A new self-sovereign “DocuSign” uses Bitcoin for digital authentication proofs

New self-sovereign "DocuSign" uses Bitcoin for digital authentication proofs - blockchain 1024x695For years, developers have been working to expand the Bitcoin use case and go beyond being a transaction ledger. What if, for example, every time you sign a contract - to start a new job, to sign up for a service or to rent a house - you could use the Bitcoin blockchain to publish legally binding, immutable proof of the contract and your signature attached now? Woleet is a French startup whose business model revolves around these same concepts. A sort of DocuSign that uses Bitcoin.

Woleet: Notary meets Bitcoin

Woleet provides a software suite that allows its customers to authenticate documents and signatures using the Bitcoin blockchain (discover the quotation of BTC). Anyone who needs to authenticate this data can verify this evidence using hashes that match the signer and public key of the document.

These proofs can be used as timestamps, electronic signatures, electronic seals and digital IDs. Woleet does not manage customer data; on the backend, sends transactions to the Bitcoin blockchain with hash proofs for customers, but the documents never leave the customer's local computer or server storage unless you opt for cloud storage via a provider like Google.

This model is a notable exception to traditional electronic signature services. With Woleet, customers can use their own chosen server ID to manage digital identities and key pairs for their documents and signers.

According to its website, Woleet complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union and its signatures are legally binding. The service already has a valuable list of clients, including luxury goods company Kering, renewable energy provider EDF, and pharmaceutical lab Servier, among others.

“In the beginning we were seen as an innovative startup only useful as a proof of concept, like all the other 'enterprise blockchain' technologies available,” said Gilles Cardignan, CEO of Woleet. "Today, the fact that large companies trust us is helping a lot to sell to mid-sized companies with the same certification and electronic signature needs."

Self-sovereign digital IDs on Bitcoin

With its launch, Woleet joins a class of Bitcoin startups working to bring self-sovereign digital identities to the forefront of Bitcoin business applications. The ION project incubated by Microsoft, for example, is creating a platform for releasing what it calls Decentralized Digital IDs (DDIDs) on Bitcoin.

The RGB protocol, which entered beta this summer, could also provide a platform to create decentralized and digital IDs in a similar way, in a number of other applications. In essence, the difference between these identity systems and their legacy counterparts stems from their "sovereign" nature.

Their users would store the data that is authenticated instead of passing it on to third parties. The Bitcoin blockchain provides an immutable ledger for data evidence, taking an extra layer of third-party trust out of the process.