DocuSign and Blockchain

Connect your System of Agreement to blockchain technology

The blockchain technology wave

Blockchain technology is causing a wave of innovation, and DocuSign has been there from the beginning. In 2015, we collaborated with Visa on one of the first public prototypes of a blockchain-based smart contract. Today, we are a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, collaborating with other industry leaders to define and deliver blockchain-based solutions.

Write evidence to a blockchain

At our Momentum conference in June 2018, we announced an integration with the Ethereum blockchain. It allows evidence of a DocuSigned agreement to be automatically written to Ethereum. For customers who want evidence of agreements to exist in a neutral environment, not owned by any particular entity, this solution is ideal. Anyone with a copy of the agreement can check it against the blockchain-stored evidence to verify the copy’s integrity against the original DocuSigned file. For privacy and security, the evidence is a one-way cryptographic hash (like a digital fingerprint) of the original. The content of the original is never written to the blockchain or exposed publicly, and the one-way cryptographic hash cannot be used to work backwards to recreate the original.

Identify signers via blockchain-stored credentials

Many research projects and startups are exploring blockchains for distributed identity management. This would allow individuals to control and selectively share the definitive record of who they are. DocuSign’s Trust Service Provider model is perfect for integrating any blockchain-based identity providers that gain traction. They will become additional options for authenticating a signer.

Blockchain-based smart contracts

DocuSign’s vision has always been to make paper agreements digital and, ultimately, make them smart. A smart contract turns a contract into something like a computer program. The Internet-connected program monitors data and triggers actions relevant to the contract’s terms. For example, a crop-insurance smart contract might use a trusted Internet feed of weather data. If the temperature near a farm is hotter than a pre-defined level for three days in a row, the smart contract will automatically trigger a crop-insurance payout, again via the Internet. This total automation eliminates ambiguity and promises large savings in time and effort for all parties involved.

Although the field of smart contracts is still emerging, and a blockchain is only one of many ways to enable smart contracts, blockchain technology is catalyzing interest in smart contracts. Having been one of the earliest participants in the field, DocuSign welcomes this interest and is continuing to work at the forefront of research into commercializing smart contracts.