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Any digital information can be converted into a unique fingerprint. This fingerprint is an alphanumeric code of fixed length capable of summarizing data of arbitrary size, which can only be generated from the content of the original information, but which in no way allows external observers to reconstruct the original digital information. However given the original information it is always possible to verify the correctness of the fingerprint.

Writing the fingerprint of digital information on blockchain together with appropriate metadata (such as the name of the author of the information, the underlying company, any digital signature created with certificates issued by third parties), a Timestamp is generated, sufficient to conclusively prove that a certain information, in possession of a specific entity, existed at a certain time, not necessarily exposing the content of the information itself.

In fact the combination of the fingerprint of a data and its timestamp on blockchain allow to demonstrate that this data existed in a certain moment, while the possession of the data (if private) or the presence of a digital signature affixed on the metadata of the timestamp allows to conclusively prove that this information was produced by a certain company or person.


Thanks to the fact that the data on blockchain are publicly accessible, all verifications can be performed independently by interested and authorized third parties, after accessing the original data, if it is restricted.

Tech Details

To understand how Themis works, the following terminology should be understood.

  • original data: arbitrary information that you want to protect, like a text, a PDF document, an Excel file, a photo, a video and any other digital format.

  • hash: the mathematical operation for calculating the fingerprint of a data.

  • data fingerprint: the digital signature of the original data, generated through the hash operation.

  • metadata: data that describes other data, some metadata depend on the nature of the original data. Examples of metadata are:

    • The fingerprint of the original data;

    • The name of the authors;

    • The location of the acquisition of the data (for a photo or video could be geographic coordinates);

    • The digital signature that signs all the metadata with a registered public certificate.

  • item: all the metadata that describes the original data.

  • item fingerprint: the fingerprint of the metadata that constitutes the item.

  • timestamping: the operation of writing an item on blockchain through a transaction.

  • timestamp: the data published in a transaction that certifies an item.

  • receipt: all the information necessary to link the timestamp on blockchain with the item and the original data.

  • verification: the possible operation with which the ownership of the information is demonstrated, which requires the receipt, in some cases the original data (which must be kept by the owner) and the timestamp, present on the blockchain.

 

Operating Modes

Themis supports different ways of writing metadata on blockchain. 

 

  • Single hash: each item has a distinct timestamp, written on blockchain with distinct transactions, the timestamp in every transaction contains only the fingerprint of the item. This is the simplest, cheapest and most compliant operating mode, in respect of data privacy and protection of sensitive information, however, this mode requires the intermediation of Themis and the owner of the original data for verification.

  • Single hash store: each item has a distinct timestamp on blockchain with distinct transactions, the timestamp contains the plain metadata, this mode is not compatible with confidential or sensitive data but guarantees verification of the data even without the intermediation of Themis, and possibly of the owner of the original data.

  • Coalesced hash: multiple items share the same timestamp, written on blockchain through a single transaction. This mode guarantees cost-effectiveness and the possibility of scaling up an unlimited number of timestamps, but as in the previous case, it requires the intermediation of Themis and the owner of the original data  for verification.

 

Information Types

 

Data Stamping

Themis allows users to manage the timestamping of any type of data, provided they have the entire data in order to calculate the fingerprint

 

Small files can be uploaded directly on the Themis web app, which calculates the fingerprint and suggests other boundary metadata, depending on the type of file.

 

Large files instead must be processed locally by owners to extract the fingerprint to be provided to Themis.

 
Multimedia Stamping

Themis allows you to manage the timestamping of multimedia contents such as photos, video and audio files, the small files can be uploaded directly on the Themis web app, which calculates the fingerprint and suggests other metadata around it, depending on the specific content.