Why we still rely on paper documents in this BLOCKCHAIN Era?
Since the existence of document and certificate, there is a problem of document forgery. By forging a document, one can deceive others for a benefit. It can be getting a mortgage loan by other’s house, selling items with prices much higher than it should be, granting privileges they cannot have, etc.
According to a report by PwC in 2015, financial fraud contributes to an estimated 20 billion USD in direct losses annually. This figure is an underestimate as many firms cannot accurately identify and measure losses due to fraud. The worst effect of financial frauds is on FDI inflows into India.
An essential part of forging a document is always forging a signature. Signature is a legal requirement on accepting a document on court. To disprove a document, or prove a document is fraud, the most common method is to perform a signature analysis to prove the signature is not from the claimed person. However, it is often hard to tell if a signature is really from a person, especially for simple and sloppy signature. In some cases, even signatures from the same person will be considered as from different people.
To solve this problem, important documents like last will and real estate purchase agreements often require witness on signing the document. When there is any doubt, the witnesses will be called to testify the authenticity of a document. But it often makes the legal procedure much longer, as there are many signatures to verify. It is hard for third party to judge if a person has signed a document which he would like to deny.
Image from Florida Notary Public To provide an additional layer of protection, stamping is often added on official and legal documents. Stamping plus signature is a common measure for lawyers to certify a document copy. Wax seal is still used today for cross border legal documents.
The problem is that with current technology, it is very easy to forge a stamp or wax seal to stamp documents. Moreover, the document recipients often do not know the correct stamp, meaning they cannot distinguish the real and false documents.
In countries like China, fingerprint is needed when signing a government related document. However, like stamping, it is easy to forge and copy to other documents. China now requires people to take a picture when he is about signing a document in government agencies, banks and hotels and the picture will be stored with the signed document into the police system for record and verification. But it is not used in civil contract yet.
When judging a document is true or not, supporting evidences usually provide a great help. For example, one can summit mailing record from post offices and courier company as an evidence to prove a document is really delivered to a party in Hong Kong according to the Evidence Ordinance.
This is the very reason why we are still relying on paper documents these days. Even wax seals can be forged easily, they are still working standard of validating a document. Even courier takes a long time and expensive, the delivery record provides a count-presentable valid proof of delivery. They both only work on physical documents, hence in business world physical documents still dominant.
Many companies nowadays do deliver documents via electronic medium, like email. However, people, especially in South East Asia, often argue that document electronic copies can be modified and cannot prove the source of document. There are technologies making sure a document is not modified and is from the expected party, like S/MIME and digital signature. The adoption is still very low. Hence even email and instant messengers becomes dominant in communications, only physically mailed documents are considered as official.
Companies like Google, Apple and Amazon have given up mailing documents physical to their customers / business partners. All documents are delivered via emails or stored inside their own database. To prove this kind of documents valid on court, they need to provide the email delivery record from the email provider or well prove that the record in database is not modified intentionally. In most cases a third-party witness (usually the email service provider) is required and the documents are considered as supporting evidence of the witness only.
Companies like DocuSign and Adobe provide document electronic signing solutions. When someone wants to send out a document for signature, they need to upload the file to the platform and let the platform contact the recipient for signature, and then send back the signed copy to the sender. The solution provider works as a third-party witness to the document signing and the document flow, from uploading the document, to signing by the recipient, is properly recorded as a supporting evidence that a party has signed a document. Forrester has estimated in 2017 the market of electronic document signing is over 0.5 billion US dollars in USA alone and DocuSign has obtained 75% of it.
A major drawback of this solution is that all documents involved are kept in the database of the platform provider in plain text forever. It is necessary to keep a copy as the platform is a witness. But any loopholes in the system will put all client documents at risk. Documents that need to be confidential cannot use this platform.
A platform for delivering confidential data with unforgeable delivery record is necessary, especially in business world. That’s one of the reason why they build Authpaper Delivery platform. Just like Blockchain is a decentralized database for keeping records and with good settings, provide incentive to peers on doing something and It just solve the case ! incentive to peers to join swarms in which they cannot read the data content, just helping the distribution? This is the basic they start the Authpaper Delivery project.
Authpaper Delivery combines blockchain, BT, cryptography and other current technologies to build a peer-to-peer digital data delivery platform. All data delivered is confidential except the specified recipients. Data is verified to be unchanged down to every single bit. Operations on the data are properly done and recorded among the peers so that the delivery histories are public verifiable yet unforgeable. Peers are rewarded by delivering the encrypted pieces of digital data and helping to run the platform with good will.