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The Future of Data Integrity

TDE​ 2 – Solution

March 02, 2020

Solution

Our last post analyzed requirements that need to be met for a trusted exchange of data. This post will follow suit and explain how to meet such requirements.

To meet data integrity requirements, let’s start at the point of inception: when digital data is created. Looking at the example of healthcare, remote patient monitoring, it is apparent that the integrity of sensor data regarding patient care could be the difference between life or death, making data integrity invaluable. Further, having a smooth flow of information increases response time making caretaking more efficient and less delayed.

For this, a sensor reading temperature, the original creator, here the sensor, would create the data’s hash, a unique ID or fingerprint. Following this, the hash then needs to be saved or anchored, to an immutable storage system. In the digital age, every centralized storage can be easily compromised, hence the right choice is a distributed ledger, like a blockchain. A distributed ledger has many interacting but independent nodes that create a mathematical proof of the authenticity of data when comparing the recreated hash with the initially saved hash.

Overcoming DLT shortcomings

Although it has many positive functions DLTs come with a number of issues. Distributed ledgers, though they are highly secure, are often slow and expensive. This is probably the main technological issue for DLTs regarding industrial applications. A solution that has overcome these issues is Cryptowerk  Horizon™. This technology solves throughput issues by bundling hashes. Blockchain transaction throughput can be accelerated by a factor of 1,000,000. It does so while still being able to give each individual hash its own Cryptowerk Seal™, an Ariadne’s thread if you will.

The Seal can overcome a second shortcoming of blockchains, which is also an advantage; transparency. Each transaction on a blockchain can be viewed from every stakeholder at all times, larger blockchains like Bitcoin or Ethereum are basically public knowledge. Cryptowerk Horizon, however, obfuscates data secured on blockchains through its bundling and Seal token.

The power of the Seal

According to many data privacy regulations (HIPAA, GDPR, …), sensitive personal data must stay private. No data that can be linked back to the individual is allowed. However, by creating a super hash there is no way to find the information pertaining to an individual hash. This is why the creator of the initial hash receives a Seal back from Cryptowerks API so that they can use it as a thread to rediscover the hash in the blockchain, and if required they can cut all ties to the anchor on the ledger by deleting the Seal™. When utilizing Horizon the security of DLTs is safeguarded while adhering to privacy regulation.

Having the Seal further enables the owner of the data to share with recipients a way to verify the authenticity themselves. Further, it also shows a proof of existence of said data, making it verifiable without compromising the privacy of data. This is made possible on the basis of Zero-Knowledge-Proof.

Gapless sealing for gapless proof

To keep data integrity intact, every change will de facto create a new document making it necessary to hash and anchor again. By doing that and storing iterations and their Seals it creates a fully auditable record of proof. If the data is not supposed to be changed the initial Seal would be absolutely sufficient for every stakeholder involved to be assured of the authenticity of the data.

The obvious application can be seen in a track and trace solution for supply chains. They would be fully auditable and transparent, increasing consumer trust, reducing the necessity for middlemen to verify which also eliminates human error and malice. Such a goal could be reached by a Horizon enabled trust center, for any supply chain  (Figure 1, Trusted Bread Production Chain Wheat2Table).

Figure 1, created by Cryptowerk Corp.

Caveat

Looking back at how to establish a trusted exchange of data, it has become more apparent that data integrity is key. Sealing, meaning registering of data and anchoring it to the blockchain has shown to have the power to be a source of truth for authentication. However, to obfuscate information to a sufficient amount to meet regulatory compliance another step needs to be established. Further, throughput and cost issues of blockchains must be considered. Crypotwerk Horizon™ was introduced as a technology that can overcome exactly these essential problems which stop industrial application for blockchain technology.

While the sealing of data will secure data integrity for the data itself, the movement of it may be questioned. As the movement of data is the second part of data exchanges. This context data or movement data must also be embedded with data integrity to ensure that the entirety of the process has secured verifiable integrity. We will answer this question in our next paper. Stay tuned.

Read the entire whitepaper “Trusted Data Exchange 2 – Asset Data Sealing” here.