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Morfosis Main Idea

A blockchain - based DMS

The main goal of this project is to provide the architecture of a developing system for document management having as a back-up a blockchain-based solution for document content verification.
The solution follows these main steps:

(1) unstructured information from documents in .pdf formats is extracted;

(2) information is converted to a structured form resulting in a compact table including necessary fields from the documents;

(3) the table data is encrypted and stored in the blockchain.

Being a distributed ledger shared among all the nodes in a network, the blockchain was first used in the financial sector for exchanging and trading assets in a secure way and very efficiently because of the short execution time of the transactions. The variety of applications ranges from currency exchange, payments, remittances, loans, crowdfunding to stocks and shares, digital bonds, gold, etc. Other sectors include healthcare, insurance, communications, peer-to-peer storage, identity management, and every day new areas are exploring the inclusion of blockchain in their information systems.

WHY Blockchain?

In 2014 blockchain developers made possible the arise of a new network where everyone could enter the global economy allowing them to exchange without intermediaries. Since then the interest in blockchain became important at the government level, starting with Next in 2016 from the Russian Federation, Singapore in 2016 in collaboration with IBM, World Economic Forum in November 2016 to discuss government models developed in blockchain, in 2017 Harvard suggested blockchain as a groundbreaking technology, etc. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies give to developing countries a great opportunity to advance their economy. It would be a great opportunity for Albania or similar ones too, even though by now blockchain is not seriously considered by their respective governments.

The first institution that stored certificates was the University of Nicosia, Cyprus. They actually use the bitcoin network. Malta is another country who has adopted blockchains for professional certifications. Their project relies on a successful initiative, Blockcerts, developed by MIT Media Lab Learning Initiative. Blockcerts is an open-source ecosystem for creating, sharing, and verifying blockchain-based educational certificates. Other solutions include TrueRec from SAP, to manage certificates of online courses.

All these solutions store in the blockchain all validated transactions, whereas data are not stored. In fact storing large amounts of data in the blockchain would be very costly for the data owner. For that reason, there were created many storage solutions in order to offer cheaper, faster, more secure, more distributed and independent compared to cloud solutions. Some of the most popular solutions are: (1) StorJ: it is a blockchain-based cloud storage, and it secures documents by encrypting them [Sto18]. Documents are split into partitions where every part is a peer in the network. (2) IPFS: is a blockchain-based File-System, distributed in all peers of the network. It offers a similar to BitTorrent file exchanging mechanism and versioning similar to Git.

There are some important characteristics of the blockchain technology, showing its importance and future perspective. Not only the fact of being decentralized, but also terms such as smart contracts, consensus, unchangeability, open source, peer-to-peer, are at the root of the algorithms on which blockchain is built. All these characteristics are essential in document management systems.
 

Distribution

The design allows distribution of blocks and synchronization in the network.

 

Smart contracts

Are pieces of code executed on the blockchain, consisting of complex instructions written in a programming language and determines the rights of each party in the network.

 

Consensus

Prior to executing a transaction there exists a consensus between parties, verifying that the transaction is valid.

 

Data Unchangeability

After a transaction is recorded it cannot change afterword. Basically, trust can be achieved in a trusted network of nodes, guaranteeing its security.

 

Transparency

In the internet stack, blockchain has added a new layer, the layer of trust, which is a characteristic able to be coded and included in the algorithms of this technology.

 

Integrity

File or data integrity is a very important security principle and in the blockchain world it allows its users to verify their content is unchanged