Aegis provides consumer protection for bitcoin transactions pertaining to the delivery of physical goods. The software prevents fraud without the need for reputation systems by basing decisions on verifiable facts.
Aegis can't steal your money. Funds are secured in a multi-signature bitcoin wallet until two of the three participating parties are in agreement.
Aegis doesn't favour the buyer or the seller. Transactions will only be signed in accordance with the predefined conditions of the contract.
Aegis won't cost you anything. Future monetisation plans are set around accompanying products and services, arbitration will always be free.
Aegis began under a different name in 2013 with the aim of becoming a decentralised consumer to consumer bitcoin marketplace. While the marketplace itself was feasible, there was no clear way to protect buyers from fraudulent sellers. Ultimately this issue is a result of the inability to verify that a delivery has been made and the underlying contract has been fulfilled. To understand this issue better, it's important to understand the relevant differences between fiat transactions and bitcoin transactions.
Consumers are protected against fraud by their credit card companies, but merchants are offered no such protection. In the event of a fraudulent transaction, the payment will likely be reversed and the merchant will lose their money.
On top of the risk of charge-backs, merchants must pay financial institutions for the privilege of processing credit card transactions. Ultimately this cost is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices.
Bitcoin approaches the problem from a new angle and removes the need for financial institutions entirely. The advantages for merchants accepting bitcoin are obvious. With no risk of charge-backs and extremely low fees, merchants can offer more competitive prices to consumers paying with bitcoin.
Unfortunately bitcoin doesn't solve the problem, it simply shifts the risk from the merchant to the consumer. As bitcoin transactions are irreversible, the consumer has no protection and must trust the merchant to deliver. This problem is amplified when we look at the Ebay or Amazon model where everyone has a different level of trust.
We believe that by working directly with postal services and courier companies around the world, we can create a system capable of determining whether or not a package has been delivered anywhere on earth. Armed with this information and bitcoin's multi-signature transactions, we can provide both merchants and consumers with an adequate level of protection without paying any fees.
Aegis enables sellers to create contracts for the sale and delivery of physical goods. When a buyer pays an Aegis contract the funds are held in a multi-signature wallet until the contract has been fulfilled.
Aegis does not provide a usable bitcoin wallet or a searchable bitcoin marketplace.
1) The seller signs up with Aegis.io and creates a hierarchical deterministic wallet and a username.
2) The seller then creates a contract with a fresh a public key.
3) The seller can now publish this contract anywhere. (Facebook, Google+, Craigslist, etc)
4) The buyer finds the contract and opens it in Aegis.io. (The buyer doesn't need to register)
5) The buyer then agrees to the terms of the contract and provides his delivery details.
6) The buyer can now import (or generate) a public key.
7) A multi-signature wallet is then created with the the seller's key, the buyer's key and Aegis's key.
8) The buyer then pays the amount stated in the contract to the multi-signature wallet.
9) The Seller must now post the item and have the proof of postage emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
10) Aegis will read and verify the email sent to email@example.com then forward a copy to the seller.
Now either the buyer can sign to pay the seller, or the seller can sign to refund the buyer. If the buyer and seller cannot agree, Aegis will decide based on whether or not the buyer signed for the delivery within the specified timeframe. If the buyer signs for the delivery within the specified timeframe then the seller gets paid, if not then the buyer gets refunded.
The Aegis API enables developers to utilise the platform functions from external websites and apps.
Online stores can use the API to help build trust with new customers, and marketplace operators will find the API especially useful for fraud protection.
The platform is currently in private alpha working with DHL and Royal Mail for UK and European deliveries. We're aiming to have the Aegis platform fully operational and open to the public in Q2 2015. The API will be available shortly after.
If you're interested in testing the platform, please contact us with a brief description of what you're selling.