Why and how DocOnChain is using blockchain
Updated: Nov 26, 2020
D.O.C and Blockchain
I would like to start with the fact that we are not “blockchain evangelists”, there are several blockchain solutions and applications out there and you will also find different explanations of the technology.
We use and adapt a blockchain architecture with the purpose to serve our goal of managing digital documents in a secure and efficient way.
Blockchain at a glance
Blockchain is an innovative technology that was first implemented in 2009 to support the bitcoin crypto money transactions and since then, has become a technology that is rapidly disrupting industries one by one bringing transparency, security and trust in asset transactions and traceability.
Blockchain can be defined as a distributed digital ledger run by algorithms and machines, a secure method to record peer-to-peer transactions and make them verifiable and immutable. The blockchain doesn’t rely on a central authority and makes forgery impossible. To be more exact, forgery may be possible, but the time required should be longer than the current age of the Universe, or maybe a bit less with a quantum computer….
Why DocOnChain uses blockchain for its D.O.C platform
The integrity of documents and digital signatures, managed by D.O.C can be guaranteed by the use of blockchain and ‘smart contracts’ which enable the automatic record of a transaction as a new block in a digital blockchain ledger.
D.O.C uses a blockchain tech architecture as a method of securing digital signatures on a document, considering them as transactions. When a signature is affixed to a document, an associated ‘smart contract’ enables to automatically enter “the transaction” into a permanent, verifiable and immutable record.
This means that in the event of a dispute, you can prove that your document has not been altered, is not a forgery and was created on the precise date and time indicated by the timestamp of the digital signature fingerprint.
Blockchain technology is based on the creation (via the smart contract) of a unique, unforgeable fingerprint of any transaction (which in the case of D.O.C can be a digital document or signature). This unique fingerprint is built by applying an algorithm to the binary data of the document (the 0 and the 1). The resulting fingerprint is a value known as a cryptographic hash.
For a D.O.C document, a PDF version of the electronically signed document, we use the standard SHA-256 algorithm, which makes it impossible to generate an identical hash from any other document or signature. And the unique cryptographic nature of the hash makes it impossible to use it to recreate the document’s content. The hash is then submitted to verifiers who wish to verify that the document hasn’t been tampered with.
Here is a hash example of a D.O.C signature fingerprint (the Hash): 04E0085F4EC7E0D9A30683E7E5939E101B77548B6590BA302A9F3E3F0EBA2C80
Blockchain and secure storage
A DFS (Distributed File System) blockchain managed is a new, efficient and secure way of storing documents. Unlike most conventional databases, which are made up of tables with columns and rows, a blockchain is made up of sequential blocks that are securely linked to each other using cryptography.
In most conventional databases, you can perform four types of actions: create, read, update and delete. But with blockchain, it’s only possible to create and read. To create new data (record new transaction fingerprints), a new block is added to the chain, so the last block in the chain is the most recent. As each new block is added, it’s validated by multiple independent parties (machines) to guard against fraud.
Since the D.O.C blockchain digital ledger is not editable, any authorized person can compute the balance of an individual account, and no one can arbitrarily change a balance.
The D.O.C DFS solution uses the above method to store a completed document. The document is automatically sharded like a puzzle, the elements are encrypted, duplicated and recorded on the blockchain with hashes before being stored in different places (the ‘Nodes’). As you can understand, if a node is hacked, the hacker will have to break the encryption first before getting only a part of the puzzle…
Blockchain and D.O.C Passport
As you can read above, the D.O.C blockchain architecture enables the recording of the document signatures (or other marks affixed to a document) and, at the same time, the D.O.C DFS solution allows the storage of the document itself.
We use the same method to also record each copy of a document that is downloaded or distributed (via a PDF version). All these ‘Verifiable elements” put together are the base of the ‘Document Passport’ developed by D.O.C which includes an immutable audit trail, blockchain records (hashes), signatory authentications and access to the original version.
Verification only requires the document sealed via a D.O.C QR code and an access to the Document Passport (verifiable elements).
The process would be as follows:
- You can verify a PDF version of a document by uploading it on D.O.C Verify and check if the document is certified or considered altered;
- You can also scan the D.O.C documen's QR code with the free D.O.C Verify mobile application or any mobile scanning app. You will access to the ‘original’ document's verifiable elements which include access to the original version of the document recorded on the blockchain ledger to compare it with the document you have in your hands.