# About Hashes and Timestamps

OriginStamp allows to create low-cost tamper-proof timestamps that are distributed among thousands of participants worldwide. This high distribution is what makes them tamper-proof. If one participant looses the proof of your timestamp, thousands others will still be able to provide it.

We are often asked, why you should trust thousands of anonymous participants worldwide to keep your data secure and confidential. The simple answer is: You don't need to and should never do so.

It's all about the hash

We never see your original data and we only operate with the hash of your data. A hash is like a fingerprint. If you know a fingerprint, you can tell with certainty whom it belongs to. But you can't reproduce the complete construction plan of the corresponding person, her DNA.

You can think of your data being the whole DNA whereas its hash is merely the fingerprint, which is unique per person.

Embedding a hash in a blockchain proves that the corresponding data existed at the time the corresponding block was mined, without disclosing the data itself. The timestamp refers to this very exact moment when a specific hash is included into the blockchain and hence tamper-proof.

As soon as you want to prove that your data existed at a certain point in time, you take its hash, look it up in the blockchain and can validate its tamper-proof timestamp.

Don't lose or change your data

Proving a timestamp hence requires your unchanged data: An auditor can validate that your data matches its hash and that this hash was included in the blockchain.

Changing your data (^=another person^=another DNA) changes its hash (^=another fingerprint). Even if the auditor can validate the inclusion of a certain hash in the blockchain, it's useless without the original data.

As a result, you always should archive your original data, its hash and its timestamp together.