What is Proof-of-Existence and how will it help to protect intellectual or private property

George Kiknadze
3 min readNov 2, 2017

What is Proof-of-Existence (PoE)

Proof of Existence will help to prove that a certain document/file/media was created on a particular date and time. Imagine you have invented a new technology, for example something like the Blockchain. You have all of the working materials and resources in a single PDF and this invention has a perspective to make you a Nobel laureate or at least a rich person. However, you are scared to share your invention with other people or companies as you feel that they may steal it and claim their rights for the invention.

In this case, you would need to patent an idea, deal with loads of paperwork and delayed processes. Providing that you are not familiar with the procedure, it would also take plenty of time to understand how the whole mechanism works.

That’s where Proof-of-Existence comes into the game. You can get the ownership of your invention/idea/prediction and prove it everywhere, independent from your location. No prior technical knowledge is required to do this.

Intellectual property is not the only thing you can protect with PoE.

Let me tell you about the real world examples.

The use cases

Georgia is the first country to implement the PoE technology in the public sector. They save the hash numbers of citizens’ land registry documents on the Bitcoin’s blockchain, which is currently the biggest of the blockchains. This system protects citizens from the data leak, data manipulation and even the removal of it. The hash number of the document, which is saved on the public blockchain, will always help Georgian citizens to prove that their documents are legit and valid. How ? — The document they provide should simply produce the same hash number as the one saved on the blockchain. For the additional notice — even the most minor change in the document will result in the different hash number, which means that this numbers will never coincide unless the two documents are identical. Does not matter if the servers of the Nation Agency of Public Registry (NAPR) will be destroyed one day, the citizens will still be able to prove the validity of their documents with their hash numbers.

Haiti example

In 2010, terrible earthquake hit Haiti, destroying a number of buildings, including the one where the records of the land registry were saved. As the servers were centralized and destroyed, no one knew who were the real owners of the lands. As a result, government has faced serious problems.
If similarly to Georgia, Haiti used the blockchain for the land registry, there would have been no problems regarding the ownership.

It is always a great risk to save such a data on a centralized server. It is easily hackable and sometimes even irreparable. Meanwhile, with the blockchain, there is no single point of failure.

How to use it

There is a great project and the website Poex.io, which lets the users to upload any kind of documents and save their hash numbers on Poex’s public blockchain. The users can always feel safe as they will be able to prove the ownership of their documents across the world.

After uploading the file, users should pay 2 mBTC, which is the fee for saving the hash of the document FOREVER.

For Techies

You can get the hash number of any file just using you terminal and one command:

$ shasum -a 256 identity.txt

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George Kiknadze

Web3 Engineer | Senior Software Engineer at Metamask Institutional | Blockchain Advocate