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(Exclusive Interview) How Can Digital Signatures Prevent Fraud in Online Transactions?



Ephemeral digital signatures are becoming increasingly essential in safeguarding online transactions against fraudulent activities.

In today’s digital era, where multitudes of products and services are available for purchase on the internet, the risk of fraudulent activities has also surged.

However, digital signatures provide a robust solution to mitigate this risk, offering a secure and reliable method for verifying the authenticity of electronic documents and transactions.

Ayesha Rashid explores the intricacies of digital signatures and how they play a crucial role in preventing fraud in online transactions, ultimately ensuring the security and trustworthiness of all parties involved with Shamsh Hadi, Co-Founder and CEO at ZorroSign.

Can you elaborate on how ZorroSign’s digital signature technology has evolved since its introduction in the ’90s, and how it has been adapted to address the ever-changing needs of government agencies and corporations?

Ten years ago, no one talked about blockchain for government agencies and very few corporations considered the technology for future applications. While blockchain was conceptualised in the early 1990’s, it was not until Bitcoin was created in 2008 that distributed ledger technology was considered viable for peer-to-peer networks.

Since Bitcoin’s arrival, however, the non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain—for immutable and transparent data storage, facilitating zero-trust transactions over the Internet, and securing records in a decentralized dataset—have grown, slowly at first, and more rapidly over the past few years.

For government agencies, for example, ZorroSign started supporting real estate title transactions with our blockchain-based platform in 2015. That early application, ensuring the digital security and immutability of real estate ownership records, was critical to winning over other government applications such as urban planning processes (approving drawings and schematics for public works), further title deeds and real estate purchase agreements, then procurement across non-real estate transactions. Blockchain’s transparency and immutable records make it the ideal technology as a single-source of trust for chain-of-custody processes, public or private sector.

The concept of providing a solution for “end-to-end flow of document signature ceremonies for any situation, any industry, any department” is ambitious. What are some of the key challenges ZorroSign has faced in achieving this goal, and how have you addressed them?

As deploying blockchain-based solutions is still so new to most organizations, we have found that taking a “bottom up” approach of proving our technology with specific processes is far more effective that trying to win a “top down” approach where senior management selects ZorroSign to fulfill all digital signature and document management needs.

For example, if an HR workflow is the problem—heavily manual process, complex approval workflow, multiple recipients to engage and execute agreements, etc.—ZorroSign will start by digitising that process for just that HR workflow.

Our data security platform integrates workflow approvals and version management, then managing communications for digital signatures and executing agreements, and then storing and tracking signed documents for ready reference, regulatory compliance, and legal enforceability.

By proving our solution with tactical, real-world processes, we gain credibility at organizations hesitant to deploy web3 technologies like blockchain and AI and earn their trust. ZorroSign so effectively digitizes important processes (delivering superior privacy, security, and data management) that we gain champions at the department-level, who then help us move up-the-stack into other departments and across our client organizations.

Can you explain in more detail how the advanced integration between ZorroSign and Provenance Blockchain enhances data security and privacy for users, particularly in industries such as healthcare, finance, and government?

Provenance Blockchain is a public, open source blockchain used by more than 70 financial institutions, banks, credit unions, fintechs, and DeFi brands to actively manage and transact real-world assets across capital markets, lending, and payments. Provenance has become one of the world’s largest blockchain networks with over $8 billion of financial assets under administration and $15 billion in supported transactions.

Our recent integration with Provenance now allows ZorroSign users to store digital document information—including signers, signatures, and transaction metadata—on the Provenance Blockchain and verify the immutability of that data on their blockchain via digital certificates with audit trails.

This advanced integration has opened the door for any financial institution using Provenance Blockchain to add the digital signatures, document management, identity-as-a-service, patented fraud prevention, and other technical capabilities of ZorroSign’s platform with the same trust they have in Provenance Blockchain technology.

Further, government regulators of financial services also can make the leap to blockchain-based data management, enjoying the data compliance they gain from both Provenance and ZorroSign to support their organizations and public service processes.

In healthcare, the emergency of electronic health records (EHRs) is driving demand for digital record management solutions that extend outside the healthcare provider organization and across organizations such as clinical research, remote providers and telemedicine, insurance processing, and more. While financial services are more quickly adopting blockchain solutions, we anticipate healthcare to be the next big industry making the leap.

How does the integration with Provenance Blockchain affect ZorroSign’s existing platform’s features, such as digital signatures, automated compliance, and document storage, and what benefits does it offer to users?

We have huge plans for continuing to integrate Provenance Blockchain across our platform.

Without giving away too much, I am excited to share that the ZorroSign development team is assessing the replacement of the global B2B wallet used for Provenance Blockchain transactions with individual user’s specific wallets. This could be a revolutionary step as it will achieve true data democracy:

Making sure that each user who signs the document will have his/her ownership of the transaction, and therefore the ownership of the document. This level of integration will not be quick, as it must resolve many technical and business flow challenges as a significant split from the familiar Web2 model, but mapping a path to wallet individualization is already under way.

Our development team also aspires to run the entire document-signing flow based on data contracts in Provenance Blockchain—storing the documents themselves in blockchain nodes. Such storage would deliver the highest security, integrity, authenticity for documents and give the full ownership of the document to the signed wallet owner.

While these future advancements are actively being pursued, I’ll be able to share a more specific timeline for their launch by 2024.

Could you provide examples of real-world use cases where the ZorroSign and Provenance Blockchain integration has made a significant impact in terms of data security and privacy for businesses and individuals?

While our customer details are proprietary, I can say that since our announcement of advanced integration with Provenance Blockchain the number of customers asking for this specific integration has been exciting! We anticipate an entire new market of ZorroSign users in the years ahead, as providing a public blockchain option and cross-chain solutions with our private Hyperledger Fabric blockchain is blue ocean for ZorroSign and grants us a unique position in delivering blockchain-base data services for corporations, governments, and individuals around the world.

Could you elaborate on how the Provenance Blockchain Foundation and ZorroSign are strategically aligned in their mission to modernise financial services and enhance data security?

Since forming a strategic partnership with Provenance Blockchain in early 2022, ZorroSign has been tightly aligned with Provenance’s mission to modernize financial services and enhance data security.

ZorroSign’s data security platform uniquely integrates key technologies such as process and document workflow management, digital signatures, AI/ML form fill, patented fraud prevention, user authentication, and document verification to help financial service organizations speed transactions, secure their customer’s data, and maintain regulatory compliance. As Provenance Blockchain was purpose-built for the financial services and insurance industry, ZorroSign’s technology and strategic alignment to financial service requirements have been key to our successful partnership.

The press release mentions “patented fraud prevention.” Can you provide more details on how ZorroSign’s platform addresses fraud prevention using blockchain technology, and what role Provenance Blockchain plays in this context?

One of ZorroSign’s core technologies is our Z-Forensics® token. This technology is defined by two U.S. patents—one methodology patent on hashing data and storing on blockchain, and a second patent on using the forensics token as a digital seal to reference the original document via blockchain records.

ZorroSign’s Z-Forensics token is a tamper and fraud-detection seal for digital documents—creating an unprecedented, immutable audit trail and complete chain-of-custody validation that:

1 – Proves the individual who is performing the action to sign the document is who they claim to be (verification).

2 – Applies a digital equivalent of a wet-ink signature to the document (legal intent).

3 – Proves the authenticity of the printed copy or digital version of an electronically signed document, its content, attachments, and the signatures on it (authenticity).

This revolutionary security system allows a validated user to create an electronic document, then allows one or more other users to complete and sign that document in a particular sequence—”the workflow”—all the while capturing the chain of custody and an audit trail of the changes made to the document by the parties in the workflow, such as recording key authentication, security and validation information when an action took place.

Unlike any other digital signature solution, ZorroSign seals all documents with our Z-Forensics token—capturing the complete audit trail and accompanying attachments and signature workflow. The token is encrypted and contains all the details about the transaction: Time stamps, user authentication, documents, and attachments.

With the increased adoption of digital signatures and document management, what are some challenges that ZorroSign has encountered, and how does blockchain technology help overcome these challenges?

The market and need for digital signatures are growing aggressively, but where digital records and transactions are stymied by privacy, security, or legal enforceability issues, blockchain technologies can help. Specifically, by providing a zero-trust framework for user authentication and document verification, blockchains bring the decentralized consensus strengths of cryptocurrencies to other digital processes, ensuring immutable records distributed across peer nodes.

At ZorroSign, we have found that by starting with blockchain technology, you open the door to leveraging other advanced technologies like microservice architectures, AI/ML, and decentralized data storage and management. This allows our platform to scale more quickly, and our customers to enjoy the benefits of these advanced technologies without suffering the growing pains of testing and implementing them individually.

Could you explain the role of identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) in ZorroSign’s data security platform, and how does it contribute to the overall security and privacy of digital documents and transactions?

At a basic level, Identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) platforms enhance online user experiences, secure access to critical enterprise applications, and reduce IT resource-related expenses with efficient identity and access management (IAM) and privileged access management (PAM).

At ZorroSign, we recognize that blockchain has the power to improve IDaaS’s solution’s data security by bringing the decentralized, cryptographically secured blockchain data architecture to identity management. Blockchain technologies help IDaaS solutions to eliminate one of the most glaring gaps in cybersecurity, as distributed ledger technologies provide two means of preventing the threat of ransomware attacks: First, by decentralizing the data set itself; and second, by giving endpoints a quick path to recovery, even if they are themselves breached and access ransomed.

ZorroSign delivers IDaaS to verify users several ways:

1 – ZorroSign technology leverages the biometric capabilities of hardware endpoints to verify user identity

2 – ZorroSign has adopted password-less login capabilities

3 – ZorroSign multifactor authentication (MFA) provides stronger security, as before a user can sign a document, our platform can validate multiple dimensions of authentication based on the transaction security needs: What you know (i.e., your ZorroSign login password), what you have (e.g., your laptop or mobile device), who you are (e.g., biometrics such as fingerprints or eye iris on the device securing who can access it), etc.

Additionally, ZorroSign users can use our dynamic knowledge-based authentication (KBA) feature provided by LexisNexis. KBA requires the knowledge of private information of the individual to prove that the person providing identity information is the actual person.

Together, this integrated set of technologies allows ZorroSign to provide unmatched privacy and security for our users. Our IDaaS capabilities augment our blockchain architecture to ensure users/signers are who they say they are and deliver trusted connections in a zero-trust environment.

Looking to the future, what are the potential developments and innovations we can expect from ZorroSign and its integration with Provenance Blockchain in the field of data security and digital document management?

As I hinted earlier, we have big plans for Provenance Blockchain and are excited to continue expanding our integration to change how financial service organizations manage their data. Our teams’ shared goals of a more secure, more seamless, and more efficient financial services ecosystem readily map to government, healthcare, law, real estate, even retail markets. As such, we are enthusiastic to launch new solutions and innovative technologies!

At ZorroSign, we have started an entirely new R&D team, focused solely on future functionality and exploring moonshot technologies, and are pulling more and more university resources from the United States and Sri Lanka into our technical teams. We believe the combination of our blockchain, AI, and patented technologies can democratize data around the world, giving individuals greater control of their personal information, and allowing them to share it as they need with privacy and security. We cannot wait to show you what comes next!


Emad Mostaque Steps Down as CEO of Stability AI



Emad Mostaque Steps Down as CEO of Stability AI

Emad Mostaque, the CEO of Stability AI, has decided to step down from his role at the startup that brought Stable Diffusion to life. Mostaque’s departure comes as Stability AI shifts its focus towards decentralized AI, a move that signals a new chapter in the ever-evolving artificial intelligence industry.

In a press release issued late on Friday night, Stability AI announced Mostaque’s decision to leave the company in order to pursue decentralized AI initiatives. Mostaque will also be stepping down from his position on the board of directors at Stability AI. This move paves the way for a fresh direction at the company, as they search for a new CEO to lead them into the next phase of growth and innovation.

The board of directors has appointed two interim co-CEOs, Shan Shan Wong and Christian Laforte, to oversee the operations of Stability AI while a search for a permanent CEO is conducted. Jim O’Shaughnessy, chairman of the board, expressed confidence in the abilities of Wong and Laforte to navigate the company through its development and commercialization of generative AI products.

Mostaque’s departure from Stability AI follows recent reports of turmoil within the AI startup landscape. Forbes had reported on Stability AI’s challenges after key developers resigned, including three of the five researchers behind the technology of Stable Diffusion. Additionally, rival startup Inflection AI experienced significant changes with former Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman joining Microsoft, leading to a talent acquisition by the tech giant.

Stability AI’s flagship product, Stable Diffusion, has garnered widespread use for text-to-image generation AI tools. The company recently introduced a new model, Stable Cascade, and began offering a paid membership for commercial use of its AI models. However, legal challenges around the data training of Stable Diffusion, highlighted by a pending lawsuit from Getty Images in the UK, have added complexity to the company’s operations.

As the AI industry continues to evolve and face challenges, Emad Mostaque’s decision to step down as CEO of Stability AI represents a significant shift towards decentralized AI models. This move sets the stage for a new era of innovation and exploration in the field of artificial intelligence, as companies strive to find the balance between commercialization and openness in developing advanced AI technologies.

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New NVIDIA H200 GPU Sets the Standard for AI Technology



New NVIDIA H200 GPU Sets the Standard for AI Technology

Just unveiled, NVIDIA is taking AI technology to the next level with its latest H200 GPU. This new class-leading chip builds upon the success of its predecessor, the highly sought-after H100, offering increased memory capacity and bandwidth for enhanced performance in generative AI and large language models (LLMs).

The H200 GPU boasts 1.4 times more memory bandwidth and 1.8 times more memory capacity compared to the H100, thanks to its utilization of the new HBM3e memory specification. This upgrade results in a significant bump in memory bandwidth to 4.8 terabytes per second and a total memory capacity of 141GB, surpassing the capabilities of the H100 with 3.35 terabytes per second bandwidth and 80GB memory capacity.

In a video presentation, Ian Buck, Nvidia’s VP of high-performance computing products, highlighted that the integration of faster and more extensive HBM memory in the H200 accelerates performance across demanding tasks, such as generative AI models and high-performance computing applications, while optimizing GPU efficiency.

The H200 is designed to be easily integrated into systems already compatible with H100 GPUs, ensuring a seamless transition for users. Cloud service providers like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle are among the first to adopt the new GPUs, with availability expected in the second quarter of 2024.

While Nvidia has not disclosed the pricing for the H200, previous generation H100 GPUs were estimated to range from $25,000 to $40,000 each, making them a significant investment for companies utilizing AI technology. Despite the introduction of the H200, Nvidia reassures customers that production of the H100 will continue uninterrupted to meet ongoing demand.

As the demand for AI technology continues to soar, Nvidia’s announcement of the H200 GPU comes at a crucial time for companies in need of cutting-edge computational power. With plans to triple H100 production in 2024 and the introduction of the H200, Nvidia is poised to meet the growing demand for GPUs tailored for generative AI and large language models in the coming year.

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PUDU Robotics Unveils Healthcare Robots at Aus Health Week 2024



Pudu Robotics (“PUDU”), the global leader in commercial service robots, is excited to announce its participation in the forthcoming Australian Healthcare Week (AHW), the biggest and most influential healthcare gathering in the southern hemisphere, scheduled for 20-21 March 2024. PUDU will be showcasing its comprehensive solutions at Booth No. 217. These solutions are meticulously designed to streamline processes and enhance efficiency, catering specifically to the needs of aged care and healthcare institutions.

Pudu Robotics will be participating in Australian Healthcare Week on March 20-21.

Australia’s aged care industry is grappling with a significant shortage of skilled care workers. As of 2023, the sector was short of 35,000 workers, with about 18,000 staff members having left the industry since August. This shortage is exacerbated by the country’s rapidly aging population. As of June 2020, there were an estimated 4.2 million Australians aged 65 and over, comprising 16% of the total population. The demand for aged care services is steadily rising, driven by an aging population and increased life expectancy. As this demand grows, it will place significant pressure on the existing workforce.

Conceived with a focus on human-robot collaboration, PUDU’s solutions aim to address all these concerns in Australia’s aged care sector. By freeing professional caregivers from repetitive, physically demanding tasks, these solutions enable them to devote more time to providing personalized care and attention to the elderly.

For instance, PUDU’s delivery robots, namely BellaBotSwiftBot, and FlashBot, are adept at facilitating meal delivery services from the restaurant to individual rooms. They are also capable of managing the delivery of general indoor items or daily medications, thereby conserving the time and energy of caregivers. This empowers caregivers to concentrate on more specialized nursing tasks, such as medical care or psychological support. It’s worth noting that FlashBot and SwiftBot come equipped with autonomous elevator-riding capabilities, rendering cross-floor deliveries a breeze.

Moreover, PUDU’s cleaning robot, CC1, caters to the stringent cleanliness standards of the medical care industry by offering real-time automated cleaning. CC1 boasts a four-in-one versatile cleaning system that includes sweeping, scrubbing, vacuuming, and mopping. This ensures that the floors are consistently clean, dry, and slip-resistant. It also provides real-time notifications and performance reports, detailing aspects such as cleaning time and area covered. Additionally, CC1 is capable of automatically charging, draining, and refilling water, thereby significantly enhancing cleaning efficiency. Its autonomous elevator-riding feature minimizes human intervention, rendering the cleaning process truly automated.

At the AHW, an array of PUDU’s innovations, including CC1, BellaBot, SwiftBot, FlashBot, and the large-screen version of PuduBot2 with advertising capabilities, will be on display. The booth will host a simulated elevator space, enabling visitors to gain an intuitive understanding of the robots’ autonomous elevator-riding abilities and experience the product performance firsthand. Key representatives from PUDU’s sales, technical, marketing, and PR departments will be present at the exhibition to share global case studies with attendees. Institutions interested in collaboration or media entities seeking more information are cordially invited to visit the booth for further details.

About Pudu Robotics

Pudu Robotics is a global leader in design, R&D, production, and sales of commercial service robots with over 70,000 units shipped in over 60 countries and regions worldwide. The company’s robots are currently in use across a wide variety of industries including restaurants, retail, hospitality, healthcare, entertainment, and manufacturing. Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Shenzhen, China, its mission is to use robots to improve the efficiency of human production and living. For more information on business developments and updates, follow PUDU on FacebookYouTubeLinkedInTwitter and Instagram.

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