The city of Zug is taking another pioneering step in the field of blockchain. Beginning in September 2017, all residents will be able to obtain a digital identity. “We want a single electronic identity – a type of digital passport – for all possible applications,” said Mayor Dolfi Müller.
The applications will not be limited to municipal services such as collection of fees or renting premises, according to a statement announcing the project. The main focus of the first phase of the project is a consultative vote on e-voting, which is expected to be held in spring 2018.
Residents can register their identity themselves using an app. Their identity is then verified by the city’s resident registration office. The digital identity is based on an app that protects the personal information by means of blockchain technology and is connected to a crypto-address. The project is using the Ethereum blockchain, which is the world’s largest blockchain 2.0 and also happens to have its roots in Zug.
“In simple terms, blockchain is a decentralised database in which all information and transactions of the participating subscribers are secured in a tamper-proof manner,” said the city of Zug. As such, the digital identity isn’t centralised with the city but rather decentralised along the blockchain.
“By registering on the public, global Ethereum blockchain, the city of Zug is providing its residents innovative access to local as well as international services. This solution offers tremendous value for enhanced security as private data remains under the full control of the individual person while providing far more streamlined use of digital services,” explained Rouven Heck of Consensys. The Zug-based company is participating in developing the solution together with the Zurich-based ti&m and the Institute for Financial Services Zug (IFZ) at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.
“Our digital identity today still lies with major search engines and social networks, which are making a profit from it. A self-administered, secure and certified identity is indispensable for the functioning of an increasingly digital society,” said Mathias Bucher, a lecturer at IFZ.