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Lock in Proof, Unlock Trust: Securing All Critical Commerce With Proof

Everything from notarization to identity-assured eSign, all in one platform.
Darren Louie
December 19, 2023

As the world goes digital, it’s becoming increasingly common that you will never physically meet your customer in person, they could even be fraudulent or completely fake. And as software and AI is suddenly capable of creating life-like content, it’s never been harder to discern who created what, and if what you hold is authentic. We’re approaching a crisis in confidence. When it’s possible to spoof any person’s identity or easily falsify business records, commerce and society will come to a screeching halt. The world runs on trust and, in this digital age, trust is getting harder to come by.

These are not new issues, just today’s versions of a centuries old problem - how do we create trust in society? 

For centuries, we’ve solved this problem with notaries who verify your identity and create a legal record. A notarization is proof that your signature was not forged and that you really signed it. This record becomes legally binding and self-validating, meaning that anyone can rely on it without any further evidence. Notarizations create trust in our world today. 

Without trusted records, county recorders would be unable to transfer land rights when a property is sold - your home could be sold out from underneath you. Wealth advisors would be unable to make decisions on your behalf - clients could deny that they approved, upending the entire industry. Doctors would be unable to trust the power of attorney granting your partner rights to make decisions to save your life - you’d suffer waiting for the courts to decide if you’d get the care you need. 

Put simply, society can’t function without trusted records.

This is why we pioneered the remote online notarization category and created Notarize, giving people instant access to create trusted records. Notarize is accessible, easy to use, and more secure than what was ever possible on paper. The first ever mortgage to close virtually, the first online auto sale, the first will to ever be signed online - were all performed on Notarize. We’ve served millions of customers, and we’ve had an incredible impact. Notarize has secured more than $185B in real estate closings and accelerated our business customers’ operations by more than 34 million days. We’ve helped companies save more than 15K hours per year and up to $110 per transaction.

It’s always been our mission to bring trust to every agreement. In order to do that, society will need reliable infrastructure to emerge; a platform that combines auditable identification with cryptographic evidence. It might not have been obvious, but that’s exactly what we’ve been doing at Notarize for the past 8 years.

That’s why today, we’re announcing Proof, the world’s first identity-assured transaction management platform.

With Proof we’re solving this century old problem, one that nobody else has dared to do before. We are digitizing trust for all the critical commerce that powers our economy.

Signatures are not enough, you need Proof

When risk is low and speed matters, get it signed. When the law dictates it, get it notarized. When trust matters, you need Proof. 

We are introducing NIST IAL2 compliant signatures called Proof. It’s a new type of transaction where auditable identification meets a digital signature. A strong form of identification, combined with biometric verification, creates a level of security that meets national security standards. 

Anybody can click on an email and sign. With Proof, signatures are backed by strong identification which makes it harder for somebody to forge your signature. Today you will use Proof to sign documents, tomorrow you will use Proof to secure all interactions with your customers. Use it to collect wire information or to approve critical account changes. This is trust in the digital world, where every interaction can be cryptographically secured so trust cannot be forged.

Notaries unlock decentralized trust

Humans will always be the center of trust, not AI. Automated machine learning and AI will have points of failure, and businesses will need to verify an identity with humans they can trust. Notaries are trusted agents of the state who are trained to verify identities and record transactions. For centuries they have been trusted with this responsibility, and in the digital world it will be no different. With Proof, our IAL2 verification can step up to real humans when trust is at risk. We are launching a unique meeting experience that connects your customers to the Notarize Network, so notaries can verify someone’s identity without having to perform a notarization. Notaries will meet with your customers live, and face to face, to perform IAL2 identity verification as a trusted referee. 

An enterprise will never sufficiently achieve identity verification at scale without humans in the loop. This failover to a human process has created a huge burden on businesses. This often leads to long wait times or a backlog of customers waiting for a business to manually review identity. We have perfected this experience with the Notarize Network. Today customers connect with a notary in less than a second, there are no long wait times. This requires zero scheduling and customers can sign at their convenience because the network is truly on demand. Because the Notarize Network is available 24/7 and 365 days a year, notaries can provide that human in the loop at enterprise scale. The future of decentralized trust relies on the scale and sophistication of the Notarize Network.

Fraud prevention at the core

When you pay for something today, payment processors are monitoring every credit card swipe for fraud and risk. Arguably the use of your signature carries even higher risk; you could lose your home or your life savings. We believe that every time you sign on the dotted line, your signature and identity should be protected as well.

For all the things you sign, Proof is the only platform that helps prevent your signature from being forged. Whether a document requires a basic signature or a notarization, Proof monitors the risk for fraud in every transaction. When a signature looks suspicious the transaction is flagged for review. With Proof, businesses will have fraud signals and enriched identity data on every transaction. This is how forgery is prevented in the digital world. Once we go digital, nobody is going to go back to trusting pen and paper.

Lock in Proof, unlock trust

It’s not enough to have a document with a signature, it needs to be backed by auditable identification and cryptographic evidence. We’re excited to announce that Enhanced Signer Identification will be available across the entire platform for every transaction including notarizations. This additional evidence provides an audit log about the identity, not just the transaction. It will include evidence of the signer’s location, device fingerprint, public records and scan of their ID and data about that person in public records. 

That auditable identification is then fused to the document via heavily guarded cryptographic keys. This creates a cryptographic digital signature on every document which can’t be forged or tampered with. Now you know who signed the document not just by looking at what’s printed on the face of the document, but by looking at the unique set of bytes. Your identity could be cryptographically bound to any medium in the future: a web form, user generated content, or even just a transmission of data. The same application of PKI (public key infrastructure) is how computers trust each other on the internet. We’re taking that same concept to make it possible for humans to trust each other online.

A Smart Trust Platform

If a contract isn’t properly signed and legally binding, can it be trusted at all? Businesses do not need AI to understand the contents of an agreement that was generated by their own system. Instead, they need to understand all the rules which are governed by state/federal law, regulatory requirements, industry acceptance and the risk in critical agreements. In short, they need to be certain that they can trust the person signing and that it was legally executed. Every agreement has different rules for how it should be signed. In most states a deed to a property requires a notarization; but in FL, a notarization with an additional witness is required.  , Having businesses try to understand all these rules becomes a huge burden.

Our Smart Execution Engine already understands how to perform a notarial act in every state we support. In real estate, our platform takes into consideration the state law, county recording rules and underwriting policies to make recommendations on how to execute the document so that it’ll be legally accepted by all parties. 

More broadly, our platform today can recognize certain documents and recommend that the user provide a secondary form of ID, route documents to notaries in specific states or prompt for signatures from additional witnesses. In the future our Smart Execution Engine will take company risk and compliance policies as another input into the decision. Businesses will be able to decide when to use basic eSign, notarization or a Proof all on one platform. 

Customers have told us loud and clear, they don’t want to hire an entire legal team to manage the product and technology, and with Proof we’re delivering on that promise.

Built to the highest standard of trust and security

Society already has reliable infrastructure and systems to transfer money. These systems were built with the highest grade of security and reliability. The infrastructure that you use to sign critical agreements in life should be held to the same high standards. 

Coming soon, we will achieve NIST IAL2 certification for our identity verification technology. This allows Proof to serve transactions that have specific regulatory requirements around identity verification. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Association requires the use of NIST IAL2 verification in order to electronically sign odometer disclosures. To help stop the opioid crisis, the DEA has mandated IAL2 verification for any clinicians that are prescribing controlled substances. We have seen more industries (from real estate to financial services) gravitate towards the NIST standards because developing their own identity standards is fraught with problems..  

Later this year we will be issuing AATL compliant digital certificates for all notaries on our platform. This alleviates notaries from having to procure their own certificate that is used to cryptographically seal every notarization. An agreement notarized on Proof will be self-verifying and secure. You can trust that the signature has not been tampered with when you see that green checkmark in Adobe Reader. No other platform will perform notarizations to this level of security. It requires FIPS 140 Level 2 compliant hardware and a certified WebTrust audit, but we’ve always chosen to do things with the highest level of integrity. This is how we put society’s trust in our signatures.

The future with Proof

We are excited to announce a ton of new innovation with Proof, but we have aspirations to go beyond what we have delivered today. 

In the future, every consumer will have a Proof verified identity. Any time a person sells a home, buys a car, applies for a loan, or signs an important agreement in life, they will do it all with Proof. Because of that, it’s possible that we already know your customer before they get to your business. We will tell you if you can trust this signature or if it looks like fraud. With trust you can establish relationships quicker, without asking for all the same information again which introduces friction. We will use biometrics to unlock an identity and cryptographically sign everything from documents to data. And ultimately we will make it easier for customers to do business with you because trust will be instantaneous. This is the future of trust in the digital world. 

Welcome to the start of an exciting new journey. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing more stories from our customers and the technology that we’re building. 

For more immediate information please visit the following resources or reach out to our team.

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