Switzerland’s city of Zug, where the Ethereum Foundation and the Crypto Valley is based, will offer all its citizens the opportunity to get an ethereum based digital identity starting this September.
“Applications should not be limited to urban services such as fee collection or room rental. In the first phase, a consultative vote on e-voting will be held, which is expected to take place in the spring of 2018,” said city’s president, Dolfi Müller, according to a rough translation.
The plan appears to be for the digital identity to be used for all council provided services, such as paying for parking, or perhaps even when applying for planning permission.
The project was developed in collaboration with the Lucerne University of Economics, Consensys-uPort, which has been working on digital identity for now more than a year, and a start-up called ti & m.
“Zug’s blockchain pilot will provide tremendous security and value by issuing attestations to citizens to improve access to public services. By registering identities on a public blockchain, we’re helping Zug create immutable digitally-native identification records for citizens,” uport said.
“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,” Mathias Bucher, lecturer at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, stated.
This is the first instance of an official incorporation for digital identities. Although Estonia has been digitizing their IDs too, they are currently limited to opening a bank account or setting up a business, with some inovative services extending them into ethereum wallets.
Zug seems to be going much further, incorporating the use of digital identities into everyday interactions with the council.
“By registering on the public, global Ethereum blockchain, the city of Zug offers its inhabitants an innovative access for both local and international services,” Rouven Heck, Product Lead for Digital Identity at Consensys and lead developer at uport, said.
Most, therefore, will be looking closely at the results of this pilot, and if successful, we may expect many more locals to join in digitizing their paper based IDs into dynamic, blockchain based, identification that can use digital signatures and potentially facilitate simple goods sales smart contracts.