Blockchain-Based Document Timestamping | Online Document Signing - Zoho Sign

Blockchain Timestamping

Available only in Enterprise Edition

Blockchain-based timestamping allows Zoho Sign to offer an additional measure of document verification, and publicly establish signer accountability. In this, a public decentralized blockchain captures the document signing event in the form of an entry and this is accessible to all and immune to change. Since the blockchain is, by design, resistant to tampering, this feature creates an immutable record of document integrity and non-repudiation. Presently, blockchain-based timestamping is done on the Bitcoin blockchain network through an integration with a third-party service called OpenTimestamps .

Note: 
  1. Presently available at no additional cost. May be subject to additional pricing in the future.

How does blockchain timestamping work in Zoho Sign?
Whenever a document is signed digitally using Zoho Sign, if blockchain timestamping is enabled, a timestamp request along with the document hash will be sent to the OpenTimestamp servers. The server aggregates these requests and records them periodically on the Bitcoin network by initiating a very small Bitcoin transaction and placing the aggregated information in the transaction block. Once this transaction block is committed to the blockchain, a proof is generated for the timestamp and mapped against the respective documents in Zoho Sign for independent verification.

Note:
  1. Documents that were blockchain timestamped prior to November 2021 were timestamped onto the Ethereum public blockchain.
  2. The steps to verify the timestamps of these documents are given at the end of this page.
  3. Zoho Sign no longer uses the Ethereum network for blockchain-based timestamping.

Will my document be exposed to the public with blockchain timestamping?
No, it will not. Only the hash of the signed document, in a modified format, is finally added to the public blockchain, and not the document itself. A hash is a unique, unintelligible, alphanumeric value generated by performing an algorithmic action on the contents and properties of the document as a whole. Hashing is a strictly one way, irreversible process. The signed and unsigned versions of the same document will generate different hash values. Adding the signed document's hash to the blockchain does not expose the document data or its contents to those accessing the blockchain.

How do I enable blockchain timestamping in Zoho Sign?

To enable blockchain timestamping:
  1. Hover over Settings in the left navigation panel on your Zoho Sign dashboard.
  2. Select Account settings under Admin from the dropdown menu.
  3. Click the Blockchain tab and toggle Blockchain time-stamping to ON.



How do I verify a document timestamp on the Bitcoin blockchain?

  1. Upon successful completion of all signing activity in a document, the status of its timestamp or associated transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain will be in the document details page.
  2. Typically, this Bitcoin transaction may take up to eight hours from the time of document completion to be completed depending on the length of the transaction queue at the time. During this period, the status of the transaction will show as PENDING on the document details page.


  3. Upon the completion of the Bitcoin transaction, the transaction block is added to the blockchain and the status of the transaction changes to SUCCESS in the document details page. Is transaction ID and transaction commit time, the associated document's sign completion time, and document hash (SHA-256)  can be viewed by clicking View more.



  4. For further verification, click the link icon in the transaction details box. This will take you to the website of the OpenTimestamps service, where you can view details such as the Bitcoin block ID where the aggregated document hashes were recorded.


  5. Click the Bitcoin block ID to view a list of the document hashes committed to the blockchain in that block.
  6. The hash of the current document should be present in the list.



How do I verify a document timestamp on the Ethereum blockchain? 

For documents completed prior to November 2021
  1. For documents with successfully completion of all signing activity, the status of the associated Ethereum blockchain transaction can be seen in the document details page.


  2. Click View more to see the details of the transaction. This displays the timestamp's transaction block commit time and transaction ID, as well as the associated document's sign completion time and document hash (SHA-256).


  3. For further verification, click the link icon in the transaction details box. This will take you to the Transaction Details page of the associated transaction on the Ethereum Blockchain Explorer website.


  4. Expand the Click to see more option to view the Input Data field. This field lists the aggregated document hashes, each separated by 0000, added to the data field of that transaction block.


How can I generate the hash of a document myself to compare with the hash from its blockchain timestamp?
You can generate the hash (SHA-256) for a signed document using any SHA-256 hashing tool. Alternatively, you can also generate the document hash from the terminal of your operating system using the following commands
  1. OpenSSL: openssl dgst -sha256 <filename>
  2. Windows: CertUtil -hashfile <filepath> SHA256
  3. MacOS: shasum -a 256 <filepath>
  4. Linux: sha256sum <filepath>
Once the hash has been generated, you can see if it matches the hash of the document retrieved from the blockchain transaction details. If the hashes match, then the signing of the document at the recorded time is taken to be verifiably true.


    Zoho CRM Training Programs

    Learn how to use the best tools for sales force automation and better customer engagement from Zoho's implementation specialists.

    Zoho CRM Training
      Redefine the way you work
      with Zoho Workplace

        Zoho DataPrep Personalized Demo

        If you'd like a personalized walk-through of our data preparation tool, please request a demo and we'll be happy to show you how to get the best out of Zoho DataPrep.

        Zoho CRM Training

          Create, share, and deliver

          beautiful slides from anywhere.

          Get Started Now


            Zoho Sign now offers specialized one-on-one training for both administrators and developers.

            BOOK A SESSION









                                      You are currently viewing the help pages of Qntrl’s earlier version. Click here to view our latest version—Qntrl 3.0's help articles.




                                          Manage your brands on social media

                                            Zoho Desk Resources

                                            • Desk Community Learning Series


                                            • Digest


                                            • Functions


                                            • Meetups


                                            • Kbase


                                            • Resources


                                            • Glossary


                                            • Desk Marketplace


                                            • MVP Corner


                                            • Word of the Day


                                              Zoho Marketing Automation

                                                Zoho Sheet Resources

                                                 

                                                    Zoho Forms Resources


                                                      Secure your business
                                                      communication with Zoho Mail


                                                      Mail on the move with
                                                      Zoho Mail mobile application

                                                        Stay on top of your schedule
                                                        at all times


                                                        Carry your calendar with you
                                                        Anytime, anywhere




                                                              Zoho Sign Resources

                                                                Sign, Paperless!

                                                                Sign and send business documents on the go!

                                                                Get Started Now




                                                                        Zoho TeamInbox Resources



                                                                                Zoho DataPrep Resources



                                                                                  Zoho DataPrep Demo

                                                                                  Get a personalized demo or POC

                                                                                  REGISTER NOW


                                                                                    Design. Discuss. Deliver.

                                                                                    Create visually engaging stories with Zoho Show.

                                                                                    Get Started Now









                                                                                                        • Related Articles

                                                                                                        • Aadhaar eSign for Indian businesses

                                                                                                          Available in all paid plans and India Data center This integration allows residents of India and non-residing Indian citizens to digitally sign a document using their Aadhaar. Documents signed this way are legally valid and carry a recognized form of ...
                                                                                                        • Accessing Zoho Sign from Zoho PeoplePlus

                                                                                                          This page lists the actions supported via Zoho Sign in the Zoho PeoplePlus bundle. This includes both the actions supported via native integrations between Zoho Sign and the products in the bundle and the actions accessible directly from the Zoho ...
                                                                                                        • Trusted Document Timestamping

                                                                                                          Available only in the paid plans Timestamping a document proves that the contents of the document existed in that form on that particular date and time so that no one can backdate the timestamp entries. It also marks the signature with date and time ...
                                                                                                        • Signing up with Zoho Sign to create or join an organization

                                                                                                          Note If you are a new Zoho user, you have to create a new Zoho account to access Zoho Sign and Zoho's other services. How to sign up with Zoho Sign Log in to your Zoho Account. Visit the Zoho Sign home page and click ACCESS ZOHO SIGN. If your ...
                                                                                                        • Checking the status of all the E-sign documents in Zoho People

                                                                                                          Available in all data centers. Administrators can find all the documents that has been sent for signature from within Zoho People in Operations > Files > E-sign Documents. This includes documents sent from all the Forms, Employee files, and ...
                                                                                                          Wherever you are is as good as
                                                                                                          your workplace

                                                                                                            Resources

                                                                                                            Videos

                                                                                                            Watch comprehensive videos on features and other important topics that will help you master Zoho CRM.



                                                                                                            eBooks

                                                                                                            Download free eBooks and access a range of topics to get deeper insight on successfully using Zoho CRM.



                                                                                                            Webinars

                                                                                                            Sign up for our webinars and learn the Zoho CRM basics, from customization to sales force automation and more.



                                                                                                            CRM Tips

                                                                                                            Make the most of Zoho CRM with these useful tips.



                                                                                                              Zoho Show Resources