The Problem

It is often difficult to prove a certain website existed in a certain state. The owners can edit their page at will, and easily claim that the saved snapshot of a website was tampered with. Screenshots are worthless evidence, as a simple right click and "inspect" allows anyone with some technical knowledge to fabricate perfect copies.

It is often interesting however, to preserve the state of a page you are interested in:

  • Alice bought something of the internet. The description clearly mentioned that the product was new, however she discovers that she received second-hand goods.
  • Alice experiences complications after plastic surgery. During investigations, it is discovered that the person in charge does not have the qualifications that were stated on their website.
  • Bob is active in local politics. He gets threatened repeatedly on social media, but the offenders take their posts down shortly after. The platforms are of no help, as Bob is simply not important enough for them to intervene.

Validating this is often hard:

  • Lawyering up is time-consuming, expensive and inconvenient.
  • Technical difficulties make it hard for the average user to properly document the state of a website

The Solution

We built a platform that automates the proof process, building upon the foundation of trusted law firms. Every law firm that participates is able to run a validator node that accepts proof requests from users all over the world. A user can request a proof simply by entering the URL of the website they'd like to archive, or clicking a single button in his browser using our chrome extension. The proof is generated automatically and can be downloaded afterwards. It is tamper-resistant, simple and proofs that all the validator nodes have seen the website in a specific state. This is guaranteed using cryptographic signatures. The state can be viewed and compared to the current version of the website, making differences easy to spot.

As the proof is cryptographically secured and generated by reputable validators, it can also be used as important evidence in court.

Business Case

Simple: Let validators charge for their service, while we take a cut for every provided proof. Due to the highly automated nature, low over-head and easy onboarding for validators (only a private-public key-pair is needed), participation is extremely easy and the validators can offer the service to their clients.

Business Opportunity

The business opportunity is on two levels:

Level One: Foundation / Platform Operator

They run the platform, marketing and drive people towards. They also audit validators to increase the trust in the platform.

Opportunity: They get a cut of every single validation request.

Level Two: Legal Firms

They run a node and add trust to the platform by securing the platform and add reputation with their name.

Opportunity: They get a cut of every validation request they process.

Features

  • Automatically create and distribute a proof request with a simple click
  • Receive a proof file that can then be validated anytime in the future
  • Validates Content
  • Validates Time
  • Trusted validator request the same page parallel from different locations in the internet
  • Diff-View allows for easy comparison of the proofed website versus the current state
  • Proofs are tamper-resistant and cannot be manipulated by any party

Technology

Our validator nodes are highly optimised pieces of codes, being able to run on Cloudflare Worker, AWS Lambda or Cloud Functions. This way, the deployment of new validator nodes is very simple, cheap and fast.

  • Vue.js
  • Serverless / Cloudflare Workers
  • Google Chrome Extension

Scaleability

Currently we have deployed our workers as Cloudflare Serverless Worker. Therefore we are currently distributed in 165 datacenters all arround the world: datacenters

Challenges we ran into

  • Being only two people, we had to keep the scope realistic
  • HTML crawling and parsing
  • Including images in the proof

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Embedding images into the proof
  • Simple setup of validator nodes
  • Cryptographic proof

What we learned

  • Legal challenges
  • a lot about cloud workers

What's next for Veritas

We go for the triple F of course ;)

  • Founding
  • Funding
  • Fortune 500

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