Thomas Mueller
Jun 25 · 5 min read

In the real world, there are numerous mechanisms as business registers, notarial confirmations or personal contacts as references available for the purpose of validating the partners’ trust in a business relationship. However, if we address the digital world, the validation of digital identities becomes one of the greatest challenges. How do I know that a certain digital identity really belongs to a supposed business partner? Since this question still remains unanswered, digital cooperation usually depends on central trusted parties such as marketplace operators or agency services. With such central platform approaches, the validation of the participating business partners is carried out by the platform operator. As long as all parties trust the platform operator, this is a practical way, knowing that the procedure is accompanied by a strong dependence of one’s own business model on the central infrastructure operator.

Today, the biggest competition for many companies are already not the companies next door, but the digital platforms that extend their supremacy with every transaction.

Such platforms as Amazon, Uber or Airbnb are extremely successful for a reason. They offer a very simple possibility to use real services and to make offers in a digital world. The greatest power of these platforms are ownership and accumulation of data and customer relationships.

However, a countermodel to centrally operated platforms — decentralized platforms — is evolving with increasing success nowadays.

Decentralized platforms enable the digitization of cross-company business processes by keeping the data sovereignty.

A core component of such decentralized solutions is the blockchain technology. Blockchain enables both, digital availability and tamper-proof exchange of data between business partners without using central intermediaries. This way users can be sure that any transaction, initiated via blockchain, originated from the executing identity and that the connected data was not subsequently manipulated.

Thus, a decentralized platform significantly reduces dependencies on central services and does not have or need a central platform operator as a trust-giving unit.

To understand the problem in detail, here is a small excursion: A digital transaction always takes place between digital identities. A digital identity is a specific account that possesses the key to sign the transaction. However, a digital identity can represent many different things. For example, these can be:

  • Companies that conclude contracts with each other
  • 3D printers that order material on their own
  • Construction machines that are rented out to external parties; in this case, a tamper-proof log of their condition is needed at any given time

By default, all identities on the blockchain are anonymous, so that it becomes impossible to directly recognize, who or what is operating behind a particular digital identity. And again this leads to the problem, mentioned above — one cannot be sure whether a digital identity is really used by a supposed business partner or not. To solve this problem in a conventional way, companies would have to manually exchange identity data with all their potential business partners. This is a very time-consuming process even in a normal business relationship and becomes nearly impossible with increasing automation and integration of IoT devices into digital transactions.

no trust issues on this blockchain or how we found a way to digitize trust

In order to solve the trust problem and maintain the independence of a decentralized system at the same time, at evan.network we have created a unique connection between the real and digital worlds.

With its Verification-Service evan.network offers a possibility to confirm and validate digital identities. The Verification-Service can be used between all identities so that

  • One identity can verify another identity
  • Multiple identities can confirm another identity

Examples of such verifications can be:

  • A machine (its digital twin) that belongs to a particular company
  • An employee (or her or his digital identity) who acts on behalf of the company
  • A contract that has been issued by a specific company
  • Properties as certificates that belong to a specific digital identity
  • Properties as certificates that were issued by a specific digital identity

As a result, companies achieve a significantly higher level of trust in their digital interactions with business partners. This trust can be used to issue further verifications in return, resulting in multi-level trust chains that can be traced back to their origin.

Exemplary verification chain in evan.network. The evan.network organization confirms the company account of the Lindig company. Lindig confirms that the user account “0xe70dfbc…” is their employee and that she/he may act on their behalf.

Similar confirmations can now be used in digital business processes to control them.

Company A owns a construction machine and leases it to company B. This lease takes form of a digital agreement on evan.network. The use of the construction machine is now possible for company B under the conditions regulated by this agreement. Since not the enterprise itself, but concrete employees of enterprise B use the machine, verification is required for these users. Company B verifies the digital identities of its employees using evan.network Verification-Service. The digital twin of the construction machine can now access the verification data to determine whether the identity of a specific user has actually been verified by company B.

securing basic trust by notarizing digital identities

But how do we now know that a digital identity actually belongs to a supposed company or that this company actually exists in the real world?

With the newly created extension of the existing Verification-Service, on evan.network it is now possible to validate the companies’ digital identities, adding a notarial proof to the validation process.

In a multistage process, companies can validate their digital identity (their evan.network company account) with the inclusion of a notarized confirmation. The result of a notarial proof is recorded in the Verification-Service of evan.network. Due to this confirmation, companies can now prove their existence as a real business entity, associated with the digital identity, to their business partners.

As part of the process, a public and a private validation confirmation are issued. The public confirmation is visible to all participants on evan.network and states that a real company exists behind the digital identity. The private confirmation is a notarial deed, which can be made visible for other network participants by the company, if required.

This newly created and unique solution now for the first time allows to transfer the trust of a real-world business relationship into the digital world. A great number of use cases can be implemented on this important basis, instead of being implemented analogously with a great deal of effort or via central platforms, as it happens today due to the lack of trust in the digital data.

Examples of such use cases can be:

  • Starting a digital business relationship with the new business partners without having to check their existence first
  • Proof of certificates’ possession by all suppliers of a particular supply chain issued by a notarially confirmed certification authority
  • Matching whether data, sent out by a system, actually originate from a certain company

The evan.network Verification-Service makes digital business relationships comprehensible and trustworthy. By extending the Verification-Service with the notarial proof, this trust is once again becoming significantly strengthened.

Blockchain technology, Verification-Service and notarized validation build the necessary basis for trustworthy digital business relationships without central intermediaries. Therefore, with evan.network companies are moving towards self-determined digital business relationships, towards Web3.0

Our upcoming posts will describe concrete examples, how one can apply the Verification-Service to create a trustworthy digital business relationship.

evan.network

the blockchain for digital twins and business transactions

Thomas Mueller

Written by

CEO and cofounder of evan, the company building the evan.network. Passionate in decentralization and a sharing economy based on blockchain technology.

evan.network

the blockchain for digital twins and business transactions

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