Decentralized Information

One business case surrounding identity and information management is the development of a blockchain-based decentralized system to store and share information. Information is stored on a blockchain and can be accessed based on predefined terms. Entities are able to access the blockchain and provide certain information to the decentralized system. By participating, these entities generate wallets with pairs of cryptographic keys on the blockchain. Holding a private key, an entity is in full control of its wallet and its underlying information. The public key works as an address where information can be looked up.

 

As an example, a corporate could register all his KYC-relevant information on his account. He then would be able to determine if and to what extent individuals are able to access his information using a public key query. As the information provided could possibly be false or misleading, trusted actors operate on the blockchain who validate certain information. The corporate is able to provide proof of information to a trusted actor (like a bank), which then verifies the provided information. A public key query could show a note by whom and at what time the information was verified (via a blockchain explorer or a customized app). In addition, public information could be verified by various entities so that a note could show that various entities validated a data set. By providing the infrastructure (like a browser based admission to the blockchain technology) a company or institution could become the first trusted actor in such a system. In the short term, this actor would validate individuals, companies and other entities, which then could become validators themselves. In the long run, the ecosystem could be extended to validate all kind of information. As an example, companies would be able to upload their annual audit, qualifications or patents.

 

The process of hashing can be applied to documents and all kinds of data. By using a hash algorithm a uniform string of letters and numbers is produced that can be tied to a single document. Any individual applying the algorithm will produce this uniform hash value. Therefore large documents do not have to be put in the blockchain but their hash value. An individual would simply load the hash value of the desired document on the blockchain. Being alerted of the claim validators could check if the hash value of the document is correct and then verify it or mark the information as unverified and demand physical proof. As an example, individuals would be able to determine their wallet properties that specific predefined public key queries would be able to access the full documents (e.g. text) and other public key queries would only be able to see the underlying (verified) hash value of the document. Therefore an active and a passive approach of data access would be enabled. Passively, documents are not uploaded on the blockchain but can later be clearly identified by their hash value. Actively, the underlying text of a document is openly published on the blockchain.

Examples for use cases are:

  • Contracts

  • Text, literature, (scientific) essays

  • Real estate and property rights

  • Automobiles

  • Licenses

  • Identification documents

  • Certificates of conduct

  • Birth certificates

  • Wills

  • Toxic waste and hazardous materials

  • Death certificates

  • Luxury items and movable goods

  • Business ownership

  • Voter eligibility

  • Healthcare / patient records

  • (Insurance) claims

  • Building permits

  • Deeds, tickets, certificates

  • A basis for more complex applications

  • Many more…

Feel free to contact us if you are interested in the project.

Learn more about some of the application areas

Within the scope of the publication of scientific essays, long review phases do occur. For this reason, finished articles are often published comparatively late. In the case of disputes (for example in the context of a patent application), a person can clearly prove that their idea existed at the time of the upload. It can send the originally hashed file to a court. The court can simply hash the file once again and compare it with the hash stored on the blockchain.

 

As blockchain provides tust in a trustless environment, standardized processes like sales contract can be automated. The blockchain provides an immutable transparent record of a state, which enabled the disintermediation of notarial services. Via a predefined standardized smart contract, individuals are able to note the occurrence of a sale and provide the required proof. This is visualized at the example of a real estate purchase. One party informs the blockchain of the trade by uploading the respective hash value of the sales contract and the other party is able to agree on the terms of the contract by comparing the stated hash value. This process is currently recommended for standardized contractual relations.

 

The current legal framework does postulate the use of notaries to successfully conclude certain types of contracts. Therefore, notary services could be decentralized by merging notaries and the blockchain. If individuals come to term of a contract, they could notify the network of their state and have relevant validators automatically be notified via a smart contract. The respective targets of this notification could be predefined. As an example, after two individuals come to terms of a real estate sale all as „Notary“ defined network entities would be informed that their service is required. The notaries could then transmit their required price, enabling the individuals a free right to choose their notary /notaries. Contractual information could be reviewed by various entities across the blockchain ecosystem. Therefore it has to be considered if traditional notary services are still needed. If, as an example, 10 different non-notary entities (possibly individuals, corporates or institutions) review the respective information, the level of trust may even be higher than if a notary reviews the contract.

 

Various obstacles forestall the security and trust in presented information. For example, in times of digital progress, companies are having problems to identify counterfeiting and manipulation of documents. A blockchain-based system holds to promise to offer trust, as information cannot be manipulated once it is added to the system. If a person uploads his CV via text and the corresponding relevant documents such as university degrees and references via hash to the blockchain, this information is immutably stored and cannot be altered in hindsight. In the CV the person notes a reference of the corresponding university or agencies which are automatically informed of the respective claim via a smart contract. The institutions can then check the respective hash values and confirm or reject the information. Once confirmed the person has an immutable reference of his CV that he can share when applying for a job. Human resources can easily hash the electronic documents themselves and be assured of their correctness.

 

The secure and portable storage of patient records would provide a major improvement to the current system in the healthcare sector. In today’s system, patient records are often not stored electronically, yet if stored electronically, data is often not portable. Blockchain offers the potential to provide institutions and individuals with a possibility to access patient records, while maintaining a high level of security. The implementation of a two-sided blockchain-based market for patient records enables individuals to fully dispose of their data. Individuals can easily look up their data, which is encrypted and stored on a blockchain. Via the use of multi-key encryption a blockchain based system for medical records could enable market participants to access data only if the respective individual signs a relevant permission (possibly for a limited time period).

 

Blockchain-based claims offer the potential of reducing administrative costs, preventing fraudulent actions and enabling a higher degree of transparency. Via the use of the blockchain as a transparent registry insurance processes can be automated, while enabling a higher degree oft trust and security. The implementation of smart contracts allows for automated triggering of claims, i.e. lower administrative and operational costs.

If an individual uploads KYC-relevant data, a smart contract automatically notifies the correspondent bank of this claim. The bank can then reject, verify or demand proof of the information. This example can be transferred to various use cases as a bank account could instantly be verified once information is provided. Payments could automatically be executed once AML information is provided or verified by certain entities.