Blockchain Enabled Proof and Authenticity
Proof made the rounds on this week’s Super Happy Dragon Lucky with Cyborg Orrin and Greg Lang of Open Relay and Rivet. If you know anything about Dragonchain, you know that Proof Matters. We provide Proof for whatever needs proving. That includes medical data, financial, voting, connected vehicles, or anything else you can imagine.
The article that spurred the discussion was from Wired entitled Blockchain could soon make it impossible to sell a stolen Rolex. The article dives into the current state of authenticating watches and talks about how dealers are still using “traditional warranty cards and paper certificates” which are issued by manufacturers. The article discusses how easy it is to counterfeit the traditional authenticity records still being used today.
As we know, blockchain can provide a solution to provide authenticity and proof and, as Wired points out, is being trialed in several industries. Blockchain creates an immutable record of transactions and specified data. The article emphasizes that using blockchain to authenticate and prove, in this case, the authenticity of a watch gives the watch a digital identity.
One company, Watch Certificate, provides a “Passport for your watch.” After a detailed authentication process, a physical steel card with a QR code that is linked to a digital certificate secured by a blockchain accompanies the watch.
During the show, Joe Roets, Founder, and CEO of Dragonchain shares his take on proof. “We think the biggest use case of blockchain itself is proof. Whether it’s proof that you haven’t double spent. That this token, which is a cryptocurrency, is actually the balance that I’m telling you. Or, if it’s that this tweet really was in this form. Meaning is this the state of the tweet at that time. That’s where things are important and you can use it for anything, including is this watch real when I’m trying to sell it to you on eBay.”
Joe then asks Orrin what industry he thinks needs proof the most. Orrin doesn’t narrow it down, which is an example of how far-reaching blockchain’s impact will be on authenticity and proof.
“Well, from autograph items to luxury designer goods, blockchain will help retailers with inventory, tracking, the authenticity of products that are tagged on the blockchain and verify that each checkpoint in the distribution of the production process. So it’ll be exciting to see how the applications get applied to medical documents and financial documents. Helping with verification and dissemination among industry professionals without needing third-party verification. This can also be applied to the entertainment industry and tracking that the stream was granted and that a royalty was also paid out for that stream quarterly or yearly. But this can be made to be applied to anything. This is really the revolutionary side of blockchain and cryptocurrency that everybody’s excited to see applied in the industry. It’ll be exciting to see this in fashion, especially with counterfeit goods and making sure that your item is what you say it is. We’re talking about this with NFTs and art, but this can be applied to physical products as well.”
Greg would like to see the first broad impact of blockchain in proof in the human health and life field. “You know, I’m most excited about its use for control of prescription substances because one of the main causes of death, when it relates to prescription drugs, is being prescribed the wrong quantity or the amount or the wrong dosage. Those things can be controlled in a way that doesn’t let as many incorrect prescriptions slip into the hands of individuals who take them and actually save lives. I think that’s one that I’d like to see move forward. There are a couple of really great projects doing some pretty good work of controlling prescriptions in Mexico. I think we’ll see more of that coming.”
After the episode aired a long time Dragonchain aficionado Jeffrey noticed more chatter over in LinkedIn about the subject. A video post from Keir Finlow-Bates sparked a conversation with a myriad of additional thoughts and considerations.
Finlow-Bates brings up a really good point in that if it is easy to counterfeit the luxury watch with all its intricate parts, would it not be easy to do the same for the authentication record? The QR code could point to a fraudulent website. He goes on to point out that the watch is separate from the “passport” and questions “How a physical object can be verified to be genuine in an automated way?”
Dr. Finlow-Bates gives a few examples of identifying what he compares to fingerprints, of physical objects such as random imperfections in the manufacturing of computer chips, or maybe the flaws in a diamond. But ultimately, he feels that an RFID tag or IoT device embedded in the object could be the best solution and could even be useful with registering owners and new owners when the object changes hands.
Though, even in this case, Dr. Finlow-Bates sees the new challenges that arise: ‘The tags thing is a whole different problem. If you had an unhackable RFID tag containing a secured private key in a trusted memory bank, which had the ability to sign challenges, and with no potential for side-attacks or data leakage from carefully constructed challenges, then it could work. The evidence so far is that the RFID manufacturers aren't that good though - see the NXP Mifare Classic hacking, for example. Eventually there'll be passive tags that can digitally sign, so that will avoid the battery sacrilege’.
Those familiar with Dragonchain know that the interoperability needed to use IoT devices and RFID tags on a spectrum of devices will require integration with traditional systems such as those used by watch manufacturers. Dragonchain’s patented interchain technology makes this possible quickly without disruption to current processes.
The interchain technology further cements Dragonchain’s ability to provide measurable proof of authenticity of the state of something at a certain point in time by leveraging bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ethereum Classic as decentralized security.
Dr. Finlow-Bates does express concerns for the privacy of the owners when it comes to sensitive identifying information on the public blockchain. His concern about the privacy of the owners when it comes to sensitive identifying information on the public blockchain can be put at rest with Dragonchain. Context-based consensus protocol allows for transparency and privacy. The personally identifiable information (PII) is pulled from the authentication record and allows for immutable proof while not exposing data.
The key take-away from Dr. Finlow-Bates is that journalism often over simplifies blockchain as the solution, while instead blockchain is an integral part of the end solution which often requires the expertise from more angles.