With countries worldwide beginning to recognise the use of blockchain technology in the law of evidence, timestamping is an increasingly valuable complement to the retail and e-commerce industry to provide protection to both consumers and vendors in the event of disputes as and when terms and conditions are updated.
iTNews Asia speaks with Frank van Dalen, Partner at Wordproof to find out more about the benefits and challenges of implementing timestamping across industries.
iTnews Asia: How does timestamping help in ensuring accountability and transparency as a means of introducing an equal playing field between sellers and buyers alike?
Timestamping is built on blockchain technology, and the decentralised nature of this ensures accountability and transparency on all sides. For instance, when we talk about online businesses, integrating timestamping into product pages helps customers ensure the information they’re given about the product they’d like to purchase is up-to-date. These can also be automated, ensuring timestamps are updated as soon as information is modified. Sellers are upfront about any product changes, and buyers are aware of these changes from the get go. Not only does this keep businesses accountable, it also creates a layer of trust between buyers and consumers.
iTnews Asia: What are the benefits of introducing timestamps for organisations, and what are the challenges faced when implementing it?
Ease is a big benefit for organisations when it comes to timestamp implementation. Gone are the days of manual updates as timestamping can be programmed to automatically update when content is modified. This takes one more thing off the to-do list for businesses, and ensures human error is kept to a minimum.
Aside from ease, the transparent nature of timestamping can do wonders for removing customer doubts. Being transparent about any changes to product terms or business terms and conditions can help organisations maintain healthy relationships and strengthen trust with their existing customers. By preventing conflicts from happening, organisations can ultimately save on both time and money spent on legal action.
Soon, we’ll also see timestamps integrated in the first search engines. What this means for organisations is that timestamps will soon play a role in shaping SEO results.
There is a strong sense of distrust across the Internet, be it on social media platforms or on news sites. In Asia, misinformation has been a long-standing issue, exacerbated during the pandemic. Timestamping can play an integral role in putting an end to the spread of misinformation.
-Frank van Dalen, Partner, Wordproof
iTnews Asia: What are the awareness and adoption levels like in APAC? Do we need to continue to educate the market? What are some situations whereby timestamping helped to overcome issues? Are such issues only limited to the retail and e-commerce industry?
Timestamping in Asia is still in its infancy in the retail and eCommerce sectors, but we’re seeing more adopt this to fight misinformation and create a safer Internet. We’re at the crucial stage of educating more businesses about its benefits, and have seen just how powerful it can be in the other regions we operate in.
That said, the need for transparency carries well beyond retail and eCommerce. There is a strong sense of distrust across the Internet, be it on social media platforms or on news sites. In Asia, misinformation has been a long-standing issue, exacerbated during the pandemic. Timestamping can play an integral role in putting an end to the spread of misinformation.
Not only does timestamping show readers when content is modified, it can also tie content creators to a timestamp through tier levels. This way, publishers are able to bump up only the most trustworthy content from trusted creators. Readers also have the power to deny reading content from creators below a certain tier level. This prevents misinformation from going viral and protects readers from its damaging effects.
iTnews Asia: How does monitoring timestamps differ from following digital paper trails to resolve conflicts regarding terms and conditions?
Digital paper trails provide proof of when and how changes are made to a document, and timestamps are often part and parcel of this process. When even the smallest change in a document is made, a hash is created on the blockchain and this cannot be altered or removed.
When combined with a decentralised approach, this prevents any single entity from altering data without this alteration being noticed. This goes for even the creator or owner of the information within the document - any edits they make will be recorded.
When it comes to solving conflicts around terms and conditions, timestamping technology creates a roadmap of a series of events. When conflicts surrounding terms and conditions occur, both customers and businesses have access to indisputable proof of terms thanks to this tech. Aside from building trust, timestamping also prevents customer-business conflicts as terms and changes are written in black and white.