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4thTech EIC/SME instrument 2020 Accelerator

The overall strategy of 4thTech is based on the implementation and adoption of the project’s blockchain digital identity, data exchange and Notarisation solutions, to enable the cost-efficient transition to immutable, cross-border and green DLT systems. The 4thTech EIC Accelerator 2020 Grant Application proposal is to develop and deploy CEF-compatible Document, eDelivery and Notarisation Blockchain Enterprise Suite (i.e. DEN-BES), a suite of cross-blockchain applications that are essential in every organisation.

Introduction

Advanced blockchains and other DLT technologies are being tested and implemented on European and global levels, creating the infrastructure for innovative applications. Now is the time to move forward with society's beneficial applications. 4thTech already utilizes the power of blockchains to secure cross-border immutable electronic data and document exchange and eDelivery with unique features such as document source authenticity and timestamps (i.e., notarisation), while providing digital identity through blockchain address connection with physical person or organisation. 4thTech can enable legal, governance and technical interoperability in-line with European Blockchain Services Infrastructure with global usability, while meeting the highest standards of security, privacy, sustainability and compliance with EU laws.

The main EIC proposal objective

The main objective of the EIC Grant application is to develop and deploy CEF-compatible Document, eDelivery and Notarisation Blockchain Enterprise Suite (i.e., DEN-BES), a suite of cross-blockchain applications that are essential in every organisation. Parallel to that a collection of APIs will be developed to provide a quick adoption solution. The Document, eDelivery and Notarisation Blockchain Enterprise Suite (i.e., DEN-BES) will be also deployed and integrated into Slovenian National Blockchain Test Infrastructure (i.e. SI-Chain), providing a framework for future blockchain services. This action will support the development of blockchain identity, eDelivery and Notarisation, more specifically it will help build the foundations for safe, reliable cross-border digital services between both public and private sectors, as well as between such entities and citizens and organizations.

The EIC proposal scope

The project is divided into ten tasks, described in detail in the work packages tables; (1) transition development from MVP to production; (2) CEF (i.e. Connecting Europe Facility) compatible Enterprise Access-Point (i.e. EAP) blockchain gateway development; (3) hardware infrastructure and technology scalability setup and development; (4) X.509 digital certificate standard integration; (5) API bridge development; (6) WIKI support content and documentation creation; (7) client IT helpdesk setup; (8) support, sales and marketing staff recruitment and training; (9) marketing activities, and; (10) client acquisition.

Digital identity mechanism (part of DEN-BES)

Blockchain digital identity mechanism derives as a direct result of the existing blockchain data exchange protocol. The identity mechanism is capable of the individual (or organization) wallet address verification. A link is created between an individual (or organization) and their blockchain wallet within the 4thTech system. The identity mechanism is also capable of; (1) connecting the X.509 standard digital certificate with the blockchain wallet; (2) providing the digital identity for blockchain eDelivery, and; (3) providing digital identity for blockchain Notarisation.

Digital certificate X.509 standard [1]

Digital certificate standard X.509 Public Key Infrastructure can be used for data encryption, notarization of signed data, digital signature, digital identity verification and timestamp. With various European Union certificate publications, the X.509 standard is widely used and as such appropriate for blockchain digital identity integration. The X509 Public Key Infrastructure is also approved by eIDAS (i.e. electronic IDentification, Authentication and Trust Services)[2].

Blockchain Data Excnahge Protocol (part of DEN-BES)

As the main 4thTech solution, data exchange protocol leverages trust provided by the blockchain and provides secure, immutable, instant cross-border electronic data and document exchange. The fully-featured protocol is capable of; (1) connecting senders and recipients by executing blockchain electronic data and documents exchange (i.e., blockchain eDelivery); (2) performing blockchain eDelivery based on the current CEF (i.e. Connecting Europe Facility); (3) archiving securely encrypted data and documents off-chain, and (4) following the EU GDPR guidelines.

*Follow the link to view 4thTech eDelivery MVP video tutorial: https://youtu.be/s-zyVMCB8Pc

Blockchain Notarisation Service (part of DEN-BES)

4thTech Notarisation service is a by-product of data exchange protocol and digital identity mechanism and can leverage the power of blockchains to facilitate source and time confirmation for digital data and documents. The 4thTech blockchain Notarisation service is also capable of; (1) storing and timestamping digital data or documents; (2) providing the verification of digital data or document authenticity, and; (3) providing access and review of the Notarisation details.

*Follow the link to view 4thtech Notarisation MVP video tutorial: https://youtu.be/cG5KDx5Ahmo

CEF compatibility

To fully implement the blockchain 4thTech services and, to make it compliant with the Digital Service Infrastructure (DSI) and policy objectives, it is subjected to its unique Enterprise Access-Point (i.e., EAP) development. The current CEF eDelivery solution is based on a model, where the Access Points of eDelivery implement an electronic data and documents exchange protocol that ensures secure and reliable data exchange. Trust is established between two public administrations’ Access Points and the electronic data and documents exchange is activated. We propose the development of a new Enterprise-level Access-Point, where trust will be provided by the blockchain. The proposed 4thtech Enterprise Access-Point will behave in a similar way to the current CEF Access Point but with the main difference of interacting directly with the blockchain. In this case, there is no need for interacting with the receiver Access Point. Also, there will be some differences in the case of the Access Point, SML, and SMP interacting because electronic data and documents are transmitted to the receiver Access Point over blockchain, not over the internet and different data is used to determine the receiver. Electronic identification (eID) and Trust Services are key enablers for secure cross-border electronic transactions and central building blocks of the Digital Single Market. The compatibility with existing eIDAS infrastructure will be achieved in two phases; (1) integration of Digital Certificate Standard X.509 Public Key Infrastructure, and; (2) integration of EU Login eID standard.

Compatibility with the existing systems

The Document, eDelivery and Notarisation Blockchain Enterprise Suite (i.e., DEN-BES) high-level architecture will enable blockchain technology to be used as a service in the background in sync with existing enterprise systems and compatible with European CEF infrastructure, sourcing blockchains’ true potential and benefits. A bridge will be developed between the most used ERP systems such as SAP. This will enable fast integration into already established working processes used by organizations.

Revenue models

During the first years of public blockchain application release, business models for their use were strictly transaction-based, paying each transaction with utility tokens released by the project in question. While this was the beginning of blockchain adoption, we are currently experiencing extreme transaction price volatility of “gas” utility tokens. Utility “gas” token price volatility is directly affecting transaction costs and network congestion which is resulting in low adoption of these business models. Even though open chains brought transparency, volatility and network congestion make it impossible to build a sustainable revenue model.

To address the complexity of blockchain monetization, two pricing revenue models were created:

  1. The subscription pricing model was designed based on the current conventional corporate online eDelivery solution pricing and early adopters' experience surveys. Based on the private permissionless blockchain it is most suitable for regulated users from the private and public sectors and civil society.
  2. The transaction pricing model is based on the network transaction (i.e. pay per transaction). Based on the public blockchains, it is most suitable for users that have the necessity for traceability of executed transactions.

Both models are viable, as users are coming from two completely different groups. The trade-off is between low-cost private chains with no open transaction traceability and public chains with volatile and in most cases higher prices but publicly traceable transactions.

Private chains are natively non-transparent, but they provide more constant performance, and faster transactions and enable viable revenue models. Private chains enable fixed transaction costs calculated and agreed upon between the network provider and user, paid not just in tokens but also in fiat.

Adoption and impact

4thTech has already started to develop the early adopter’s program enabling free testing for local companies, followed by the commercialization of its blockchain services once the companies are ready to commit. 4thTech solutions were designed and built from the start to enable green electronic data and document exchange between organizations and end-users. The Document, eDelivery and Notarisation Blockchain Enterprise Suite (i.e. DEN-BES) will provide a viable digital transformation option that can significantly reduce the usage of paper and reduce the organization's carbon footprint.

[1] Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Certificate and Certificate Revocation List (CRL) Profile, 2008 <https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5280> [accessed 25 September 2020].

[2] ‘(No Title)’ <https://www.luxtrust.com/wp-content/uploads/certificates_explained.pdf> [accessed 25 September 2020].

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Web3 Secured W2W on-chain communication infrastructure that enables SDKs for direct dMail & dChat integration into Web3 partner UIs or wallets

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