Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
If you have any questions about the Smartefact platform, digital identity or blockchain, we have compiled the answers to the most frequently asked questions. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our FAQ section below, feel free to contact us.
What is Smartefact?
Smartefact is a digital identity platform that allows to create a decentralised digital identity for an artwork in the blockchain, and facilitate both the authentication of the artwork and the management of collections.
What is EmerCert?
EmerCert is a protocol for storing trust data for data and objects, whose representations are stored in the blockchain. It allows you to build tagged hierarchical trust structures and calculate trust for certain nodes based on tags. The objects of the system are records of the name-value storage (NVS) stored in the blockchain. Read more about EmerCert HERE.
Where can I download the Smartefact mobile App?
What types of Artwork are supported?
The Smartefact system supports all kinds of artwork, but it is mostly used for paintings and photographs, either in physical form or in digital form.
How do I register Artwork?
For the moment, the registration is not independent as we must ensure that the chain of trust about the publisher of the artwork is valid. To request artwork registration or to try Smartefact, you simply submit the form on this page. But our objective is a decentralised system where artwork is published independently from us. Once a publisher is verified (for example an art gallery or a museum, or an auction house), then it is given a certificate of trust, which allows it to register artwork by themselves, because the publisher is a trusted party. We provide a set of tools to create records in blockchain and program NFC tags accordingly.
How are assets created?
The data about the art object is placed as a record in the blockchain. This ensures data immutability, timestamp authenticity, and decentralised access control to the records.
The owner of the final record matched to a real (or digital) object is the owner of that object. For the convenience of users, records may initially be added to a temporary storage address, controlled by the issuer.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. It is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain, and therefore gives a tamperproof timestamp of a transaction, which everyone on the network can verify. For more information about how blockchain is used in Smartefact, visit this page.
What blockchains are supported?
The Smartefact system supports the Emer blockchain. We chose the Emer blockchain (visit emercoin.com for details) because it is one of the most secure blockchains for distributed business services, and it provides a powerful service for storing name->value pairs (Name-Value Storage, or NVS), which many other blockchains do not offer. This enable you to use the search feature of the Smartefact App very efficiently.
Can I check records in blockchain directly, without Smartefact?
Yes. You can search for the asset's name in the Emer blockchain explorer directly HERE. You can also use the Smartefact App to search and view asset records, and by clicking on a record, the App will redirect you to the Explorer in your browser.
Who do I contact if I have a query?
For any queries about Smartefact, please feel free to contact our team HERE.
I see a Smartefact label, how do I check it?
If you see an artwork with a Smartefact label on it, simply use the Smartefact mobile App to scan the NFC tag. It will show you the information about that artwork (e.g. painting) stored in blockchain and will tell you if the information is verified or not. If you do not have the Smartefact mobile App, simply download it from the Download page.
Why is scanning the QR code not enough guarantee of authenticity?
When you scan a QR code for an artwork, it does not guarantee authenticity of that artwork because QR code can be copied easily. It does not mean that the information shown in the Smartefact App is incorrect, but it simply means that we cannot guarantee that it concerns the artwork you are looking at. You need to scan the NFC tag on the artwork to ensure authenticity, because NFC tags are unique and if an NFC tag was copied with the same information, it would show as invalid in the results.
What are NFC Tag?
NFC stands for Near Field Communication. Most smartphones have a built-in NFC module, so you do not need special equipment or special knowledge to verify the authenticity of one of our NFC tags. But you will need to download our Smartefact mobile App.
NFC tags are unique and copying (cloning) an NFC tag is a very difficult (and almost impossible) procedure. Using NFC for identification is the only method available today with sufficient reliability and ease of use. QR codes or other similar tags (e.g. just a printed serial number) are very easy to copy, while specialized micro-printed labels are difficult to check.
Smartefact allows you to securely verify the authenticity of an NFC tag by verifying that its unique number (or verifying the private key) matches the data on the blockchain.
Why does NFC guarantee authenticity?
When an artwork is registered with Smartefact, it is given a unique NFC tag ID and that tag is created with the information about that specific artwork. When you scan the NFC tag on the artwork, the Smartefact App checks the record in blockchain and verifies that the IDs match (click HERE to download the Smartefact App for Android or iOS). It ensures the authenticity because NFC tags are unique and if an NFC tag was copied with the same information, it would show the tag as invalid in the results. Even if the information about the artwork may still be correct, the fact that the NFC tag is invalid may indicate fraud and the artwork you are looking at may be a copy.
How do I get the NFC tags for my Artwork?
For the moment, we are providing you with the NFC tags after your artwork gets registered. However, our objective is to offer independence in a true decentralised way, so we are working on a new App which will allow you to program the NFC tags by yourself, and it will allow you create the tags for your registered artwork independently.
Is Smartefact a decentralized system?
Yes. Smartefact is a Decentralised Digital Identity for Art. To better understand decentralisation and how Smartefact works in that context, refer to our page on Blockchain and decentralisation HERE
We are a museum or an art gallery, how do we register our collections?
For the moment, the registration is not independent as we must ensure that the chain of trust about the publisher of the artwork is valid. To request artwork registration or to try Smartefact, you simply submit the form on this page. Our team will get in touch with you and take you through the next steps. Our objective is a decentralised system where artwork is published independently from us, so once you become verified as a publisher, you will be issued a certificate of trust, which will allow you to register artwork by yourself, as a trusted party. We will provide you with a set of tools to create records in blockchain and program NFC tags accordingly.
I am the owner of a painting, how do I register the exhibitions, expertise certificates and other records in the system?
For the moment, you can simply get in touch with our team HERE. We'll then let you know the process to register records about your registered artwork.
I am an art expert, I want to register my certificates in the system. How to proceed?
For the moment, you can simply get in touch with our team HERE. We'll then let you know the process to become a trusted party and register your expertise certificates.
Why is there a verification process?
It is important to understand that Smartefact is NOT a replacement of any expert authenticity verification, it is a complementary tool to help establish and manage the digital identity of an artwork. In fact, Smartefact is a very efficient tool that can benefit Art Experts and any other entities responsible for Art Authentification.
To establish the authenticity of a physical art object it is necessary to solve two problems:
1. Verifying the presence of a unique (non-copyable) element on the object
2. Verifying the authenticity of this element.
To find out more about how digital identity for art works, visit this page.
Asset verification procedure
After scanning an NFC tag, QR code, or manually entering part of the title (identifier) of the art object in the search, the program searches for the record in the blockchain. If a record is found, it is processed.
- The presence of a trusted chain to the asset is checked (for example, if an embedded signature is used - the signer's certificate is requested and checked).
- Search of revocation certificates for an asset is performed.
- If an NFC tag is present and registered in the blockchain, the chip tag is checked for correctness.
- Search for the author's manifest and, if found, validate it
- Other certificates are searched and validated (about exhibitions, examinations, etc.)
What is the Smartefact system architecture?
Art objects, as well as documents describing the relationships between them and related events, are represented in the form of key:value records stored in the blockchain.
Each such record can only be controlled by the owner, who has a private key associated with the address to which the object is assigned.
All properties of an object, except its identifier ("name"), can be changed by the owner (including the current owner, i.e., the record can be transferred).
Blockchain is an open public system, so the entries can be made by anyone.
To authenticate records, the EmerCert protocol is used to establish trust in each record based on an analysis of the trust distribution chain from the trusted root. This verification (as well as the search for additional information about the art object) is performed automatically using the Smartefact mobile App.
To authenticate a physical object (or authenticate a unique physical certificate for a digital object) an NFC tag with a unique identifier is used, which (either directly or in encrypted form) is also stored inside the blockchain record and can be checked using a mobile app.
Get in Touch!
Innocentre, 1/F LionRock 72
72 Tat Chee Ave
Smartefact is a product of EmerTech, a member company of the Incu-App Programme, HKSTP (Hong Kong Science & Technology Park)