Acronis Notary

Blockchain technology to prove a file is authentic and unchanged

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain technology is best known in the context of digital currencies like Bitcoin, but those are far from its only useful applications. To understand its other uses, however, you must understand what blockchain is.

Simply put, it is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list, or chain, of data transaction records. Every portion of this decentralized system has a copy of the chain – so no single, “official” copy exists. The distributed nature of the chain prevents tampering and revision, which makes it easy to confirm the authenticity and security of every transaction recorded on the chain.

Data “Fingerprints”

Acronis Notary computes a cryptographic hash, or “fingerprint”, that is unique for each file. This hash is an algorithm that produces the same output when given the exact same input file, making it useful for verifying the file’s authenticity. Any change in the input file, however slight, results in a dramatically different fingerprint. Because the hash algorithm is designed to work only in one direction, it is impossible to determine the original file inputs from the output alone – making the process tamper-proof.

Anchoring data in the Blockchain

Think of the blockchain as an “append-only” ledger with a transaction order that is distributed across many entities, with each entity keeping an identical copy of the ledger. Every record in the ledger is time-stamped, immutable, and independently verifiable.

A hash of the whole structure containing the files’ fingerprints is recorded into the blockchain. The authenticity of those files can be independently confirmed by any party (even one not doing business with Acronis) that has access to the blockchain.

How can Acronis Notary be used, and why should you care?

Acronis Notary adds an extra level of confidence to the authenticity of your personal and business data. In the future, you may want to simply reassure yourself that a file you previously stored or backed up has remained unchanged since then. Or you may have a file (or someone may present you with a file) that you need to validate, confirming it is authentic and unchanged from its backup. While we share some use cases below, common potential uses include property records, court documents, and long-term archives that could be subject to legal or tax audits.

Using Acronis Notary, you compare a certificate you generated for this “new” document with the original document’s certificate.

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Provide Confidence That Data is Authentic and Unchanged

Prove That a Document is Unchanged (or Changed)

Suppose you have an executed agreement that is backed up to local storage or the Acronis Cloud. The other party to the agreement also receives a digital copy of the exact same document. In a few months, you get a call from the other party telling you that you didn’t fulfill the contract. That party shows you a document that seems to be original. But you suspect they made some changes to it.

Using Acronis Notary technology, you compare a certificate you generated for this “new” document with the original document’s certificate. That way, you can be sure that the recent document is an identical bit-for-bit match to the one you have in backup storage. If they don’t match, you know that the other party has changed the document in some way and can confirm what they have is not the original document.


Confirm a Creative Work Originated on a Certain Date

A visual or musical artist may be skeptical about publishing creative assets on the internet. Using Acronis Notary certification — a tool for copyright protection that can help confirm the date of origin — can change his mind.

To do this, the artist creates a backup that contains pieces of digital art, music, photos, or anything else that can be copyrighted. Once the backup is complete, he can obtain a certificate with cryptographic evidence that could help his copyright claim in case of infringement. The record of the original pieces and their creation dates are recorded in the blockchain. Artist can confirm that his piece of art existed at a certain time in the past, was authored by him and assist his copyright claims.


Prove a Legal Document Existed When You Claim it Did

Lawyers may need to prove to a judge and jury that a file in their possession has been in existence since a certain date and time. Using Acronis Notary, they can tie the file in their possession to data on the blockchain, which mathematically proves the existence of that exact file at the specific, earlier date in question.


Confirm Bills Were Paid When You Said They Were Paid

A company keeps an archive of all of its old, paid invoices in a notarized backup. One day, the company receives a letter demanding payment for an invoice that was paid two years ago. The record in the blockchain is permanent and immutable, so the company can confirm that this invoice was re-sent by mistake.


Confirm Product Certifications are Unchanged

A consumer buys a certified diamond with an associated serial number on it. He backs up the diamond’s “warranty of authenticity” and proof of purchase with Acronis Notary. After some time, he decides to sell the diamond. A prospective buyer can use Acronis Notary to verify that the diamond’s purchase records are unchanged, so he can confidently move forward with a third-party’s professional gemstone evaluation.


Just the Start of the New Generation of Data Protection

The risks to our data are ever-changing, and the blockchain capabilities of Acronis Notary represent the first of a completely new generation of data protection solutions designed to meet those threats. Discover how Acronis is advancing its approach to protecting your data.