Fractional Asset Register and QLDB for Goldie
When Abletech put Amazon’s AWS QLDB on our tech radar, did a short study, and blogged about it we didn’t realise how soon we would be building a solution leveraging blockchain technology.
A few short months after publishing the article we commenced building a fractional asset register for trading gold with startup, ‘Goldie’, leveraging long term gold and precious metal company NZ Vault.
What is Goldie?
Platforms like Sharesies and Hatch have lowered the bar for entry to access worldwide stocks and commodities. Goldie is applying the same disruptive market shift to open up investment into real assets, starting with precious metals for all people on any budget. As of December 2022, Goldie is operating a closed beta testing program on the platform and, with an invite at hand, - I am now a gold investor as well!
We began by investigating off the shelf fractional asset platforms. What we found was some incredibly expensive platforms that would be inappropriate for a startup wanting to create a simple and slick user experience, without having the business being hamstrung by excessive yearly licensing fees and rigid functional constraints. Integrating with an enterprise platform often has large hidden costs beyond the benefits of the platform itself. A custom solution seemed the wise approach using modern agile web frameworks and processes to simplify the solution stack and allow for rapid delivery of an optimised bespoke solution.
The Front End
The Application Server - a monolith!
A monolith is often described as an anti-pattern by some architects, but for time to market, reduced complexity and aligning with agile processes you just can’t beat a good ol’ monolith for the 3-12 month project life cycle. We also decided to leverage the Ruby on Rails framework which still holds the sweet spot in terms of building rapid greenfields business applications targeted at web and HTTP API builds. We used GraphQL as the API layer to not only simplify the client code but optimise the payloads moving between the client and server.
QLDB - An Immutable Blockchain Inspired Ledger Database
From day 1, we signalled the use of QLDB for the project, but backed the application by Postgres (AWS RDS) to keep things simple initially. It wasn’t until regulatory compliance requirements were known that QLDB turned out to be key in ticking the FMA (Financial Markets Authority) boxes for the ledger accounts due to its immutability and auditing characteristics. To support a lightweight and enhanced developer experience, QLDB was integrated via Postgres triggers which replicated ledger entries into the immutable ledger. This also meant we could sidestep problems using the Ruby SDK integration into QLDB. A BEFORE INSERT trigger was used to invoke a serverless Lambda from RDS Postgres to replicate the INSERT into QLDB which created a rock solid and simple solution. We also integrated with CloudCheck which provides identity and AML verification.
Our go-to for containerisation is the AWS native ECS cluster, stood up on Fargate which further cuts down on managed infrastructure costs. Systems Manager - Parameter Store provides a solution to environment and secrets variables and Cloudwatch provides a low cost observability platform. We manage the infrastructure using IaC (infrastructure as code) using Terraform.
Abletech has developed a number of applications targeted at Financial Services, from KYC (Know Your Customer), AML (Anti Money Laundering) compliance, user SaaS management, ledger, banking and financial service integrations. We would love to talk to you about meeting your business objectives for 2023!
Register you interest in Goldie and be amongst the first to get early access to the trading platform.