The TRUSTER research group within InterPARES Trust is validating blockchain technology as a possible component in solutions for the validity of long term archiving of digital signatures. Enigio Time AB, a Swedish company, is one of the project participants and has operated and developed their own web platform timebeat.com for digital traceability and secure timestamping since 2012. The platform is built on their own innovations, patents, linked timestamping and the use of blockchain technology (used by Bitcoin). Founders and employees of the company have individually more than a 20-year long history within IT, financial industry and the web.
With the goal of scaling down blockchain technology into the office and everyday life of people, it will be increasingly important to use web technology for constructing, visualizing and monitoring the proofs.
Will we need to wait for an official standard or can we already start reaping the benefits?
How can we build sustainability models to ensure that what has been secured in the blockchain can be accessed and used to authenticate records over time, even if the original technologies change.
An interesting subject for us would thus be to discuss experiences and suggestions regarding visualization, monitoring and redundancy for dealing with blockchain proofs. How can we use various web technologies and browser features for strong and intuitive visualizations of proofs without requiring cryptographic knowledge?
Another subject that would be of interest is the scaling of blockchain technology into offices, desktops and records. To make this transition easier we propose the concept of a ‘Blockchain Aggregator’ and define that as a SaaS (Software as a Service), providing business applications’ smooth access to the concept of securing data and events in one or several blockchains for redundancy. Should proprietary side-chains be encouraged for this purpose or should a common standard for a single blockchain web service interface be defined? For long-term purposes, how much can we rely on a single blockchain when using this technology for securing historical digital records for future generations? Can we secure the timestamp with one blockchain and digital signature with another one and than use the two in combination – one for confirmation of the integrity of the document, and the other for validity of the digital signature? How can we create and secure references that can be validated in several hundred years even if the Bitcoin's blockchain would cease to exist or the underlying technology change?
How much can we enhance the independency and longevity of our proof by adding redundancy and are there any other options for this? Enigio have ideas for future ways of applying and combining web technology and innovations in this area. One of our ideas and patents is grounded in the idea of an “inverted” public ledger where instead of sending out every block of the blockchain to multiple nodes for verification one would use non-predictable events that are already well distributed and well known. The events are entered into the linked chain as “markers”/”references” to the chain of events and the flow of “digital” time in coherence with our deterministic physical world time. Could this technique be used as a way of defining digital time and connecting the digital time with the physical one?