Eight years ago, we launched Notarize with the goal of digitizing trust. With Proof, we take the next step in our journey towards bringing trust to every transaction.
June 21, 2023
I started Notarize in 2015 because a ski accident forced me to realize that for all the things technology had transformed in our society, it was still not trusted to handle many of life’s most important transactions. Even today, too much of our critical commerce is still being done on paper with a ballpoint pen. Traveling around to sign paper documents is one of the most frustrating ways in which we still live like our ancestors. How is it that we have the technology to land on Mars, but we don’t have a way to transact sensitive matters digitally, in a way that is highly secure and universally trusted?
Today, I’m excited to announce our vision to solve that problem, Proof, the world’s first identity-assured transaction management platform. With Proof, our mission is to bring trust to every transaction.
Eight years ago, we set out to digitize trust. We launched Notarize to redefine notarization - replacing the conventional - an outdated and inconvenient experience - with something that was accessible, easy to use, and more secure than what was ever possible on paper. We helped advance state laws and industry acceptance. We created the remote online notarization category, and Notarize was responsible for many firsts along the way. The first mortgage to close virtually, the first online auto sale, and the first will to ever be signed online - were all performed on Notarize. We’ve served millions of customers. And we’ve had an incredible impact. Notarize has secured more than $185B in real estate closings and accelerated our business customers’ operations by more than 34 million days.
We were able to do this because we built a platform for customers to connect with a notary at any hour of the day, from anywhere in the world, in less than a second. We built tools for businesses to manage and collect online notarizations at scale. We built tools for notaries to complete perfect transactions while complying with more than 4 million rules and regulations. For the first time, Notarize makes notary services available like any other digital infrastructure that runs your business - always on and always connected. We save customers an average of 14 days, eliminating virtually all errors that otherwise plague 30% of paper notarizations, and saving as much as $110 per transaction.
Today, industries run on Notarize. People connect with our notaries 24/7 every day of the year to sign some of the most important documents in life. It’s been quite the journey, and we’ve heard a lot from our customers.
We serve the men and women in our armed services who are finally able to execute critical forms for their family while deployed overseas.
We serve parents stuck abroad in desperate need of a notarization for a child to travel home.
We serve those who are homebound, allowing them to finally update critical financial documentation or make preparations to their will from the privacy and safety of their own home.
We serve farmers in the heartland, thrilled they can sell their tractor to their neighbor without driving hours into town, saving them precious time.
We serve notaries who tell us how the freedom to work from home and the opportunity to help customers on Notarize has changed their lives.
We serve businesses struggling to meet their customers online, stuck under a pile of millions of paper documents. And others who are grappling with fraud and forgery in the eSignature agreements they’re currently collecting. They’re turning to Notarize not for notarizations but to secure high-value transactions. They’re asking us to do more.
These stories are what fuel our passion. But the truth is, we’ve always been more than a notarization company; we are actually in the business of trust. Why do we even perform notarizations as a society? It’s to prove that you’ve signed something and to protect your signature from being forged. A notarization creates a trusted record. That’s why somebody can’t just pretend to be you and sell your property out from under you. And why a doctor trusts a power of attorney authorizing your partner to make critical decisions when your life needs saving in the hospital.
Wouldn’t we want our signature and identity to be secure at all times (even for the forms that don’t require a notarization)? Don’t we want our decisions and our records to be instantly trusted? The benefits are obvious.
In order to achieve trust in every transaction, society needs a way to prove it was really you and that you did something (e.g. agree to the terms). We need records to be instantly trusted and self-validating. A new type of transactional platform has to emerge with the following core principles.
Smart execution: A platform that understands state laws, regulatory requirements, and company policies to determine how to execute a document that will be legally binding and accepted. Without an intelligent platform, industries will remain petrified, unsure of what solution to use for each transaction.
Evidence: A completed document is not enough, you need proof. You need evidence that is indisputable and will hold up in court. Evidence proves that this person performed this action. And technology must ensure the records cannot be tampered with.
Fraud prevention: Every credit card payment is actively monitored for fraud. Using our identity and signature should be no different. Every time you sign on the dotted line, we should be constantly evaluating: “is this really you?”. And your identity should be bound to the data with the highest level of cryptography so your signature can’t be forged or tampered with.
Built to the highest standards: You want platforms handling sensitive transactions to be built to the highest industry standards. More than that, they should be audited and certified that your identity is protected to the highest degree.
These principles have been the cornerstone to our platform for years, and we continue to advance these core capabilities with today’s launch of Proof. We’re on a mission to secure all critical commerce in our economy because a digital transaction is truly more secure, auditable, and trustworthy than pen and paper.
Proof is our most significant product launch to date, representing years of innovation and realizing a vision we set years ago. We’re advancing the entire online notarization category again by raising the bar and introducing industry-leading fraud prevention features.
We are also introducing a new way to transact, it’s called a Proof. It’s an identity assured transaction where a NIST IAL2 level identification can be bound to every signature, even for those documents that don’t require a notarization. A Proof locks in legally binding evidence to create trusted records. A Proof is a smart transaction executed according to whatever regulations or business policies apply.
Of course, Notarize will still exist. It will continue to be the largest, fastest, most trusted network of online notaries at your service. Notarize will still power experiences for our partners like Adobe and FedEx. And it will still allow people to connect with a notary in our network - instantly.
Notaries are trust agents. It comes as a surprise to most, but they’re authorized to do much more than most people are aware of. Have you ever asked yourself why you can sign your I-9 with a colleague at work - or a notary? As a trained, background screened agent of the state, they’re entrusted in many different ways. With Proof, we are bringing notaries into the heart of digital commerce. Whenever there is a problem with the digital identity process, notaries can serve to verify an identity and act as a trusted referee. We are launching the world’s safest and fastest trusted referee platform, giving notaries unprecedented tools to certify someone’s identity. Proof is the first solution that provides automated identity verification with humans in the loop. When ID verification can't confirm an identity, a user is connected with a trusted referee to complete the process. It’s going to enable businesses to digitize identity with enterprise grade SLAs without having to find staff to manually review IDs.
The Notarize Network is continuing its evolution toward a marketplace of trust transactions, from basic notarizations, to real estate closings, custom business transactions, and now identity verifications. Notaries have always been an important part of facilitating critical commerce in society, and we will continue to honor them by creating new opportunities to service the world.
The world has also changed since I started Notarize. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence and the proliferation of machine generated content, it’s never been harder to understand who created what and if what you hold is authentic. The need for trusted records provably tied to the identity of the creator has never been greater.
We want to live in a world where everyone has confidence that their identity and signature is secure and cannot be easily forged. The process of signing anything is instantaneous and frictionless, easier than swiping your credit card. When somebody tries to forge our signature, real-time fraud monitoring kicks in to protect you, your home, and your life savings. That is what trust in the digital age looks like.
With trust in every transaction, the speed of commerce will accelerate. Things will take seconds, not days or weeks. We will do better for the environment by removing all the paper that circulates globally every year. In the end, customers will prefer to conduct matters digitally, rather than with pen and paper, because it’s safer and more secure.
When it matters, get Proof. This is the future of a fully digital economy. I hope you all join us to shape this future together.