Apostile is a blockchain-based notarization service developed by NEM.io Foundation Ltd. Apostille is used to register a document within NEM’s blockchain for the purpose of verification of its author and time of establishment. Apostille verification system allows the creation of electronic representation of the real-life objects such as documents, property, rights of ownership and so on. Apostille is supposed to become a next step in notarial practice that will allow verification process to become transparent and easy. It is one of the first and most promising implementations of blockchain-based technological solutions for elimination of third parties in notarial and verificational practice.
How it works
Apostille notarization system in a little bit more complex than just establishing a timestamp of a fingerprint of a document. Apostille takes a name of the file and combines it with an account information of the user, resulting in creation of a unique private key specifically for that document. That file’s dedicated private key is used to make a hierarchical deterministic (HD) account. After that, a fingerprint of a document is made by hashing its contents and then signing that hash with the private key of the user. Signed fingerprint is then sent in a transaction to the HD account created from the file’s private key. This HD account is created from a file metadata and now holds the fingerprint of the file in the form of a transaction.
The NEM team is comparing Apostille working progress to Bitcoin “'colored coins”. Colored coins is a method of associating some asset with the addresses within Bitcoin network. Information, verified with the Bitcoin blockchain is registered on the transferred Satoshis and represents a right of ownership of a holder of a wallet that contents the funds. Apostille is functioning in similar way, but with some additional security and unique features.
After file was notarized, it is not only representing itself, but also transfers info about some real-life objects. Owners of the digital files that represent those objects are getting dedicated private keys for these files and can fingerprint these files and send its fingerprint to the account made from the dedicated private key. After the whole process is done, account is considered “colored” and a color of the account is the title of the real-life object it represents.
However, the process of the file’s initial notarization is only a part of Apostille functional. After the registration, “colored” account is available for sending messages to HD account representing updates to the notarized document. For example, user can confirm the execution of a contract, delivering a parcel or a phone repairment. NEM blockchain’s namespaces allow strict identification of an owner of a registered asset, which allows an establishment a trusted official account of a company that can be used, for example, to verify a certain line of goods. This feature comes especially handy for fighting against counterfeit products.
In contrast to Bitcoin, NEM is not using coins for storing data about the notarized object and uses accounts for that purpose. As funds transfering is one of the main functions of cryptocurrency, it is very easy to pass a coin with information to another owner. Same operations with accounts are not available for most cryptocurrencies. NEM solves this problem with its version of multisignature that allows an account to be owned by other accounts. Multisignature contracts in NEM start with taking an already existing account and turning it into multi-signed account. This account does not not have its own private key and, therefore, can’t initiate transactions. The right of initiating transactions on behalf of multi-signed account is now given to co-signers of it. New signers can be added and deleted at any time in accordance with the agreement of co-signers. Apostille as a service would be possible to use in two ways: with NEM’s NanoWallet and with its website - apostille.nem.io, that is not active at the time of writing this article.
- Apostille reduces the government involvement in notarization process.
- Apostille verification does not involve your physical presence anywhere but near your computer.
- Notarization with apostille can be performed without notary and, therefore, without various national certification systems and third party costs.
- Apostille allows unlimited modifications of the verified document, that are not involving third party. Third party exclusion reduces the risks of declassification that appears each time they contact the document.
- Account multisignature verification system of Apostille allows simultaneous ownership of notarized account, that is convenient for products owned and developed by several parties.
- Apostille’s naming service offers an opportunity to establish an official business account for the purposes of counterfeit protection, loyalty programs and other useful corporate ventures.
- The reliability of Apostille is based only on technical solutions of NEM and is vulnerable to malfunctions and other types of various technical difficulties.
- Apostille’s verification system is not backed by any official legislation that may cause troubles in case of its usage in judicial hearings and other legal processes.