Blockchain has been a buzz word amongst the mere mortals of the business world for quite some time, especially in the financial sector. Everyone wants to bet on blockchain, everyone wants to integrate it. For a long time, the prospect of Bitcoin, due to a number of factors, among them regulatory and legal issues, was not very attractive, and some were actively vocal: we’ll take the blockchain but we don’t need the Bitcoin, thanks. They were kicking Bitcoin while it was down, of course, and since it has recovered so swimmingly in price over the past dozen months, the “blockchain but not Bitcoin” crowd have quieted down.

Nevertheless, others have also risen on the same tide. Ethereum is trending near $100 each, and its platform is natively intended to support numerous types of applications. In this article we’ll talk about Aragon, an extremely interesting application/platform meant to bring blockchain to every aspect of business management.

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As you can see, Aragon is definitely not going to be “vaporware,” which is always a concern when investing in ICOs. Aragon aims to easily allow any business to integrate the blockchain into their accounting, voting process, fundraising, and later, presumably, more.

Built on the well-established Ethereum platform, Aragon isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel like some of the other enterprise-aimed ICOs we’ve discussed recently. Instead, they’re aiming to fill the ease-of-use gap. While they are most certainly not the only play in this arena of allowing any business to go full blockchain, they are one of the more polished. All of this is very positive, but let’s dig a bit deeper into what they’re about, and then get into the details of the token offering and the likelihood of the investor recovering funds.

Aragon is a dApp [decentralized application] that lets anyone create and manage any kind of organization (companies, open source projects, NGOs, foundations, hedge funds…) on the Ethereum blockchain.

Aragon implements basic features of an organization like a cap table, token transfers, voting, role assignments, fundraising, and accounting. The behavior of an Aragon organization is easily customized by changing the bylaws. In addition, Aragon organizations are extensible through third party modules that interact with the organizations’ contracts.

The paper goes on to discuss the various challenges that the designers and developers sought to overcome, all with a mind toward making it easier for everyday businesspeople to make use of the Ethereum blockchain in their organizations. Among these were a mechanism to resolve subjective contract disputes and a bounty system for the resolution of bugs in the software.

Aragon integrates the Keybase protocol to verify the identity of individuals within the ecosystem. This is a great plus in terms of fraud prevention. They expanded on this part of the platform in a blog post, saying:

Even though the premise of doing anonymous business if you want to seems cool, we know it is idealistic and there will be cases in which people will be socially required to prove their identity before some things can happen.

For example, an investor might require the founders to identify themselves before investing in a company or a payment provider might require to do traditional KYC before providing their service to the company.

Overall, the main purpose of the Whitepaper seems to be to explain the purposes of the various features of Aragon, so if you require more information regarding the innards, read it for yourself.

Who is Behind Aragon

Aragon’s page only lists two principal parties. They do, however, credit a number of individuals in their Whitepaper, including Satoshi Nakamoto and Vitalik Buterin (founder of Ethereum). The first principal party is Luis Cuende, who has been listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 (to watch) list. He previously founded the Stampery project, which is one of many blockchain data verification services out there. He’s contributed to or created over 40 repositories on Github. One of them is interesting and unusual: a JavaScript module that creates visuals to go along with Electronic Dance Music. As a person, he seems genuine, motivated, and interesting. In a recent interview, he said:

The biggest takeaway is that we’re truly just getting started. I remember being in Bitcoin conferences years ago and thinking — oh wow, this is growing fast. Or, oh wow, Bitcoin is too expensive these days. But then you think about how revolutionary the crypto movement is, and you realize that we’re still in its baby stage.

For me, the Ethereum ecosystem has been the most welcoming ecosystem ever. And tons of talented developers are joining everyday.

I still love Bitcoin — I think it’s a very good digital gold — but Ethereum is just the perfect tool to decentralize the world. Things that we couldn’t even dream of with Bitcoin are now possible with Ethereum.

Cuende is the “project lead” for Aragon. This means that his responsibilities are among many different categories. In charge of the technology, however, is Jorge Izquierdo.

Izquierdo has made over 1,800 commits on Github in the past year. This is a lot, by any standard, but doesn’t always mean they’re all of substance. One of his projects is called It’s an Ethereum-backed messaging platform.

It is meant to be kind of a transport protocol for messages, also having encryption and timestamping built in.

As you can see, both developers are interested in expanding the Ethereum protocol, and Aragon is one more move in that direction. If all things fall into place for them, and it seems they just might, they could be looking at a very successful future as a leader in blockchain-for-business solutions.

Investment Details

The Aragon ICO will begin on May 17th and will run until June 16th. A complete development roadmap is available. The ICO will only be conducted through the Ethereum platform, and more details about how the actual transactions will take place is available here. You can, of course, acquire Ethereum using Bitcoin if you do not already have any.

Although they are doing a bug bounty to find problems in advance of the ICO launch, they have in place a mechanism to stop and restart the ICO if necessary. This would mean that people would get their funds back and would have to invest again if there were some problem. This adds a measure of relief to anyone overly worried. Another thing that is interesting is that they will not have access to the funds at all until the end of the sale.

Going back to the genuineness of the players involved, it seems that transparency is also very important to them, as it is to most cryptocurrency investors and aficionados.

The Verdict

This project is cool. Very cool. Businesses of the future who are looking to integrate the blockchain into their business models will certainly be considering the Aragon platform, for its ease of use and powerful features. The chances of it competing swimmingly in the arena of blockchain-for-business is very high. It’s easy to see more modules being developed for the platform. A moonshot thought is that someone like UPS or FedEx might integrate their own data into the network in order to help businesses track packages as well as to help themselves keep track of them in an immutable way. One assumes these companies already have proprietary solutions in place, but Aragon could be very attractive to them nevertheless, or a big help to competitors for them in less-developed regions.

Given all of the above, including the Forbes recognition of Cuendes, it’s hard to give this thing a lowball rating. The author feels that this would be money well-invested, and so we’re going with a solid 6.5/10 on Aragon ANT tokens. You can check out the contract for ANT here.