Private Firearm Database
Our new company called BlockandCode is being formed to address the gun issue directly by employing a privatized ledger system using blockchain. Essentially, we are using technology to address a major social issue. This approach is predicated on the premise that gun owners are responsible and moral citizens, and that the issue may not be solved by the government or through more legislation. Note that the firearm blockchain would transcend ideology and eventually become self-regulating.
Firearm Blockchain Summary
The issues of gun control are back in the headlines with no foreseeable solution in sight. Municipalities are now spending over $100B annually on violent gun crimes and firearm homicides. One major concern is that the US government will not allow searchable gun databases, primarily because the NRA has fought to oppose these regulations. The NRA contends that with a public database, the government would have a national registry and could confiscate firearms from private citizens. Strong lobbying efforts with Congress have solidified the NRA’s position.
Naturally, a vast majority of Americans are concerned that the gun violence issue may never be solved and that Congress will continue to equivocate on the issue. One workable solution is to privatize the firearm database by using blockchain to record all transactions. This strategy would be non-ideological and remove the US government from oversight. Because blockchain utilizes a distributive ledger system, it is very secure and essentially hacker proof.
Now is the opportune time to leverage a private database. Blockchain has proven itself as a mature technology for online transactions and, given its secure ledger system, gun owners will have confidence that their privacy is being maintained. Plus, iterative algorithms can be combined with AI or machine learning to lay the foundation for predictive analytics of future gun related violence.
Overall, the blockchain strategy is predicated upon the premise that most gun owners are responsible citizens and do not wish to see their firearms used in mass shootings or gang related violence. The goal would be to have owners and retailers internalize the social costs by registering their firearms using the blockchain technology. The gun owner would then be able to track his or her firearm’s future transactions and determine the number and timing of purchases by a potential buyer.
Correspondingly, gun owners may not wish to proceed with a firearm sale if they felt the new owner was stockpiling guns or if the firearms were to be used as for illegal purposes. This is especially true should other members on the database become aware that the gun owner knowingly was aiding violent crimes through the sale of guns. In this way, the social peer pressure of registering the guns on the blockchain will greatly reduce the sale of firearms to users in gun related violence. Eventually, the gun blockchain would evolve into a self-policing platform where members would regulate the sale of guns among other members.
Additionally, by protecting the identity of gun owners, the blockchain ledger system would gain bipartisan support and remove ideology on the firearm control issue. Because blockchain maintains a list of all transactions, gun owners would be aware of firearms that were being removed from the database and could quickly alert the proper officials with the its description and origination.
Not unlike the concept of network effects, the effectiveness of the database strategy increases exponentially with the number of users. In turn, as more members join, the blockchain approach would possibly predict future tragedies by using AI, machine learning and pattern recognition.
Historically, many novel technologies have been very successful in overcoming social issues. In a similar fashion, the blockchain ledger system would eventually evolve into a highly workable solution that meaningfully addresses the gun violence issue.
ATF, Value Proposition, Incentives and Monetization
The Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF):
The ATF works with regional law enforcement agencies to trace firearms using ballistic software. Each gun and bullet / cartridge has specific barreling characteristics (similar to fingerprints) and the software is more than 99% accurate. In the proposed firearm blockchain ledger system, the members would upload their gun’s ballistic and marking information, including fired cartridge photos, manufacturer name, serial number, firearm caliber and model. With the structure of the blockchain, these firearm owners would remain anonymous and maintain their privacy rights. The barreling data or firearm marking information would then be used to trace all the firearm’s transactions that eventually ended in a shooting.
The company plans to introduce strategies that will provide tangible returns to blockchain ecosystem members and industry participants. First, we would launch an MVP (minimum viable product) for an MVE (minimum viable ecosystem or the supply chain of firearms) within a specific geographic area, such as a state. In order to gain valuable feedback, the company would use a pilot program that includes a small group of gun owners, gun retailers, the ATF and law enforcement agencies. We would then continue to experiment, test and adjust the business model until it becomes user-friendly and meets the expectations of all ecosystem members. Additionally, the company would want to clearly understand the value proposition for all network participants with the goal that each sees a positive financial return from economies of scale, lower operational costs or a safer environment.
Incentives for ecosystem member to join the blockchain:
One potential economic incentive for network participants to join would be to provide stock grants or options of the blockchain company for each network participant that registers as part of our ecosystem. Essentially, they would become equity owners in the blockchain company, not unlike employees or contractors being awarded stock grants or options. Naturally, the legal structure behind this incentive may be complex, however, if the company can make it work, then the next step would be to create avenues for viral marketing to quickly build membership, such as providing additional stock for each referral to the blockchain. Eventually, networks effects would come into play where, as the database increases in size, the more valuable it becomes for all ecosystem members.
A non-economic incentive for gun owners and other network participants to join is that they would receive the moral benefit of helping to solve a major societal issue. These ecosystem members would be viewed as responsible citizens and the company would promote their goodwill as part of the solution. To that end, we could provide a certificate of compliance to demonstrate their loyalty and good citizenship.
- Monetization of the blockchain:
The company would propose developing industry standards for firearm manufacturers and dealerships within the ecosystem similar to those for Underwriter’s Laboratory or ISO 9000 / 9001 regulations. Once the standards are in place, gun buyers should prefer to purchase firearms through these blockchain ecosystem companies, because they would be transacting firearms that are in compliance with the firearm blockchain standards. This would provide additional value to firearm manufacturers and dealerships, which the company could help monetize.
Once the MVP is working according to expectations, then the company would provide additional product applications such as predictive analytics to expand the ecosystem to other participants. For example, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies and municipalities may wish to join the blockchain ecosystem to help better forecast potential shootings, lower liability rates, reduce medical costs or identify stolen firearms. These additional sources of revenue and lower costs could also be monetized by the company.