Several projects have born exploiting the immutability of the Blockchain and its cryptographic functions for notarization of various kinds of documents. Even the administrative branch of the sports universe could benefit from notarization in Blockchain.

Very often, even sensationally, we hear that Blockchain will eventually supplant the professional class of notaries worldwide. However, in the medium term, notaries can sleep soundly: to date, there is no notary who has lost his or her job due to to the Blockchain. This does not mean that as of today notarizing a document in Blockchain is useless: there are a variety of documents that do not need to be submitted to a notary but whose certification takes on an important centrality. In fact, the vast majority of agreements between parties and certifications do not require the use of a notary but the difficulty in proving the originality of the document ends up generating disputes. The administrative branch of the sports universe could also benefit from the use of this technology with the notarization of health data, transfers, athlete registrations and budgets.

Hash and timestamp: the origin of notarization

The principle of notarization is guaranteed by the Blockchain through the immutability feature of transactions and its cryptographic functions. Each transaction is identified through a hash, a cryptographic code whose first use is due to military-grade telecommunications. The hash consists of a string of alphanumeric characters whose correspondence is unique: as any letter in a PDF document or a pixel in a photo changes, the hash will also be different. In the case of bitcoin, the hash function is represented by the SHA256 algorithm and has a length of 64 characters. In addition, when a transaction is uploaded to a blockchain, the corresponding timestamp will be present: we could easily find out the exact time and date of uploading the transaction object. According to Article 8-ter of Law 12/2019, which we have already mentioned in other previous articles, it states that “the digital document satisfies the requirement of written form” ergo it will be an evidentiary element with full legal value. Clearly, legal validity is bound to compliance with the requirements established by AgID (Agency for Digital Italy).

Health data, budgets and memberships: notarization applied to sports

Health data of athletes and GDPR

One of the most recent cases related to time and document integrity certification was the one involving former world number 1 Novak Djokovic and Australian sports and state institutions. The dispute was initially based on the date on which the former world number one tested positive for Covid19 and which consequently would have made him exempt from mandatory vaccination. Should the document have been notarized in Blockchain, it would have been easy to trace the date and time of upload through the timestamp. Staying within the athletes’ health data framework, we can infer that Blockchain could come in handy for GDPR compliance. This is because documents that are enrolled in a blockchain are easily traceable, even without having access to the content of the document, making the job easier for enforcement agencies. This means that we really could control the use of our data by stakeholders and whether it is being passed on to unauthorized third parties. Blockchain and notarization applied to athletes’ health data could also prove useful in the fight against doping. In fact, a report prepared by PwC shows that the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) is conducting a pilot project for the use of Blockchain technology in countering doping.

Budgets and notarization

The use of notarization on Blockchain could be applied to the financial and economic parts for the management of a professional club. A budget that is notarized becomes searchable by anyone, transparent and immutable. It allows all cash inflows and outflows to be tracked, offering an overview of the economic status to suppliers, sponsors and fans. In the context of the now-popular Financial Fair Play (FFP), notarization could play a crucial role in avoiding fictitious sponsorships and the increasingly common phenomenon of inflated capital gains. Sometimes sports clubs are also used for money laundering from their presidents’ main companies, again the use of Blockchain could be a not insignificant obstacle to money laundering.

Notarization for memberships and transfers

Notarization could also be applied to memberships. In fact, very often it is difficult to define the exact figures of a transfer, hence a general lack of transparency and the difficulty of defining the exact amount of money to be paid to the club-vendor based on the percentage on resale. Federations would also be facilitated by the use of notarization for transfers: the process for contract deposition would be un-bureaucratized; storage would become simpler; and the time for compliance checks would be significantly decreased.

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Davide Calderone