Win-Win Looks to Smart Contracts to Modernize the Mediation Process

Bitcoin began a revolution in banking and finance. However, blockchain has numerous potential use cases in other industries. Recognizing the conditions on the ground, IDC recently forecasted a 48% growth per annum for industry spending on blockchain. The market intelligence company joins marketing research firm Gartner and professional service company Deloitte who previously outlined similar impactful predictions.

Yet, there’s no such thing as an overnight success, and the technology underpinning distributed ledgers has a perhaps surprising origin in the area of document verification. Originally, cryptographers Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta developed blockchain as part of a timestamping service. In so doing, they leveraged hash functions as a means to certify a document’s contents and publication date. A straightforward analogy would be mailing a sealed envelope to one’s self to date the contents.

The New York Times also has a role in this genesis story. Since 1995, the newspaper has published Haber and Stornetta’s AbsoluteProof “hash-chain” in its classified section. Like mining blocks in proof-of-work blockchains, the professional service produces a cryptographic seal from a collection of customer timestamp certificates from a given period. Publishing the hash value in The New York Times allows third parties to verify timestamps while helping prove the integrity of the digital documents involved.

Mediation On-chain

Similarly beyond the world of finance, The Win-Win team aims to utilize Cardano in the mediation process. Their Fund6 Dispute Resolution proposal outlines a dApp that will leverage the automated nature of smart contracts to establish a marketplace for resolving disputes.

Win-Win’s proposal provides an overview of the mediation process. In brief, an impartial third party is at the center of the dispute resolution technique. Mediators typically lack a pre-established relationship with the disputing parties and are solely tasked with finding amenable solutions.

More precisely, mediators may benefit a situation by providing subject matter expertise, defining the contours of a relationship, facilitating transactions, or otherwise collaborating towards a resolution. Overall, the process offers an alternative to costly litigation, which may unduly occupy the time and resources of the disputing parties.

In an August video, Win-Win members Matthias Sieber and Victor Corcino discussed their dApp proposal with Ken Adams. Ken Adams hosts the KEWW channel on YouTube, which covers the Cardano ecosystem in detail:

While Win-Win aims to provide mediation to an international user base, the project has its roots in California and the American legal system. Under the hood, the dApp is a marketplace the functions by matching disputing parties with a neutral mediator.

As Sieber explains, this is in contrast to traditional mediation. The typical process relies heavily on individual mediators promoting their services. In addition to other inefficiencies, talented mediators can work themselves out of a job. After all, if they mediate effectively and solve problems, there are no more disputing parties needing their assistance.

The Win-Win team addresses these shortcomings via its application. Although the software is currently in development, it will incorporate sentiment analysis and natural language processing to match parties appropriately. Moreover, disputing members and mediators outline their availability to ensure that quality mediation happens quickly. Win-Win is also working with several universities to establish a pool of interested mediators before launch.

In a separate video, Sieber demonstrated a prototype of the Win-Win dApp:

“Really good mediations often result in a hug.”

The demo provides an overview of the basic layout and functionality of Win-Win’s dApp. The UI walks users through registering, scheduling, and other details surrounding usage. There is also a form for mediators to list their specialty and disputing parties to specify their time frame. Naturally, a dashboard will also display the relevant aspects of a user’s profile and their status on the platform. Overall, the experience seems similar to a social networking service application.

Proposal Details and the Win-Win Team

Win-Win’s flagship proposal summarizes the significant issues of the mediation landscape:

  • trustworthy credentials
  • ease-of-use
  • reliable payments
  • dependable workflow for mediators

Cardano and the dApp structure provide many solutions. Atala PRISM and reputable institutions will help place competent mediators while the software application matches parties. Smart contracts will guarantee that the payment process is fair and prompt, providing refunds when appropriate. Importantly, Win-Win will provide repeat work for skillful mediators, helping ensure that quality mediators manage most of the workload across the platform.

Win-Win’s 12-member team is led by Matthias Sieber who has over 20 years of software development experience. The developer is also experienced in the Cardano ecosystem. He participated in the first cohort of Plutus Pioneers and currently interns with Plutus Partner MLabs. Other members have extensive software, social work, and legal backgrounds.

Finally, Win-Win’s platform will grow to encompass several aspects of dispute resolution. Readers can find other related Project Catalyst proposals by the team, as well as projects to benefit the Cardano ecosystem:

If you’d like to learn more information or have questions for the Win-Win team, check out their proposals on IdeaScale or the link provided:

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