Imagine a will/testament set on a timer so that it is executed automatically upon the death of its creator. No, it is not as crazy as it sounds. Thanks to the blockchain, it is now possible.
Blockchain, one of the most important elements in Bitcoin technology is responsible for enabling Bitcoin transactions between peers. Blockchain is a glorified ledger in the Bitcoin network. Apart from playing a role in transactions, blockchain has other applications as well. Blockchain is extensively used in proof-of-existence platforms designed for various purposes. Some of the well-known platforms in this regard includes the namesake Proof of Existence, Bitproof, Astroblocks etc.
Bitproof and Proof of Existence are like public notaries that verify the authenticity of electronic files/documents. One can upload their documents on these platforms, once uploaded these documents are hashed and the information is included into the blockchain using OP_RETURN as a non-payment data. The hash generated will act as a reference tag that allows access to stored information. The similar concept is used in Astroblocks, but it is purposed towards scientific research and observation. Astroblocks includes additional features that enable review of scientific data by a panel of reviewers at a multi-sig address.
Blockchain Apparatus, a company based out of Denver has found a new application of blockchain that works with data available with the federal government database (especially from the US Social Security Administration). This new product makes self-executing wills possible. The product is linked to Social Security Office’s Death Master File, which is a ledger of sorts that keeps records of verified death reports. Anyone can choose to create a digital crypto-will with particulars of beneficiaries, terms of execution etc. Once the person dies, and his records appear on Death Master File, the will gets activated to be executed according to his/her wishes as mentioned in the document.
Crypto-will, being a new product still doesn’t have the whole process automated yet. Currently it works as a hybrid model involving technology and lawyers. Soon the company hopes to make it fully automated. As of now, Blockchain Apparatus as got one client who has signed up for the crypto-will service. There is no time limitations associated with crypto-will and the creator can set the will to be executed at any day and time of his choice.
The technology associated with Bitcoin is truly a game changer and we can expect more novel products based on it to hit the market soon. Meanwhile this crypto-will product stops the dead from turning in their graves in the near future.