When we were implementing the Blocknify solution to manage document e-signature and approval processes we aimed to ensure ultimate privacy and trust for our users. We apply strict privacy standards to the documents and identities we generate and process using our application. We don't just make promises privacy and trust, but instead, we believe they should be technologically built-in.
With that value in mind, we concluded that we need to run our application on top of decentralized ledger technology (DLT). Seeing how fast new DLT solutions are coming out, we made two assumptions:
- New DLT solutions are being deployed every few months
- Only a small subset of solutions out there have stood the test of time
With these two assumptions in mind, we realized that to address assumption number two in the list above we should aim for a solution that:
- is battle tested; has stood successfully the test of time
- supports smart contracts
- has a thriving and promising community of developers
With these constraints placed on our solution from our experience and research, it came to light that there is one solution that would fit us best now and that is Ethereum blockchain.
As important as our two requirements, it’s also vital to be backward compatible and future-proof, so we decided to build our application to be blockchain agnostic. The reasoning being is that there are enterprise players that have already invested in particular DLT solutions such as Corda, Hyperledger, Hashgraph and they may rightly want to leverage their current investments to achieve the outcomes that our application provides now or in the future. Therefore giving the capability of smart contracts, we can deploy Blocknify in any blockchain. Public, private, federated, permissioned, permissionless, with any underlying technology that supports smart contracts. We believe that goes in line with our strategy of giving more power and choice to our end consumer without confining them into a particular set of tech stack.
The main reasons that we decided to use a side-chain for our efforts instead of a public one are:
- Low Performance / High latency —Proof of Work ( PoW) takes a long time to approve transactions
- Transactional Privacy — Yes data is obscured however a private chain makes it fully private
- Trade Secrets — there are trade secrets that shouldn’t be available for the public to peek at
PoW can also be attacked by a high mining capacity which in a closed environment makes it more possible to overtake since the number of nodes is smaller, unlike on an open, public chain.
Our base blockchain offering for the B2C and our enterprise users who do not have an investment in blockchain solution yet is a federated Proof of Authority Ethereum client named 'Clique' that we have forked and slightly customized to fit our needs. We have deployed it, and it has a good number of running nodes that have been producing blocks and confirming Blocknify transactions the last 6+ months.
Our strategy which is in-process with the first nodes confirmed, then roll out the nodes within our enterprise customers environments who have full control over their nodes. In addition to having each one of their nodes, we tether our private chain to the public Ethereum network on an interval of every 300 blocks (with a setting of a block-a-second). This way using Patricia Merkel Tree root we can validate independently and store them in the main chain, an obscured hash of each block and guarantee that a block hash was a part of our blockchain at a given time. If any of the nodes are out of sync, not working, or malicious, we have developed a service that notifies all parties when such event occurs. Any of our enterprise customers are also welcomed to have their notification services based either on their node or within our arbitrator smart contract in the main net.
Having all these features in our approach to blockchain on top of which we build our solution we can guarantee the integrity of the data, the privacy and decentralization of resources that are used to ensure approval processes within the company and even between separate companies in our clientele.