Blockchain

For those uninitiated in the theory of blockchain, we will try and explain it as simply as possible, and in layman’s terms. We will then give some examples of how blockchain can guarantee document assurance and assurance of the identity of individuals. Combining the power of the two forms of identity assurance and you now have identity assurance linked to document assurance. 

Blockchain explained briefly

Blockchain is a term that has been around for many years now, but it is often misunderstood. The Blockchain is the basis upon which Bitcoins are processed and which give Bitcoins their unsurpassed security.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger. Think of this as a record book and each record entry becomes a line item in this record book. The power of this record book is that it is not stored in one central location, but is shared on computers all around the world, making the record book decentralised and secure.

An entry in the blockchain can never be altered or reversed, but additions can be made to it, in a similar way that a new line item is added to a record book. Whilst the internet exists, every line item in this record book will exist in perpetuity.

These line items are commonly referred to as nodes, so an addition to the blockchain ledger is a “node”. Inputs into the ledger are “hashed” or, more simply, a digital fingerprint is applied to the transaction.

A simple example of the use of the blockchain, would be to apply it to a document, say a contract. This contract is placed on the blockchain and a hash is applied to the document. That document could be one page long or thousands of pages long. No alteration can be made to that document or it would never match the “hashed” document. The encryption used in the “hash” would take all the computers in the world billions of years to crack, thus making the blockchain immutable.

Blockchain Processes:

It’s all very well talking about blockchain, but you can only appreciate blockchain if you understand how it works with real examples. Here are just a few:

Superannuation Documents: PharmacyID is currently working with a superannuation company to put all of their superannuation documents onto the blockchain. Organised crime is now targeting superannuation companies and stealing billions of dollars with their fraudulent activities. A superannuation company can secure a superannuation policy simply by uploading the final document to the client. Once the client verifies that the details in the document are correct, they upload the document to the PharmacyID network. Once they attend a PharmacyID member, the document is uploaded to the client portal. Once the person identifies themselves, a “hash” is put on the persons identity and the document. This inextricably links the person to the document and the superannuation company and the client are the only people who have access to the file. Any changes to the document, such as a change in beneficiaries, becomes a new “node” and the same identification process that originated the document is followed to update the document. The change is an addition to the process and the original document is never altered in any way.

At present, the client if often asked to take the documents to a Justice and have them initial each page. Really, how secure is that? The justice could be signing anything and it confers no security on the document. Seriously, you could have your neighbour initial the document and no-one would ever know!

Statutory Declarations: I have witnessed first hand how insecure the Statutory Declaration system is and how easy it is to perpetrate fraud on this paper based system. In order to obtain a Visa for my wife I had to fill in a ten-page form, and have the final page witnessed by a Justice. Firstly, I could have forged the “witnessing” with no chance of ever having the witnessing questioned. Secondly, it was only the final page that had to be signed, so I could have substituted the first nine pages with different material. 

By uploading Statutory Declarations to the PharmacyID network, the person and the document are both identified and neither can ever be altered. This is a secure process, not only for the recipient, but it gives certainty and security to the person presenting the documents.

Contracts: Contracts can be treated in a similar way to superannuation documents. Once uploaded they are “hashed” and linked to the identity of the document owner. Utilising blockchain the original contract cannot be altered. Additional copies, showing amendments, are overlaid on the original and the gatekeeper (owner) of the document, authorises who can make alterations.

Obtaining contracts that have been signed or countersigned is vital to every business in Australia, however simply using blockchain does not provide a complete process. For example, if you cannot confirm who actually signed the document, how do you ensure it is not a forgery?

PharmacyID provides a complete process because it physically links the applicant and their identity through a digital and face-to-face verification of identity. The process is further enhanced by the digital process linking the applicant with a time and place stamp captured at the pharmacy. The process contains full audit capability.

The PharmacyID face-to-face network is currently available to all Australians right now! As PharmacyID continues to expand and grow, our network of pharmacies where identity can be verified and confirmed will increase too, making it easier for all involved parties. PharmacyID is the best solution for all your identity verification needs within your contract management requirements.

For further information or to arrange a demonstration, please contact PharmacyID on 1300 937 487 or email info@pharmacyid.com.au.

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