As the international supply chain becomes increasingly complex, the risk of fraud and crime slipping through undetected grows in tandem. This poses immense risks to both the Australian population and the economy.
One key strategy to address this challenge is the digitisation of trade processes. Using cryptographically secured trade documents and identity verification methods drastically increases the difficulty of forgery. This enables regulators to automate what are currently laborious compliance verification processes.
However, a significant challenge posed by the digitisation of cross-border processes is interoperability. International supply chains are comprised of many parties with varying levels of technical maturity and differing legal frameworks. This makes it difficult to implement any solution if it mandates that all parties must participate.
Decentralised Identifiers (DID) and Verifiable Credentials (VC) specified by the W3C offer a clever solution. They are cryptographically secure and instantly verifiable versions of traditional IDs and credentials. VCs can be issued to DIDs much like a passport is issued to a citizen.
Combined with the Open Attestation framework, this solution is compatible with all levels of digital maturity, enabling asynchronous adoption. This is done by simply printing QR codes onto existing paper documents, allowing a party to scan it if they choose, but not requiring it. Documents issued this way are cryptographically trustworthy and can be verified independently.
After a successful proof of concept between Australia and Singapore in which Certificates of Origin were issued with VCs, the Australian Border Force (ABF) opted to expand the initiative. This expansion covered many more use cases, including Declarations of Origin, CITES permits and VI-1 wine certificates.
To facilitate this, GoSource built the Digital Verification Platform, using Node/React and the Open Attestation library released by the Singaporean government.
This platform enables the ABF to place a digital ‘stamp’ (VC) on all documents it issues, which any third party can immediately verify as authentic. It also serves as a tool for the ABF and third parties to perform VC verification.
Finally, to assist in the global uptake of VCs, GoSource contributed its work to UN/CEFACT in the form of the VCKit. VCKit is open source software that enables other nations to easily implement VC creation and verification tools.
- Australian Border Force
- Six months
- Design and delivery of a web application and open source software
- GoSource delivered a platform allowing the ABF to generate and verify secure digital credentials, and provided its expertise to the UN to expedite global uptake of the technology.
- A More Secure Border Documents can be verified faster and more reliably, leading to more seizures of illegal goods and a safer Australia.
- Multi-Purpose While the platform was built for the ABF’s particular needs, it could be used by almost any issuing authority.
- Global Collaboration Open source software empowers worldwide integration of this technology by lowering the cost of development.