Trokt, a Des Moines startup developing negotiations-management software and “Thumbprinter” technology, joined the LexLab Accelerator in San Francisco, based out of the University of California Hastings College of Law. Trokt is one of six participants in the legaltech accelerator’s first virtual cohort, and aims to develop its marketing for its new Thumbprinter documentation product before the accelerator’s Demo Day on April 19.

“There is a different language to practitioners of the law,” Trokt managing director Chris Draper said. “This accelerator is going to provide us an opportunity to better understand their language, better connect with those potential customers that we really need to understand the problem we’re solving.”  

Trokt’s Thumbprinter, launched last November, is a cybersecurity tool that permanently marks the authenticity of any digital file, what Draper called “an anchor of truth.” Any digitally created document can have an infinite number of digital document copies, with limited ability to certify which copy was the original. That can cause problems in legal cases with multiple copies of a file circulating among parties, but as common practice most lawyers will clear out the metadata on documentation several months after it is created, Draper said.

Thumbprint authentication is saved in Trokt’s distributed network, meaning that while sensitive files are held on the originator’s device, the authentication Thumbprint is saved in a third-party network perpetually. The product permanently protects files from potential file-storing loss or cyberattacks.

“We are an insurance policy that you hope you never have to use,” Draper said. “There’s a value to a lawyer saying, ‘I’m going to charge the customer $1 to protect what was the output of $17,000 of work, and now I as a lawyer can get rid of that document with the certainty that it’s always going to be proven to be true.’ … I know because I saved it in the network which is the actual, true digital original and which one isn’t.”

The tool is already being integrated into documentation operations for a commercial grease supply transportation company to protect basic documentation such as weight tickets. Art curators have inquired about using Thumbprinter to document deeds of ownership, and at least one construction company is using Thumbprinter to document change orders with clients, Draper said.

“We’ve had a lot of shortcomings in cybersecurity, a lot of shortcomings even in how the internet has been built, and we’ve known about them for a number of years and never really had to deal with it,” Draper said. “We believe what we are doing is a transformative item in the realm of cybersecurity, if we’re able to prompt adoption.”