Proof of Priority through Blockchain-based Trusted Timestamping

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The author of a work already enjoys copyright protection with the creation. However, the question arises as to how, in the event of a dispute, he can prove that he had already created the work at a certain point in time.

A few clicks are usually enough to change the author and the time of creation of a digital document. In order to prove the priority, the digital content should therefore be provided with a tamper-proof time stamp.

Following on from this premise, the article presents the time stamp service “OriginStamp”. The “OriginStamp” time stamp service uses a blockchain to create and store tamper-proof time stamps for digital content by integrating the hash of a file into the transaction data record of the crypto currency.

Then, from a legal point of view, the question is answered as to whether a transaction in a blockchain database – as with the OriginStamp timestamp service – fulfils the requirements for a qualified electronic timestamp in accordance with Article 42 (1) of the eIDAS Regulation.

The analysis concludes that the configuration of the “OriginStamp” time stamp service does not meet the authenticity requirements of Article 42 (1) (c) of the eIDAS Regulation. This is consciously accepted for reasons of manipulation security and data protection.

Although the European legislator with its general clause (“equivalent procedure”) assumes that new technologies will be developed in the future which can guarantee an equivalent level of security for time stamps as advanced electronic signatures or seals.

If, however, the identification of users has to be carried out as with electronic signatures or seals, blockchain-based time stamps based on a strict interpretation of the law will find it difficult in future to meet the authenticity requirements of Art. 42 (1) (c)eIDAS Regulation. Therefore – due to the enormous time stamp potential of blockchain technology – a legal readjustment by the European legislator would make sense.

The editorial content of OriginStamp AG does not constitute a recommendation for investment or purchase advice. In principle, an investment can also lead to a total loss. Therefore, please seek advice before making an investment decision.