A Blockchain-Based Digital Notary: What You Need To Know
A notary (or notary public) is an official appointed by a state government who has the ability to draw up or certify a particular action or deed. This could include contracts, documents useful in other jurisdictions or deeds.
The notary role is one that requires an official to be a fair-minded observer in different affirmations. A notary’s responsibilities could range from a simple signing of a property sale record to other important deeds and documents.
A Digital Solution To Notary Activities
An electronic (digital) notary gives an official the ability to carry out the notarizing function electronically. Notaries public have had the capabilities of using technology (e.g., digital signatures and digital notary seals for the validation of certificates) for some time now. The electronic notary affixes the authorized seal and signature to the certified document. This notary public activity uses cryptography and a secured public key to manage, create, store and distribute the digital certificate.
In the case of the digital notary, there is the need to keep an up-to-date, electronic register for the notary tasks performed. More importantly, the digital solution to notary public activities can be performed remotely.
How Blockchain Technology Can Be Used For Digital Notary Services
Blockchain technology is expected to facilitate the notarization process. With this technology, users can be guaranteed the integrity of data on the chain. The known characteristics of Blockchain already set it up to be a great asset to improve notary capabilities.
Types Of Notary Services Provided By Blockchain
There are three areas of notary services that can be influenced by the implementation of Blockchain technology. Using Blockchain technology, these provided services cannot directly replace notary services, as stated by the law (at least, not yet); they can only enhance the whole process. From country to country, they could be either accepted or denied.
Highlighted below are the areas where Blockchain technology can help with notary public services.
Proof Of Existence
The ability to certify existence is at the foundation of notarizing. Blockchain technology is optimized to carry out this function effortlessly. The document itself can be saved on the Blockchain. Any modifications on such a document are detected and easily traced through the timestamps placed on the document.
This is done in two steps:
1. Hashing the document: In direct replacement of uploading the certified document on the Blockchain, it is more practical to upload the hashed copy of the certified document. It is also costly to have numerous (large) documents stored on the Blockchain. Data privacy also would need to be taken into consideration.
Proof Of Ownership
Many notary services require a user account for the creation of proof of ownership. The transaction ID and any form of identification are kept on the database. The user account usually resides outside the Blockchain. This minimally reduces the confidence level of the notary service even though some part of the authentication service is on the Blockchain. In the proof of ownership system, only the hash of the document is added.
A given transaction ID retrieves the record from the storage. The retrieved data calls upon the hashed documents for integrity checks. The user identification area also cross-checks the ownership of the document before release.
Furthermore, smart contracts can be used to provide contract capability, which is useful in adding certain flexibility in the design of the overall application.c
Document Ownership Transfer
In cases where transfer of ownership is required, the ownership of such a document is determined either through an external user account or certificat