FAQ

How does it work?

A: Issuance of Documents:

a.     Metadata relating to the document is attached to a PDF file (optional).

b.    A fingerprint of the whole document (PDF incl. the metadata) is included in a Bitcoin transaction.

c.     The transaction details are added back to the metadata on the PDF file.

d.    The vPDF documents are disseminated to owners.

B: Validation of Documents:

a.     Go to an online validator found on issuer’s and other websites.

b.    Upload the PDF file.

c.     Get an immediate response as to its validity.

C.  Revocation/Expiry of Documents:

a.     An additional transaction is created on the Blockchain that invalidates previous records without erasing audit trail, either manually or automatically by defining an expiry date for the document.

We would like to be further educated about the product before committing to its adoption. Do you provide any kind of training?

Indeed, we do. We in fact consider this as a must for us to also get a better understanding of your company’s specific needs, requirements, and structure, so that we can deliver a product that best fits your profile.

What types of institutions benefit the most from licensing your product?

Any institution, may it be a government, a local authority, any corporation or academic institution that issues certificates that wish to have an enhanced level of security and immutability.

Is there a limit as to the number of certificates that can be issued per batch?

The way we have designed our product where multiple certificates are hashed together, enables us to issue an unlimited number of documents per batch.

How do you link the blockchain transaction back to the certificate?

We insert the metadata transaction ID and the Merkle proof back to certificate once the transaction is complete.

Can certificates be anchored to the blockchain have an expiry date, as this may be necessary for a number of certifications?

Expiration dates can be set during the issuance phase as part of the embedded metadata. Therefore, when the validity period lapses, the verification process will indicate that the certificate has expired.

Can certificates be revoked in case of a mistake or a change in circumstances?

Indeed. We have developed a methodology whereby certificates can be revoked in case there is a need for that.

Do we need to have a digital wallet set up through which to make the bitcoin transactions or can you take care of it for us?

We can certainly take care of it for you.

What happens to issued certificates if for whatever reason our account is discontinued?

Any already issued certificate has no ongoing dependence on Block.co. These records are anchored on the blockchain that recipients own for a lifetime.

Does our organization have to setup a blockchain node or manage a crypto-currency?

No. Block.co makes it easy to anchor records on a blockchain and manages the transaction fees for you behind the scenes.

Can the product be hosted on existing legacy system?

Yes, but extra charges will be levied and maintenance will have to be done internally.

Can we have custom branding on our accounts and issued records?

Indeed. The product allows you to brand your records however you see fit.

Where can one find the webapp to validate the certificate?

At what GitHub address is the final version of your technology?

https://github.com/verifiable-pdfs/blockchain-certificates

Why the Bitcoin blockchain?

It has proved over the years to be the most secure blockchain.

Why not Ethereum blockchain?

We feel there is not much to gain by using Ethereum blockchain.For more insights regarding our design principles, please read the relevant article on our blog: http://staging-blockco.temp312.kinsta.cloud/design-principles-future-directions/

Will our IT department have to carry out any configuration work that would be necessary?

All configuration work will be carried out by us, but we will, however, require a contact person in your IT department to work with during the setup/configuration process and also for any account maintenance work.

Do we need people with programming skills in order to use Block.co?

No. Our issuing system is a web-based application and can be used by anyone with basic administrative skills.

How compliant is Blockchain with GDPR legislation?

The issue of Blockchain and GDPR compliance is one that will be discussed for some time still and until legislators decide to do something about it. GDPR legislation was passed in a pre-blockchain era and was fashioned with an implicit assumption that a database is a centralized mechanism for collecting, storing and processing of data. Which of course is no longer the case especially with public blockchains. In discussions we had with MEPs, they confirmed that GDPR legislation is meant primarily to protect against very large corporations exploiting their users’/clients’ personal data to make a profit. On the positive side, both GDPR and Blockchain at heart share the objective of data sovereignty, so blockchain could become a tool to achieve this objective. Blockchain could in theory make it easier for platforms and applications to become GDPR compliant by having this compliance inserted in the code, thus supporting data protection by design, one of the law’s primary objectives.

How is the issuer identity verified?

The identity of the issuer is important and needs to be verified. We deal with this by including several identity verification mechanisms. Right now, we support two such mechanisms. One is domain verification where the identity is proved by proving ownership of a specific Domain Name Server (DNS). Additionally, we provide a Block.co verification service where we take care of manually verifying the issuers. More verification methods will follow, like Keybase, Github or social media accounts.

Why not use PDF signatures?

With PDF signatures, one uses the traditional centralized Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). The issuers need to register with a Certificate Authority (CA) that will verify their signature and sign in turn that it is valid. This process is centralized and has several single points of failure that we want to avoid using, by decentralization. Please see article on our design principles.

Where else can your validators be found?

You can see examples of our validators as follows:

Block.co validators:

Please note that the list is not exhaustive as our technology is Open Source Code.

How can I see at which block height my certificate is anchored?

Copy and paste the transaction id on any public bitcoin block explorer to see all the details.