Security, Traceability, and Immutability at OriginStamp

8 min read

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Blockchains have covered major milestones in the last 11 years, allowing them to be incorporated in every single industry, ranging from arts to healthcare and of course, finance as well. The reason why this technology has become so popular and disruptive is because of its inherent properties that are quite generic yet robust in nature, so pretty much every industry can implement it one way or the other.

While there have been thousands of ventures in the last few years, OriginStamp has directed its business model to a very ‘focused’ segment of the market as it allows the users to validate their documents and files so everyone can validate their legitimacy.

Sounds cool and ordinary, right? Well, it’s cool, but far from ordinary…

Security and Immutability

One of the primary reasons why many people prefer blockchain technology in sensitive use cases, particularly the ones that involve documents, is because, in today’s world, fake documents can either make or break your life. Let it be a legal document, a contract, your birth certificate, or research that you want to be validated, if it’s fake, you are pretty much done and you would also affect plenty of other people.

Even today, we have several cybersecurity protocols around sensitive documents, but there are two major disadvantages related to them:

  1. They are run by centralized entities and hence, anyone can amend or forge them

  2. Due to a higher operational cost, these systems can only be used by rich organizations and common people are far from taking advantages

Several people debate that private databases can solve the issue, but they simply cannot. The end-user might have read-only access just for the sake of it and it’s true that they won’t be able to edit anything. However, the administrator of that private database has absolute access to everything contained in the database. He can edit, delete or add anything. So, this is a grave problem with centralized systems.

If we apply blockchain technology in this domain, we would not only make the system more accessible to a variety of people, but it would also strengthen their security and make the overall system less prone to forgery.

Since OriginStamp uses blockchain technology and offers a decentralized platform, it is practically impossible for someone to attack the system and make a change. Let’s say if there are 100,000 nodes on our network, the hacker would have to compromise at least 51% of them to send a fake request and let it be accepted by the nodes. However, this operation is heftily expensive and requires thousands of systems to be in sync at the very same time.

From the end-user and industrial perspective, let’s talk about why immutability is crucial in any use case.

Offers Data Integrity

Since the data posted on the blockchain ledger is immutable, the record that it maintains right from the inception is highly trustable and nobody has a reason to doubt its authenticity. If we discuss this point from a very technical angle, please note that at any time, the integrity of the entire chain can be validated by simply calculating the hashes. If the data has discrepancies, it means the transactions are invalid, but don’t worry it does not happen at all – we are talking about a very very very rare case here, just to tell you how the data can be cross-checked for your satisfaction.

The way it works is ‘apparently’ quite simple, but highly sophisticated in nature. Basically, the entire data related to the document is fed to a mathematical function which then converts it into an encrypted string. For instance, if you upload a word document, its hash value might be something like f639d4ffe201d64b81db4ca35b94ea363ffbe29759a645f9d2f652e9b6b7237f. Once this hash is attached to your document, it acts as a validation tool for it because if someone changes even a full stop in your text, the entire hash value will change. The reason why hashes are so popular is that their sequence cannot be predicted. Implying that if someone changes ‘a’ to ‘b’ or ‘1’ to ‘2’, they cannot be certain that the value of the hash would be increase by ‘1’ or it would change entirely, thus making them highly reliable.

As a result of this, organizations involved in a transaction (and even the regulators) can just run a few checks and determine whether the data and related transactions are valid or not.

Makes Auditing a Piece of Cake

As an end-user, you just have to upload a document and your job is done. However, at the backend, we have to comply with several data protection regulations. Since we are using blockchain technology, we just have to present the ledger to the auditors and they would be relieved as they wouldn’t have to spend hours in ‘just verifying the legitimacy or authenticity of the data source’. They know it’s running on the blockchain so nothing has tampered. It does not only give more confidence to the auditors but saves a hefty amount of cost for us as well.

Traceability and Provenance

This section is quite deeply linked with the previous one. See, if something cannot be altered or forced by anyone, then the authentic history would automatically be maintained.

Once a user uploads the document on our system (please note that we provide the option for bulk uploading as well), it gets timestamped, which allows the viewers to see when your document was created and it also adds your signature to the document or file that you have uploaded. As a result, when you share the document with someone, they no longer have to worry whether it was spoofed or forged, as they can see your signature and timestamp upfront.

This traceability and provenance feature is not only good for auditing, but it has opened new doors for SaaS-based businesses by allowing developers to make rich queries and fetch a great deal of analytics from the blockchain, without worrying about the truthfulness of data as blockchain handles that very well. As a result, the time and cost can be cut to (at least) half for the involved organizations.

Moreover, due to the ledgers being immutable, the probability of disputes is also diminished to a great extent. I mean, if you look at it casually, there is nothing to fight once the data goes on blockchain.

Anyways, the avoidance of disputes could save the industry roughly $1 trillion by offering non-repudiation. There is no need to hire expensive lawyers to prove the legitimacy of your documents when you can just fetch the authentic data from the blockchain.

The concept of traceability is derived from supply chains and it means that every step should be tracked right from the production until the package is delivered to the end-user. It we apply the same analogy to document verification; the situation is not so different. Let’s say you prepare a document and send it to someone for cross-checking and stamping. Many times, in non-blockchain systems, the documents either never come back or the person whom your trusted would give himself the credit in front of others and make the document his own IP. This is what we can avoid with the help of blockchain – when you send your document to anyone for further verification, you can just pass it through OriginStamp to ensure your ‘seal’ gets stamped on the document and no one can either forge it take credit for your work.

Some Other Benefits

Please note that apart from the features of security, traceability and immutability explained above, OriginStamp goes beyond the ‘normal’ and provides features that allow people from all types of backgrounds and preferences to use the system and protect their files with a blockchain-based system.

First of all, we have 1500+ integrations available which means that if you have your files hosted on popular cloud platforms, like Gmail, GDrive, Outlook, OneDrive, etc., you can just import those documents with a click and the system will make them tamper-proof in just a few seconds. Once the documents are timestamped, you can either send them to someone manually or just share the link as well by re-uploading to the cloud hosting platform that you were using.

Most of the tamper-proofing systems that we currently have in the industry are only accessible from desktops or laptops. However, OriginStamp does not have these limitations and you have the liberty to upload your documents either from a laptop or your mobile phone. Just FYI – the system is not document-bound only, and you can even timestamp your voice recordings, pictures, videos, and several other file formats as well.

If you are skeptical as to whether we have access to your data or not, you don’t have to worry about anything in that regard as we just take a cryptographic fingerprint of the document that you upload and send it over to several other public blockchains as well (just so people from all blockchains can read them). So, we never have to look at your personal information and risk its security – nobody has access to the original data.

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