A blockchain is a digital register which keeps history of transactions between individuals and thus makes it possible to check who owns what at what moment. Originally, Blockchain technology was first used by Bitcoin to allow virtual currency exchanges. Blockchain register can however be used well beyond this application, in particular to certify the integrity of digital files.
➤ Find out in 5 Q&As how blockchain certification works :
1/ What is Blockchain technology ?
A blockchain must be considered as a database which preserves history of the information which is registered there and which benefits from 3 essential properties :
- Resilience: a blockchain register is decentralized, being replicated on different nodes (similar to servers, but with characteristics specific to decentralized networks). As a result, information remains accessible even in case of a node failure.
- Transparency: information registered on a blockchain is accessible everywhere, at any time, by all its users.
- Forgery-proof: information entered cannot be modified nor deleted.
2/ How is Blockchain technology used to certify data and digital files?
Blockchain technology is used as an “e-notary”: its unforgeable register makes it possible to state for sure what the state of a data was at a moment T.
3/ What information is available on the blockchain?
Digital files and data are not directly written to the blockchain. Only their digital fingerprint, a unique hexadecimal sequence of characters, is written on the blockchain.
This digital fingerprint alone does not make it possible to find the initial file; it is the association of the digital file and the digital fingerprint written on the blockchain which makes it possible to affirm that the file has indeed been certified. Thus, even confidential documents can be certified on the blockchain.
4/ What is the point of using Blockchain technology to certify data and digital files ?
A blockchain, as a decentralised, resilient and forgery-proof registry enables integrity certificates to be generated in minutes, in a secure manner and at a lower cost than existing solutions such as the e-soleau envelope, which requires the certified content to be revealed to third parties.
Moreover, evidence created on a public blockchain will never be erased, even if your certification provider were to disappear, the evidence would remain accessible.
5/ What is the legal value of a blockchain certification?
Today, the certification of a digital file on a blockchain constitutes the beginning of a proof, like an email. Thus two conditions must be respected:
1. Guarantee the identity of the person who initiated the certification
2. Keep a certified version of the file
The certificate established on blockchain will allow before a judge to prove the integrity and the anteriority of a data or digital file.
Some examples :
Sectors of activity concerned are numerous. Here is a selection with concrete examples:
> Fashion and Luxury: design and model certification
Today, designs and models are registered at the INPI once completed. Before they are filed, they are carefully protected by specific security rules. Sometimes, however, these designs are usurped and used by counterfeiters. In this case, the certification of the stages of the creation process and the production of these certificates will make it possible, by being presented before a judge, to prove which company is really at the origin of the creation of a design.
Knowing that manufacturers in the sector are faced with a dilemma: to sell their new fabrics or models, they have to show them, but to reveal them is also to expose them to copying.
> Health: certification of digital medical prescriptions
Digital medical prescriptions have been allowed since 2004 (see excerpt from the law), but they are not currently used, particularly because solutions to certify integrity of this data are costly and complicated to implement.
Blockchain certification is a solution to this problem: it would allow a pharmacist or a health professional to verify the integrity of a document presented by a patient and to ensure that this digital document was indeed written by a health professional.
> Public sector: certification of K-BIS extracts
In 2017, we developed a Blockchain certification solution for the Canton of Geneva to verify integrity of a KBIS. When a company requests KBIS, it can request a digital version free of charge. Thus, in addition to KBIS, the company receives an integrity certificate which allows these interlocutors to verify the integrity of the document and to verify that the document has indeed been issued by the canton of Geneva.
Datatrust is a digital file certification solution that uses blockchain technology. Our platform has been designed to fit the needs of large companies, law firms and startups. Datatrust allows them to certify their data in a few clicks and edit a certificate in PDF format.