The Notary Public is an Endangered Species

tl;dr: I’m a Notary Public, but not for long. And I’m not alone.

About a decade ago, on a whim, I decided to become a Notary Public.

I can’t say that it’s a hugely profitable line of business (the fee is $4), but it is fun to be a small footnote in the lives of my friends.

I’ve notarized the transfer of car titles, powers of attorney, camp applications for counselors, and all kinds of other things.

The people in my local community who take advantage of this service offering like it because I keep very different hours than the typical Notary Public (usually at a bank), am much faster, and it’s much more convenient.

For all of those reasons, I don’t feel too bad about charging a nominal fee.

One could argue with that.

Why charge the fee? I mean, we’re talking about $4 here. Not going to make or break me.

I suppose the justification I tell myself is that it’s a measure of value.

Not everyone, I have realized, likes to measure value or even think about measuring value.

It’s difficult because it’s so subjective. Each of us value in different ways.

It’s also difficult because it forces us to ask difficult questions that involve trade-offs (time vs. quality, for example).

But, to me, it’s an important skill and maybe I want to feel recognized for the fact that I did submit the Notary Public application, have gone down to the courthouse to get sworn in, etc.

I invested my time and effort and the seal that I can affix to a document is actually a type of Proof-of-Work.

I was thinking about this the other night as I notarized a document, but you know what I was really thinking about?

With blockchain, the job of the Notary Public is on the Endangered and soon-t0-be Extinct list.

That same value that I provide will be delivered more cheaply and more effectively by software.


The Notary Public is an Endangered Species was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.