Blockchain Timestamp and Document Verification
Updated: Nov 7
Document verification has always been a tedious task to business, no matter whether they were small or large. Every business and individual had to undergo multiple rounds of the document verification process in the traditional setup. Be it the university records like academic certificates, job certificates or any other earned credits, passports, visa, land titles, notarized certificates, every paper was bound to undergo multilayer of screening before reaching the hands of prospects.
This caused high expenditure as there came the role of intermediaries and middlemen. In every stage there came the intervention of middlemen, which caused a great challenge to accomplish the task. The whole set of the process was time-consuming and highly expensive. And in the end, there came a lesser proof of ownership and authenticity of the document as many fraudulent activities happen in parallel.
Blockchain document verification proved its potentiality in the field and completely erased these woes via offering a decentralized platform to the associates. A quick, easy and cheap transaction was assured. The document verification is seamlessly carried under the blockchain technology.
Today if you monitor in close, you would find that document verification in the blockchain is widely adopted among the universities, schools, colleges for their certificate verification.
It is not constrained to the educational institutions, even the government offices indulge in document verification in blockchain for conducting visa verification, passport verification, and other identity management materials. The role of blockchain in notarization is widely acclaimed today for its immense functioning.
Anyhow, what is timestamp?
It can simply be quoted as “a proof that some data existed prior to a certain point in time”. In blockchain, it would say as a crypto notarization. A timestamp can be referred to as “Proof of existence”. Timestamping system creates a great breakthrough in blockchain notarization and its fellow work(digital signatures, authentication and many more). Any digital data can be timestamped. If anyone has possession of original content that has the stamp on it (digital timestamp) can authenticate it without any proof authenticity or any third party notary.
Use of blockchain in Digital Signatures
Ownership transfer of funds in blockchain (Bitcoin blockchain) especially, in the beginning, urged owners to digitally sign the transaction and later send it across the public network to authenticate its proof of work. It needed to be digitally validated and adding them into the block certainly took time and a small phrase or metadata. This largely caused a high amount of transaction cost as well. By spending an amount, one can only record small metadata to immutable digital data.
New protocol timestamp system created a new digital platform to sign the transaction and verify it easily and quickly. For example, consider a linear form document, it uses a simple form of timestamp which is very easy to verify, but in multiple sources, it uses different or more complex timestamps. Even though the verification and other process remain the same. Use of timestamp will definitely create a uniqueness of transaction that has been executed at a certain time.
How timestamp infrastructure can bring change in the existing document verification process?
1. By building a front end trust.
By integrating timestamp in digital data, it can bring a multiple, cross-check, notarization method. It builds a digital form of trust by introducing it into a publicly verifiable format.
2. Reducing the cost of the transaction.
It's scaling- can be much bigger than an existing proof of work, proof of stake. The transaction can be done with any size of data by adding timestamps into it.
Anyone having their original verifiable data within them and can be shared publicly without any fear of malpractice in their document.
Timestamp in blockchain can be used as proof exists and it keeps proof for notarization. The process will prove that a certain document exists, since a time period. Any unauthenticated modification can be detected easily under this and from when the document is being in existence.
This process involves two steps:
1. Hashing the documents. 2. Recording data into the blockchain.
1. Hashing the documents:
A single document can be hashed and stored in blockchain very easily. It's not practically possible with large-sized digital files to get stored and kept in the blockchain. So each data has to be hashed and stored into the blockchain. The main reason behind data hashing is that blockchain offers limited space and its very costly to have large space and transaction cost, another reason is document privacy and data security.
Hashing will help documents to be cryptographically stored into blockchain with a timestamp. Large data can be stored by building a Merkle tree. On hashing, the data one time will promise the same output. Hash value always has a fixed length no matter how big the data is. Any change in hash value will automatically result in a tampered result.
2. Recording data into the blockchain
Recording data into the blockchain after hashing will specially create a particular space for the hashed document and stored into blockchain with a timestamp. Once the transaction is done it can return a transaction ID. And ID may contain transaction hash, block number and a timestamp which will help later verification process of a particular action. Since a small size hashed value is stored into blockchain it won't take much space and time in retrieval, the verification process can be done easily with minimal steps.
Regardless of the above point integrating an Open Timestamp standard can be implemented with the use of the hashing algorithm and world widely accepted trust in blockchain event log will result in trusted imputable data. Once the event happened in blockchain, it is immutable and can be verified from anywhere. Moreover, being too linear list operations, timestamps are actually trees of operations with root as being the message, the edges- the commitment of operations, and the leaves -the attestations.