Blockchain for PDF Documents

You have sent out some contracts in PDF to your clients and would like to be able to track real time who has already signed the document, and with whom it is now.

You've paid a digital invoice of your supplier, and afterwards it seemed to be fake - you were a victim of invoicing fraud. These issues and many more can now be solved by Blockchain. This eBook focuses on how you can use Blockchain in combination with PDFs to write applications.

We all know blockchain because it's the technology used by Bitcoin in the context of cryptocurrency. "Virtual money" or "Digital currency" is only one application of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). At iText, we've developed a series of patents that describe mechanisms:

  • to automate document workflow and version management,

  • to ensure document integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation,

  • to provide long-term validation, and

  • to manage document identification and retrieval.

You may already have read our RefCard on DZone, entitled Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology for Documents. Or you've seen the article on Forbes explaining the rationale of our Blockchain efforts: Can Blockchain Solve Your Document And Digital Signature Headaches? This Forbes article was inspired by an OracleOne talk by Joris Schellekens. The patents were filed on December 22, 2016. They were already granted in Belgium, and they are now pending internationally (ETA: June 2019). We've also created an iText add-on pdfChain that is released on github.

We've been evangelizing these mechanisms at events such as:

In the next handful of articles, we'll take a closer look at specific topics related to Blockchain and documents.

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