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KeeeX, the startup that enables document certification

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Solutions making it possible to verify people’s identity are going to be widespread


The increase in deep fakes, fraud and cybercrime is making data certification essential. An ecosystem of innovation has formed around several major key players and startups. One of these, French startup KeeeX, has developed a digital document certification and traceability solution, as well as internal business processes. Meet its founder, Laurent Henocque, a computer science researcher.

How did your startup, KeeeX, come to be?

Originally, the idea was to turn any type of document into an “augmented” file via technical metadata and proofs of integrity, identity and date, a file whose cryptographic fingerprint could be anchored, or not, in the blockchain. Our added value lies in the fact that the proofs are self-supporting.

Meaning?

Today, data protection is carried out through costly and extremely complicated infrastructures. Files are stored in digital safes or cryptographic pipes. A “KeeeXed” file, for its part, can be stored in a ‘”cardboard box”, i.e. an economical “object” storage system, such as the cloud or a company’s disks for example. I must add, and this is another added value, that we are not a trusted third party: if KeeeX were to disappear, it would be possible for anybody to verify the authenticity of a “KeeeXed” file.

Trust is one of the major issues of digital. What does blockchain technology bring? In what way is it a breakthrough?

Today blockchain is the most robust technology. It is a tsunami at the industrial level because it enables parties to enter into contracts without having to trust one another, in the end, and to dematerialise documents and processes that it was impossible to dematerialise previously in sectors such as marine logistics, where the level of digitalisation is still low. This leads to considerable returns on investment.

With blockchain, the business-customer relationship gains in trust insofar as its implementation provides the customer with the assurance they will access information knowing that the company cannot have cheated. The key element is to guarantee that no one, at any time, can have altered data or produced counterfeits.

In the area of food traceability, for example, we use the KeeeX technology combined with the blockchain for the Bonjour Le Bon company, thus enabling its customers to obtain verifiable information on the origin and quality of the products they buy. All of the actors in the supply chain can contribute and the system guarantees that the information we have in front of our eyes comes from authenticated parties and contains unalterable proofs of its integrity.

Your certificate of authenticity enables users to verify the integrity of files and the identity of their authors, but also to take back control of their own data by making them unalterable. Will this type of solution be developed in the coming years for consumer use?

I’m convinced it will be. Solutions making it possible for example to verify people’s identity, to ensure that our contact person (on a social network, the sender of an email, etc.), really is the person we think they are, are going to be widespread. More and more technical tools will be used but probably go unnoticed, without people realising or knowing what technology is behind this.

For example?

Today, most insurance companies ask their policyholders to take photos in the event of a claim. The need for photos to have legal value is increasing with fraud technologies on the rise. It’s for this reason that at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in 2017, we presented Photo Proof, a solution giving probative value to photos. It enabled users to take certified, geolocated, timestamped photos that were anchored in the blockchain, for use during an entry inspection, car hire, or car accident. Unfortunately, this consumer market offering did not work out as we had hoped so we decided to stop it.

But today there is a B2B version…

Yes, Photo Proof pro facilitates remote audits and enables organisations to collect photos, videos, signatures, summary documents, etc., without the need to send staff on site. This was a request from the UEFA Foundation for children, which, as an NGO, must justify the correct use of its funds and therefore has high audit requirements. Sending an auditor to a foreign country, in particular one that is at war, is extremely costly at between 10,000 and 20,000 euros, which limited the number of projects it could fund.

You have signed several major contracts with some large French groups, in particular in the area of logistic traceability and dematerialisation of company documents…

Yes, indeed. We are working notably with the SNCF (the French national railway company) on the management of personnel authorisation documents, which is an important issue for the company. These documents, which can be controlled at any time, are numerous. At SNCF, any staff member can have up to four authorisations that can be renewed every year, so it is a question of hundreds of thousands of files. This partnership is exemplary of what KeeeX is offering to do, that is to process very large volumes of confidential documents that have no need to be hosted outside of the company, and even less so on foreign servers.

Furthermore, we have an indirect sales strategy in that we seek to work with industry partners who are likely to implement our technology in a practically invisible way for their clients. We have for example established a partnership with ePressPack (who offer solutions for the digitalisation of press and public relations) to whom we have delivered a back-end solution called KeeeX Fusion, which they have integrated into their own platform since 2019 and that enables them to create “KeeeXed” press releases for their professional clients.

What are the next steps for your company?

We are in a growth phase and wish to develop in several areas. One of these areas is the isolated document: photos, but also diplomas, wage slips, very long-life documents that must be stored securely for a long time. Yet the legal value of these documents can last for several decades, or even longer for files containing technical information in processes relating to buildings within the BIM (Building Information Modelling) framework, the digital twin of building.


Solutions making it possible to verify people’s identity are going to be widespread


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