eGov in Zug (CH): blockchain identity for every inhabitant

Zug blockchain

As of September of this year, the city of Zug is the first community in the world to offer all citizens the opportunity to get a digital identity. This identity will be based on an app containing personal information. This is based on an app that secures personal information using blockchain technology and associates it with a crypto address. The inhabitants register their identity independently on the app. Subsequently, the identity is verified by the identity control of the town of Zug.

The Swiss are critical on digital identity. It is agreed that it needs such a thing, and soon, if one wants to use the momentum of digitization. More and more digital applications in the private or public sector require a clear forgery-proof identification that is not based solely on a password. Centralized solutions are currently the focus, as are the projects pursued by the Confederation with external partners, such as The «Suisse ID». To date, these solutions have not succeeded. This is mainly due to the fact that they are relatively complicated in use and are already technically considered obsolete today.

According to mayor Dolfi Müller, the city of Zug is pursuing its own path: “We want a single electronic identity – a kind of digital passport – for all possible applications. And we do not want this digital ID to be centralized at the city, but on the blockchain. We only verify and confirm the identity of a person. Applications should not be limited to urban services such as fee collection or room rental.”

Until September, the city of Zug wants to gain more experience with blockchain applications and is expected to hold an e-voting consensus vote among the inhabitants in spring 2018.

Decentralized database with citizens data

Based on the Ethereum blockchain, the largest blockchain 2.0 in the world with roots in Zug, the project managers developed an app solution that can be used to identify a person’s identity. In simplified terms, the blockchain is a decentralized database, in which all information and transactions of the interacting subscribers are secured. This is in contrast to centrally organized databases whose contents are controlled by the owner.

The Institute for Financial Services Zug (IFZ) of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences as well as the companies Consensys-uPort (Zug) and ti & m (Zurich) were involved in the development. Mathias Bucher, lecturer at the IFZ / Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, emphasizes: “Today, our digital identity still lies with major search engines and social networks that profit from it. A self-managed, secure and certified identity is indispensable for the functioning of an increasingly digital society. For the Crypto Valley Zug, we believe that we can pragmatically realize such an identity in cooperation between research, industry and authorities. “

Rouven Heck, Product Lead Digital Identity at Consensys, is delighted that uPort has been selected as a technological solution for the identity project of the city of Zug. “By registering on the public, global Ethereum blockchain, the city of Zug offers its inhabitants an innovative access for both local and international services. This solution offers tremendous added value in security, as private data remains under the full control of individuals, while providing a much more seamless use of digital services. “

Thomas Wüst, founder and CEO of ti & m says: “This pioneering project is technically highly interesting and fits perfectly with the competencies of our company: digitize with the highest possible security and great user-friendliness.”


*) Featured image: Francisco Antunes (cc)

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