In September 2017, uPort will launch the pilot of a self-sovereign identity platform, to be available to Zug residents. Using uPort’s App, citizens can encrypt their personal information and receive an ID which is linked to a cryptographic address on the Ethereum blockchain. Once the information is verified, users can "seamlessly interact with the digital services of the City of Zug."
According to the release, Zug will offer a variety of services through uPort, such as e-signatures and parking fee payment, and will test out an e-vote during the first phase in spring 2018. According to the mayor of Zug, Dolfi Müller, the pilot conforms to Switzerland’s socio-technological interests.
“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, but on the blockchain. Our role is not to store personal information, we only examine the identity of a person.”
Over the past few years, the Swiss government has made e-identity a priority in order to streamline electronic business transactions. According to the World Economic Forum, the lack of digital identity systems in the world at large is having a negative impact on financial institutions.
“Identity is currently a critical pain point for Fintech innovators. Many of these innovators are trying to deliver pure digital offerings, but the process of identifying users consistently forces them to use physical channels. These Fintech innovators now see the development of a new generation of digital identity systems as being crucial to continuing innovation and delivering efficient, secure, digital‐based Fintech offerings.”
Nevertheless, the successful deployment of uPort’s digital identity platform could be the catalyst for growth in a number of markets. While Switzerland remains a premier economic hub, Zug is fast becoming one of the most progressive and technologically advanced cities in the world. In addition to uPort’s pilot, the city has pioneered a number of innovative blockchain pursuits, including the establishment of the government-backed Crypto Valley Association on March 1, 2017.