In the US, authorities in certain states have been working on new state laws to recognise signatures, smart contracts, and even public data recorded via blockchain technology. Other countries, such as Estonia, are also incorporating blockchain technology into their public record-keeping.
It’s a first step that could lead to more transparency in public records management. It could also generate an authentication provider for people, documents, and even artwork.
Right now, however, this technology is at a very early stage. But blockchain adoption is growing in many industries, from retail to banking and insurance services. It’s just a matter of time until we use blockchain to prove authenticity as well. Here’s how.
Proof of authenticity for document management
Blockchain technology can improve document and public records management in multiple ways. Just by registering an event on a blockchain, you automatically prove its authenticity. That’s because every document is linked to a unique address and receives a hash on a public blockchain.
You can think of a hash as similar to being the ‘fingerprint’ of a file. Every time someone makes the smallest change to the record, they also alter the hash. This ability to remember every modification makes hashes perfect for demonstrating the authenticity of a document.
This property also works when other people besides the author copy and store the file. It’s the independent proof that a document was created at a specific moment in time and hasn’t been changed since.
Just imagine the potential for blockchain authentication to reduce bureaucracy for certifying legal documents or financial statements. At the same time, it can help register audit-trail documentation for proof of process, as the blockchain tracks every movement. This includes who made changes, when they happened, and for how long each change was valid.
Most blockchains support multiple file formats. This means the user could record and store all files in the original form, whether they’re written in Excel, PPT, or CAD. This means that they don’t have to risk compromising the data by converting files into a PDF format for archiving.
Blockchain technology can also be used for proof of authentication in art provenance, against identity theft, and even on IoT devices. To find out more about proving authenticity, read this article.