Gordian Envelope Use Cases Overview

The Gordian Envelope Smart Document is a powerful new method of data storage and transmission that focuses on protecting the privacy of its contents through cryptographic functions such as signatures, elision, and inclusion proofs.

But what does that mean? Why would you use it? To answer these questions we’ve published a set of 24 use cases that not only demonstrate many innovative uses for Gordian Envelopes, but also show precisely how those Envelopes would be structured — because these use cases aren’t theoretical, but instead real possibilities with the current iteration of the Gordian Envelope specification.

Most of the following use cases are offered progressively: additional use cases build on earlier ones, expanding the fundamental ideas with new functionality in each example. (That functionality is listed as part of each use case’s name.)

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Educational & Credential Industry Use Cases

Educational use cases demonstrate how Gordian Envelope can transmit sensitive student information, including educational credentials.

Part One: Official Credentials

The first set of use cases demonstrates how recognized issuers can create and use credentials.

  1. Danika Proves Her Worth (Credentials, Signature) — Issuing authenticated credentials with Gordian Envelope
  2. Danika Restricts Her Revelations (Elision) — Using elision to allow a holder to selectively hide Envelope contents.
  3. Thunder & Lightning Spotlights Danika (Third-Party Repackaging) — Adding content to an existing Envelope & republishing it.

Part Two: Web of Trust Credentials

Individuals may instead want to create peer-to-peer credentials.

  1. Omar Offers an Open Badge (Web of Trust Credentials) — Creating a credential based on personal authentication.

Part Three: Herd Privacy Credentials

Another possibility for credential release is through large data dumps that allow the user to stay in control over whether they’re ever revealed.

  1. Paul Privately Proves Proficiency (Herd Privacy) — Creating highly private credentials.
  2. Paul Proves Profiency with Improved Privacy (Herd Privacy with Non Correlation) — Using design formats to improve herd privacy.
  3. Burton Bank Avoids Toxicity (Herd Privacy with Selective Correlation) — Avoiding toxic data by selective correlating unrevealed information.

Software Industry Use Cases

Software use cases demonstrate how the structure of Gordian Envelope can innovate procedures requiring signing, such as software releases.

Part One: Chained Signing

Gordian Envelopes can automate releases of data over time by creating and updating a root of trust within the Envelope.

  1. Casey Codifies Software Releases (Multiple Signatures, Structured Data) — Structuring release data and authenticating it with multiple signatures.
  2. Blockchain Everyday Confirms Casey (Repackaging Data, Third-Party Verification) — Adding additional levels of data verification by repackaging Envelopes.
  3. Casey Chains His Software Releases (Chained Data) — Using Envelope structure to automate the release of future data.
  4. Casey Checks Compliance (Attestation, Metadata) — Adding signed metadata to a structured data set.
  5. Casey Changes Up His Software Releases (Chained Changes) — Using structured data to announce changes in trust over time.

Part Two: Anonymous Signing

Authentication can be combined with elision to allow for signing that is pseudonymous yet validated.

  1. Amira Signs Anonymously (Anonymous Signature, Web of Trust) — Using a Web of Trust to verify a signature made pseudonymous through elision.
  2. Amira Reveals Her Identity (Progressive Trust) — Removing elision over time to gain reputation from previously published works.

Data Distribution Use Cases

Data distribution is crucial for a variety of use cases, from the supply chain to the medical industry. The use cases in this section take as an example the distribution of user data based on a WebFinger-like protocol, highlighting the advantages of building a privacy-first data structure.

Part One: Public CryptFinger

The most fundamental usage of Gordian Envelope is to publish verifiable data that is entirely public.

  1. Carmen Makes Basic Information Available (Structured Data) — Using Gordian Envelope to release structured data.
  2. Carmen Makes CryptFinger Verifiable (Signatures) — Adding authentication to allow for data portability.
  3. Carmen Adds Chronology to CryptFinger (Timestamp) — Easily expanding verifiable data with improtant metadata.

Part Two: Private CryptFinger

Building on the elision capabilities of Gordian Envelope can produce data that is not (initially) viewable by everyone, but which remains provable and ultimately releasable.

  1. Carmen Protects CryptFinger (Elision) – Eliding data for some viewers and not others.
  2. Carmen Makes CryptFinger Provable (Inclusion Proof) — Using inclusion proofs to purposefully allow selective correlation.
  3. Carmen Makes CryptFinger Progressive (Progressive Trust) — Building a progressive trust algorithm using selective correlation.

Part Three: Herd Private CryptFinger

A herd-privacy variant of CryptFinger’s design can allow users to maintain their privacy as much as they wish, as discussed in this overview.

Part Four: Data Distribution Advancements

There are many other options for cryptographic data distribution, building on signatures, provability, repackaging, and encryption permits, as is discussed in this further overview.

Financial Industry Use Cases

Although the financial industry can make many uses of Gordian Envelopes to preserve assets, these use cases concentrate on self-sovereign control of assets: how an individual can use Gordian Envelopes to make sure he doesn’t lose them.

Part One: Self-Sovereign Storage of Secrets

Envelopes can simply and securely store digital assets.

  1. Sam Stores a Secret (Secure Storage with Metadata) — Using metadata in an Envelope to increase the resilience of stored assets.
  2. Sam is Salty about Compliance (Non-Correlation) — Salting data to eliminate correlation dangers.
  3. Sam Gets Paranoid about Privacy (Wrapped Encryption) — Improving privacy at the cost of resilience.

Part Two: Raising Resilience of Restricted Results

However, resilience can be further improved with Gordian Envelope permits.

  1. Sam Gets Rigorous about Resilience (SSKR Permit) — Sharding keys to improve resilience.
  2. Sam Promotes a Partner (Multi-Permit) — Improving resilience through multiple permits.

The Common Thread of Use Cases

The first common thread among the use cases for Gordian Envelopes is the need for secure and privacy-enhancing solutions for transmitting and storing complex, sensitive data. Gordian Envelopes can help to prevent tampering or other security breaches and ensure that only verified, trustworthy data is transmitted. This can be particularly important in industries such as healthcare, finance, and government, where the verifiability of personal data is of utmost concern.

The second common thread is a focus on protecting human rights. The core value proposition of the privacy features of Gordian Envelopes cannot be overstated: through its support for selective disclosure and progressive trust, Gordian Envelopes allow for disclosure of only specific parts of the data, and only to authorized parties, ensuring that the privacy rights of individuals are respected.

The final common thread is diversity. Data stored in Gordian Envelope may be related to a wide range of industries, have cross-industry contexts, or cross international borders. It often involves diverse parties with different business models, risk models, and trust boundaries. When you have a diversity of users, requirements, and models, Gordian Envelopes can offer a flexible solution that allows different uses for different entities.