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Blockchain Secures Document Authenticity With Smartrac's dLoc Solution

The company plans to release its new NFC-based paper documentation and certificate verification and authentication solution with Factom's blockchain technology to ensure that documents and related data are secure against fraud.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 19, 2016

While a transition is under way from paper to digitally stored information, it is still necessary, with some paper documents, to provide physical proof of ownership or other certification, such as a person's birth certificate. Paper documents, however, can be vulnerable to fraud. Smartrac has released a Near Field Communication (NFC) radio frequency identification solution to ensure that documents and their related data cannot be altered or forged. Smartrac's dLoc solution stores encrypted data about a document that can only be unlocked and read by authorized parties using hash-value technology. The system is expected to be made commercially available next month.

The dLoc solution, intended for document verification and authentication, employs Smartrac's own NFC transponders and Smart Cosmos cloud-based software platform. The blockchain technology (software dedicated to secure the storage of sequential blocks of data) used in the system was provided by data security technology firm Factom. Banks, property rights companies, hospitals and other businesses are currently in conversations with Factom and Smartrac about using this technology to store the unique ID number associated with a document, along with the data printed on that document or its history, such as the previous owners of a vehicle or other property.

The system is geared toward banks and mortgage companies that may store loan origination or mortgage paperwork, as well as for the medical sector regarding vaccination certificates, x-rays or other personal medical data. In addition, agencies that store land titles, vehicle registration and other property rights documents might benefit from the technology, says Mitch Deyoung, the product manager and VP of Smartrac's secure ID and transactions business division.

The solution consists of an adhesive dLoc NFC tag with a built-in Smartrac Bullseye NFC inlay, which comes with one of a variety of chips, depending on a user's particular needs, with storage capacity ranging from 1 to 64 kilobytes. A user can apply the sticker to a document, and then utilize an NFC reader built into a smartphone or reading device to capture the tag's unique ID number, write information to the tag and link data about the document to that tag ID.

Factom's blockchain software then creates a 32-bit hash value—a fixed, 32-digit string representing the chip's unique ID (UID), the form control number and the document data—which is stored in the Smart Cosmos software, as well as in a public blockchain. That value can only be accessed by other authorized parties equipped with an NFC reader using a private key.

The hash value provides greater security than simple encryption, Deyoung says. "Security is everything," he explains, when it comes to document authentication. Although NFC or RFID tags can be encrypted, that does not guarantee that a tag has not been changed. "It is very difficult, if not practically impossible, to infer the original input, given only the output from the tag. The degree of difficulty depends on the strength of the encryption used."

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