The government of Alderney, the northernmost of the Channel Islands, is experimenting with a blockchain-based online timestamping service through a project called MetroGnomo, live since 1 January 2016.
The experimental timestamping service utilizes the ChainZy mutual distributed ledger technology developed by London think-tank Z/Yen.
Professor Michael Mainelli, Executive Chairman of Z/Yen explains:
“MetroGnomo’s ledger is the same type of technology used by cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple. These systems can also provide timestamping, but at costs ranging from US$0.07 to US$2.00 or so. MetroGnomo uses a novel approach to confirming timestamps that avoids these costs, ‘agnostic broadcasting’’ developed by Z/Yen Group. Because the costs are so low, MetroGnomo timestamping costs millionths of a penny or cent to provide.”
MetroGnomo emails free timestamps to any email. Users request a stamp identification in the form of a registration number, which can be used one or many times. Then, they submit either a piece of data or a computer file they want timestamped. MetroGnomo writes the timestamp onto an indelible computer ledger shared across multiple machines and returns a confirmation receipt. The confirmation receipt can be checked at any time in the future on any number of machines proving that the user had recorded such-and-such a file at a specific time.
Robert McDowall, Chairman of Policy & Finance Committee of States of Alderney comments:
“We believe that the support of the government of Alderney will lend assurance to those considering using a new timestamping service such as MetroGnomo. In offering this free trial of the global service for its first year, we are able to better evaluate the potential in the technology, gain user feedback and explore new areas for use.”
Like other blockchain technologies, there are a variety of potential uses for MetroGnomo. According to the London think tank, MetroGnomo use cases range from an insurance company coordinating the provision of products between counterparties in real time at low cost, to a security firm creating a mobile phone app for security guards to record their GPS location at specific times.
In a UK Government report February 2016, Mark Wolport, Chief Scientific Adviser to UK Government, stated, “distributed ledger technology provides the framework for government to reduce fraud, corruption, error and the cost of paper-intensive processes.”