What is Ethereum and why does Nottario use it?
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts. Smart contracts are applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.
At its simplest a smart contract is a computer programme that is programmed to execute certain tasks. With Ethereum, this programme is deployed to a decentralised network of computers and can then be made to execute its tasks if given the right instructions.
In its short history, Ethereum has become a popular platform for developing decentralised applications because it has proved to be resilient and flexible.
Although Ethereum is, like all other blockchain developments, still in its infancy, we think it has a bright future. It has an active and growing developer community and has already become an active ecosystem for the development of all sorts of interesting and potentially transformational applications.
In the case of Nottario, the smart contract is programmed to store information about the document that you have notarised. Information like the document's name, size, last modified date and, crucially its cryptographic (sha256) hash. You can read more on how Nottario works here.
This information can be accessed at any time to provide confirmation that the document in your possesion is the same as the one that was notarised at a given point in time.