Around September last year, a new Blockchain technology journey began for Nigerians as first centric Web3 top level domain, as .9jacom, went live.
So, is over a year since we at Techeconomy broke that news.
The TLD – .9jacom allowed Nigeria to claim a Global Technology First.
We caught up on its founder, John Mc Keown (JMK), an Irish man married to a Nigerian, and with several children with dual nationality.
Since then, we also covered a few of 9ja Cosmos later product launches, including the first ‘NFT’ like digital assets to the FIFA world cup finals in Qatar last year (read more here).
Now we are back to him again, to find he and 9ja Cosmos have done another world first.
Using Blockchain Technology, John has ‘registered’ 9ja Cosmos as a borderless business, belonging everywhere and nowhere, belonging to everyone who owns shares, regardless of where they are.
TE: Where did you get the idea?
JMK – Well I wanted to give something to community. But I’m not a fan of location events, and I’m not a fan of physical ‘merch’ (probably made in poorly paying sweat shops in the global south).
We must make the idea of ‘decentralization driving fairness’ more than just about how the product is made. So, I came to the idea of giving away a % of 9ja Cosmos to early community adopters.
TE: So, how did you do that?
So, I’m now very familiar with how the Handshake Blockchain works. ‘TLDs’ generated off the blockchain are just tokens that have been afforded multiple use cases. I just decided to create loads of ‘names’ with random strings that wouldn’t seem interesting for those typical use cases, and as ‘tokens’ use them to represent shares in 9ja Cosmos instead.
TE: John, will it work?
JMK: Well, Peter, the idea of using blockchain tokens (which is essentially what HNS domains are) as a representative of share allocation isn’t new. Legal firms in Switzerland have been doing it for several years. But the company behind the issuance is still registered with a sovereign authority. The tokenization is just a function of share management. Blockchain is being used by them to execute on shareholder activities more efficiently, but it’s still a company with sovereign limitations – like in Nigeria how you have a CAC certificate, and the company files annual returns, and so on.
In the case of 9ja Cosmos, it isn’t registered anywhere, except the Handshake Blockchain. It is extra-sovereign.
That’s what makes it new, that’s what makes us ‘first’, and it’s already working.
TE: How does that work?
JMK: Embedded text records in the domains update share ownership, and enable things like voting at an AGM, or claiming dividends, and other potential shareholder actions as allowed by the share type.
Currently we only have two types of shares – The celebratory shares are ‘up to’ 500 eligible for 5% of the business, and so worth 0.01% of 9ja Cosmos each.
The ‘ordinary’ shares, which make up the remaining 95% are issued as 950 tokens, and so are worth 0.1% each.
So far, we’ve issued some of the celebratory shares, and 1.5% of the business (15 ordinary shares) have been transferred to a support business in lieu of payment.
Celebratory shares are ‘soulbound’, but ordinary shares are tradeable. Our share register system is trustless, with ZKP (Zero Knowledge Proof). Shares can be traded atomically, or through any marketplace that supports Handshake Domain sales. The register with status of shares will be open source published, so the global public can identify them.
TE: Are we now in a new age of illegal activity hidden behind anonymity?
JMK: Not really, because only the executive can execute on the collective will of shareholders. That executive will still be accountable to ‘the law of the land’. What it will not be able to do is report on income and other benefits extracted by shareholders.
The executive will know when benefit issue happened and what was issued to what class of share, but it won’t know who owns shares. Income declaration is a decentralized responsibility enforced by the technology and in which executive can play no part. Shareholders have full autonomy over disclosure.
TE: If others follow 9ja Cosmos lead – wouldn’t there be a breakdown of Sovereign control?
JMK: Peter, I don’t think sovereign control need to get panic attacks just yet! Though obviously, if down the line, this form of ‘incorporation’ becomes popular, authorities would need to approach some things differently.
Regulatory control may prove challenging… one of the problems with civil structures is they become lazy and inefficient over time, and expecting the same draconian tools to always work. In some things, Legislation and Regulation are two tools that are well past their sell by date.
They could for example, decide to become ‘ordinary shareholders’ themselves, and get influence through ownership. Not saying that’s an ideal answer, I’m sure lead civil servants and law makers can come up with new ideas to cope with changing methods of business incorporation!