Trusted Workflows are both a set of digital tools from Stratumn as well as a philosophical and pragmatic approach to efficiently use technology to help businesses and individuals collaborate.
Who trusts the data in a database?
Imagine a scenario where multiple business partners are involved in a common process. Perhaps in this scenario there's a retailer, a manufacturer, a delivery service, a customer and a payment provider. Between these participants there's a common workflow where each step must be recorded in a database.
The retailer must confirm payment from the client. The manufacturer needs confirmation from the retailer to ship. The client must confirm the delivery of the item. Finally, on top of the process the payment provider must deliver the payment.
A common approach to building this system involves each participant writing their own database application and sharing the data through APIs. Steps of the workflow are implemented by different participants. Each participant is responsible for their own part of the process.
In this scenario, each participant can only trust their own local database. This challenge leads to a complicated situation in which redundant code and data has to be maintained in different places. Furthermore, periodic reports, paper copies and expensive audits are needed to verify the process.
As it turns out, it's really difficult to build a trustworthy system between multiple partners.
Enterprise, Meet Blockchain
With the advent of the bitcoin blockchain, we have seen the growth of a reliable source of trust. This statement is supported by the fact that a single Bitcoin is worth over $500 today.
At its essence, the bitcoin blockchain is a repository of reliable facts. Each fact has a set of common elements: date/time, digital signatures, and a set of instructions regarding transactions. Bitcoin was designed to do this one thing very well, and has succeeded in unprecedented fashion and is now by far the largest computational network on earth.
Bitcoin’s capacity as a storehouse of facts opens an immense opportunity for us to leverage it in the enterprise. In the prior imaginary scenario, we could use the blockchain as our reliable source of facts to build a shared workflow that can be trusted.
But bitcoin itself is just the beginning. To make this powerful technology available to the enterprise, we need to rethink how we build our applications.
General Use Case
A good way to understand Trusted Workflows is to ask several questions about the nature of an organizational process to determine if it is a suitable use case:
- Is there a database to share?
- Is there a lack of trust between partners?
- Is there a common workflow?
- Can we reduce complexity around third party interactions in the workflow?
- Are there business decisions that rely on workflow data?
If the answer is to all these questions is “yes,” then there is a situation in which a Trusted Workflow can be applied.
Trusted Workflows consist of shared business logic, Chainscript, and a blockchain.
Chainscript records the state of the workflow and provides provides an immutable audit trail of facts in the form of cryptographic proofs on a blockchain.
A blockchain has the ability to immutably store small amounts of data – plenty of space to store cryptographic proofs. Once a proof has been stored and verified in the blockchain, it can be thought of as digital fossil – a permanent dated record of a past event.
New Features and Tools
Stratumn is committed to creating the best possible tools to assist businesses and developers with applying Trusted Workflows. These tools offer real-time visibilty and management of cryptographic notarization processes, are easy to integrate into existing systems through a standard REST API, and offer several key features that empower business processes.
Cryptographic Audit Trails
Go beyond primitive data logging and create secure audit trails of your business processes and operations without risk of falsification and manipulation.
Separation of Proofs from Data
Generate realtime proofs of your systems and share them with your business partners, regulators and customers without exposing private and sensitive information.
Self-Evident Contractual Proofs
Engage in contractual relationships with your business partners and fulfill them by providing the cryptographic proofs derived from Trusted Workflows and Proof of Process.
Tokenization of Any Process
Any step of your process can be tokenized and used to verify the integrity of all the previous steps, helping to automate your relationships with regulators and auditors.
Customizable Proof Taxonomy
Using a flexible and customizable schema system, all your proofs can be organized and scoped to your unique proof system.