Procivis and Valid, the early pioneers in Self-Sovereign Digital ID for governments

Happy New Year! This is the GDPR year. Moving from white papers, surveys, and media; Personal Data spaces of all sorts are undoubtedly important technology modules.

Seen from one specific angle, any venture in this broad and important sector, is a Social Impact initiative because it addresses important issues arising in the next generation of the Internet. Some ventures aim to protect the end users and offer them privacy and the right to choose; others address the cybersecurity nightmare inherent in the trusted 3rd party intermediary business (e.g. banks or agencies); others target the concentration of data on few proprietary commercial platforms. I used the term “ventures” not only to refer to private initiatives like Civic, Bitnation, Uport,… but also to legislation like GDPR, COPPA, …

Ownership of personal data and self-sovereignty is one of the big topics that I care about and will be covering in 2018. I started last year with my involvement in the open source Pillar Project (read more in Decentralized empowerment with the Pillar Wallet: A secure dashboard with No Accounts, No Apps). I will be posting an update next month after I visit their innovation lab in London and get demo-ed the wallet that is scheduled to be released later this quarter.

This Fall, while at the Blockchain Summit in Oman (read more in The Blockchain genie is outside the bottle in Oman) I got a demo of the Procivis app from the CEO, Daniel Gasteiger. Procivis is the first blockchain-based self-sovereign solution that is currently piloted by a government entity. We all know about Estonia’s e-residency program as it is the only countrywide such program. However, it addresses a different problem than the self-sovereignty ID issue. It is rather an initiative that fills in needs of small and medium businesses and enables them to be global from the start. It is based on ID cards with chips and aims to attract individuals and businesses to the Estonian jurisdiction via traditional electronic ways.

Procivis has been working with the Canton of Schaffhausen in Switzerland to create a self-sovereign eID solution. Just before Christmas, they presented the pilot version of the Schaffhausen eID+ to the canton’s citizens. The electronic identity solution is an app that can be downloaded by citizens of the Canton of Schaffhausen onto their iOS or Android mobile phones. The Schaffhausen eID+ provides secure and convenient access to electronic services offered by the canton.

The Procivis powered app is a decentralized approach to government-related services. This again differs from the state ID solutions offered currently in the East. In India, the Adhaar solution (read more 1 Billion on Aadhaar – Fintech India could be a model for financial inclusion) is not a decentralized ID solution. Similarly, the recent WeChat Tencent ID initiative in China is a 100% private approach that is government approved (read more in The Internet Tightens: Popular Chinese WeChat App to Become Official ID; The pilot digital identification system underscores Beijing’s reliance on big tech to monitor people).

Procivis will be rolling their app government eID+ solution in more locations in Europe and the East during 2018. More importantly, they are pushing forward a greater vision always focusing on providing a global solution and standard for the self-sovereign digital ID conundrum. For this cause, they will be soon launching an ICO for VALID which is a not-for-profit and open source venture. In complete alignment with the Procivis mission – i.e. a self-sovereign digital ID standard –  the VALID initiative is a blockchain powered solution that will include a safe wallet and a marketplace for data owners.

It will be of course, consumer-centric and will offer end users a secure and compliant way (according to GDPR guidelines) to manage their own data. The VALID marketplace will disintermediate all kind of data aggregators that are currently not only profiting from our individual data but handling such data in unsecure ways.

VALID will be open source and therefore, we can imagine it becoming one of the main wallets-marketplaces that will be used via APIs for various kinds of personal data transactions. In plain words, VALID is a protocol for apps to be built on top and for anyone to trade data.

Valid !You can read the VALID white paper here to understand more about the VALID utility token (not to be confused with shareholdings in Procivis). You can join one of the many physical events planned around the world. Check out their global roadshow.

The VALID token sale will be in late February. For more details check here. You can also visit their Zurich offices of Procivis (follow the map to No.1)

Valid ZurichDesigned by Rolf Rauschenbach, passionate advisor to VALID

Daniel Gastieger is not only the creator of VALID and founder of Procivis. He is also the co-founder of NexusSquared and recently was appointed to represent Switzerland on the Board of the Global Blockchain Council (GBBC) that was established at the WEF last year and a member of the national blockchain task force of Switzerland under the leadership of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Economy.

Stay tuned as I will continue the coverage of Digital Identity in 2018. The Personal ID credentials market was valued at$8.6billion in 2016 and is forecasted to grow to $9.7 billion. This is all about protecting our personal identity and its complex and multiple uses on the internet (shopping, voting, investing etc). Read more in the Sunday Forbes article “Blockchain to the Rescue creating a “New Future” for digital identities” that also mentions Val:ID’s initiative.

Efi Pylarinou is a Fintech thought-leader, consultant and investor. 

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