobat, nor others have. 

Concept user interface items of Vellum

What the Future Contracts Need

A Vellum signature contains an IP address of a signer, a hash, a linked on-chain transaction, and more. Our discussion with Diego had led to seeing the true future potential of cryptographically signed, managed, and immutable documents, which is where the question of party accountability came up. 

Counterparties still get away with not having met the terms, whether it's about not sending out a payment or delivering a product/service. This is where the potential escrow-like structures on a blockchain step in, withholding funds in an on-chain pool until a given service is delivered.

The team is also working on post-execution instructions that would, in a trustless way, move funds once multiple parties have signed an agreement - this becomes a hub for multi-signature proposals on traditional contracts. 

Vellum has already been funded by big players like Placeholder, Slow Ventures, Solana, Tribe Capital, Circle, and others in late 2022, and now the team is actively building or finalizing the core parts of the product. 

While Vellum is yet to release an API for interacting with the e-signature infrastructure, projects are welcome to reach out and get involved in manual partnerships with Vellum for integration.

The Road to Web3 Adoption

The e-signature service is largely based on blockchain technology, but it does not have to be. Diego explained that the important part of Vellum is that everyone could use the product, including people who have no knowledge or interest in web3. 

Vellum, even without the on-chain features, is steps ahead of the established legal agreements services, with the immutability and transparency that come with blockchain being only a cherry on top. 

Once people start using the new signing service infused with new customization and convenience possibilities through the text editor and notifications, as they explore the platform further, the needs and wants for web3 features may arise naturally, thus growing the mainstream adoption of blockchains.