Blockchain Technology is Revolutionizing the Notary Industry to Reduce Verification Errors
As the world rapidly embraces the exodus to digital systems, document verification and identification is becoming more and more important. Today, documents are authorized and verified through a notary to deter fraud, to ensure the information provided is correct and is properly executed.
To authorize the documents, organizations and companies use an impartial witness (or notary) that identifies signers to screen out impostors and to make sure they have entered into agreements knowingly and willingly. This stretches out to various documents including loan documents, collateral agreements, affidavits, contracts, and powers of attorney.
Every business requires a notary to ensure every document collected is factual and authorized to avoid legal impediments. Having a notary helps businesses save time, money, and improves the quality of service to the customers. Notaries allow businesses to form contracts without the need to travel to the concerned party to sign the documents, offer additional services to ensure the customer’s documents are right and ensure the convenience of dealing with the customers.
Across most states in the U.S., the cost of starting off or renewing a notary is relatively cheap – around $100 for a four-year term, which includes necessary state bonds and Notary stamps. This small fee could save your business from legal issues and keep customers satisfied – boosting the overall performance of your business.
Nonetheless, the traditional notary industry is slowly being faced out given the challenges faced by businesses, time wasted and errors that arise from using a notary.
Should I Take Up a Notary?
Despite the advantages listed above, taking up a notary could come with its own challenges. First, the process of finding a suitable notary could be madly expensive. While most states in the U.S. have set a maximum fee/registration fee of between $2.50 and $25 per notary, maintaining the notary could cost upwards of $200 (as a starting fee) which could be expensive for small businesses.
Additionally, human notaries could be prone to errors and legal predicaments. The errors include notarizing documents when a signer isn’t present, not properly identifying the signer, forgetting to administer oaths or affirmations, forgetting to record notarizations, losing the clients notarized documents, incomplete documents, or lack of an official license. An error in notarization could be a time consuming and expensive affair if legal issues arise pertaining to the documents.
Finally, some notaries could overcharge fees which leads to fraud and possibly could lead to revoking of the signed documents. If a notary overcharges a customer, the state regulating agency may suspend or revoke the notary’s commission or fine the notary. As a customer, you could sue the notary…but to what end?
To combat these challenges, developers are creating blockchain-based solutions to provide an effective, cheap, and fast way to notarize, verify and authorize documents without the need for a middleman (notary).
A Blockchain Solution
As the world turns fully digital, notarization is also turning digital with electronic (digital) notary coming up fast. A digital notary gives the authorized official the ability to carry out the notarizing function electronically. The electronic notary affixes the authorized seal on a certified document via leveraging cryptographic technology and a secured public key to create, manage, store and distribute the digital identity or document.
Unlike the traditional notary that needed a face-to-face interaction, digital notaries allow the action to be performed remotely hence saving on cost and time. Blockchain technology protects the information provided, keeps the system transparent and maintains the integrity of data on the chain. Moreover, notarized documents are immutable once stored on-chain and prevent counterfeit documents.
A leading blockchain project in the digitization of public notaries is Blockademia. It is a Cardano-based digital information system that leverages the power of blockchain to issue, verify, notarize and authenticate documents. The platform provides immutable, public, and decentralized features to ensure transparency of the documents. Every document on Blockademia is recorded with the exact time and date on the blockchain. Using these blockchain features, Blockademia ensures the permanence and immutability of the issued entry containing document metadata and subsequent authenticity checks.
Simply put, the issuer of the document uses Blockademia to enter the necessary correct data and create a document. Once created, the system will generate a unique hash and assign it to the document. This hash is then recorded on the blockchain representing all data (verification, authentication and notarization data) and the transaction metadata. Users need to purchase ACI (native Blockademia tokens) to pay for fees in order to complete the recording of the documents. Once paid, the Issuer then receives a QR code which can be used to verify and authenticate the legitimacy of the document.
With the help of blockchain technology, traditional notaries could be a thing of the past. A fast, reliable and global system could be used to verify every document possible and maintain the documents’ integrity and legality.
A Long Road Ahead
Blockchain technology is still in its infancy and a lot still needs to be done to ensure mass adoption. With solutions such as Blockademia coming up, it is expected the rates of document and identity fraud will increase in the coming years. Blockchain technology improves the integrity and speed to get a document notarized.
In addition, blockchain improves the security, privacy and transparency of documents stored on-chain. It also eases the transfer of document ownership through the network and opens transactions to the public for the verification process.
In the near future blockchain technology should be adopted to reduce the challenges of having a notary. We still are a long way to full adoption, but we are getting there!
In conclusion, blockchain technology could be a great alternative to the current challenges a notary may face. From the huge workload, storage costs or human errors that notaries face, blockchain looks ready to flourish and take over the verification industry, which could save the global economy close to $3.5 trillion annually.