Off-Blocks Launches US Government-Tested Digital Signature Service in Beta

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/digital-signature-concept-tablet-stylus-pen-1109553578Digital signature image via Shutterstock

Digital signature platform Off-Blocks is bringing its government-tested document verification tools to the public.

The company launched its digital identity mobile app beta Monday, according to CEO Colin Campbell, offering to the public some of the Factom blockchain-powered anti-forgery mechanisms the companies have been building for the U.S.'s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since November. The full platform is expected to go live in the coming weeks.

Off-Blocks public service seeks to infuse trust across digital file sharing. People and companies have an inherent need to authenticate any number of documents, Campbell said. While signing PDF contracts is perhaps the most well-known digital signature use-case, Campbell said that increasingly digitized workspaces and lives require more robust platforms.

Campbell said he built the file-agnostic Off-Blocks platform for the everyday, any-situation user that might need to verify a screengrab, a video or music file.

The big difference is you can sign any file in any format, however its presented two you, Campbell said. Imagine how you could interact with the digital world around you.

He said the service could be used by creators seeking to validate their digital rights and even car crash victims that need to provide photographic evidence to their insurance providers.

Campbell said hes positioning his service for wide adoption, in the belief that a second-layer solution is the "only way to bring [the] masses to blockchain."

Market realities dictated Campbells partnership with Factom. He could not afford to pay often high and volatile transaction fees associated with public blockchains like bitcoin and ethereum, he said, and many of his prospective clients balked at interacting with cryptocurrency, still untrusted in some enterprise circles.

If all goes according to plan, Off-Blocks first users will have no idea a blockchains involved.

You wont find a single mention of the word blockchain in the app, Campbell said. Its become a bit of a dirty word. (The beta does mention the term, though.)

Off-Blocks verified image by Daniel Nelson for CoinDesk

But that doesnt mean its not a valuable technology. Campbell saw no reason to burden everyday users with buzzwords; he does not consider himself a tech guy, and therefore believed that he had more to gain by staying quiet on the back-end complexities than attempting to educate a public still largely ignorant about blockchain.

Most applications now on a blockchain are built by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, trying to impress their mates, Campbell said.

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Tags: Blockchain, Colin Campbell, Off-Blocks, Digital signature, United States Department of Homeland Security, Software release life cycle, Document, Factom