How Maharashtra will use Ethereum to verify documents

The Government of Maharashtra recently announced that it is partnering with LegitDoc, an Indian blockchain startup, to provide tamper-proof diploma certificates. The announcement comes not long after reports that the state government was using the Polygon Network to track the results of RT-PCR tests. 

As computer graphics become more advanced, it becomes easier to forge paper-based documents. Naturally, this is a problem for a bureaucracy where most processes are still conducted with manual verification – which is often cursory at best. 

Solutions like the government’s DigiLocker are a step in the right direction. However, these are built on a centralized architecture – meaning that there is a single point of failure, no matter how securely protected. The past few weeks have been filled with headlines of how black-hat hackers have exploited these weaknesses to gain access to user databases. 

To counter the rise in forgeries, the Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development (MSBSD), along with LegitDoc, are using the Ethereum blockchain to implement a credential system. Once in place, this system will allow them to issue tamper-proof diploma certificates.

How does LegitDoc work?

There is legit tech behind LegitDoc, as their website proudly claims. The startup uses a patent-filed, proprietary algorithm built on Ethereum to issue and verify documents.

  1. Certificate documents are first generated as PDFs by the issuing body.
  2. Every PDF is assigned a unique ‘fingerprint’ by LegitDoc
  3. For a batch of certificates, one condensed fingerprint is generated
  4. This single fingerprint is uploaded on Ethereum Blockchain against the issuer’s public key
  5. A unique Ethereum-based Proof File is generated for each PDF.

Once this is done, the original PDF file and the corresponding proof file are compiled into a LegitDoc zip file. 

These files can now be shared outwards, and compared on a verification portal to confirm their authenticity.

What does this mean for India?

It’s interesting to note that this partnership goes directly against the anti-crypto sentiment we’d seen earlier in the year. 

In an exclusive statement with Cointelegraph, LegitDoc CEO Neil Martis said

“We have an active work order from the Government of Karnataka (Department of Information Technology and Biotechnology). We are in talks with the Government of Telangana (school education department) and the Higher & Technical education department of Maharashtra to implement LegitDoc for their student community.”

Mainstream private institutions, such as NIT Surathka and Ashoka University are also considering implementing similar solutions, Martis added.

If this pattern continues, we would see India placed as an early adopter of a fully-decentralized e-governance system for education. 

Just as we saw with Chainlink and Polygon, blockchain’s real-life applications are here to stay!

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