Three years ago, the European Union , together with Norway and Liechtenstein established the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP). Their mission was to accelerate the adoption of blockchain technology for the benefit of citizens, society, and the economy. That is how the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) was born.
EBSI is the first EU-wide blockchain infrastructure that has been created in an effort to make public services more trustworthy and accessible by European citizens. Up until now, the EBSI network has joined 36 peers and 11 more are in the setup phase. Starting in 2020, the initiative has been focused on four particular use cases that will benefit the business and society. Those are:
- ESSIF – the European Self-Sovereign Identity Framework will allow for users to create and control their own digital identity across the EU.
- Diploma – the Diploma use case is meant to give Europeans more digital control of their educational certificates. That way the credential verification costs can be reduced.
- Document traceability is meant to improve how documents are trusted and their accuracy and integrity are verified. Timestamps will make it easy to follow the document’s history – all actions and interactions over (digital) papers.
- Trusted data sharing is focused on strengthening security in data sharing, especially between cross-border businesses, including among customs and tax authorities in the EU.
What is EBSI in a nutshell?
The EBSI platform is a peer-to-peer network that is overseen by the European Commission. The EU-wide infrastructure (nodes) is based on open standards and it has adopted a transparent governance model.
EBSI has been designed with five core principles in mind:
- working towards the public good
- transparent governance
- data compatibility
- open-source software
- compliance with relevant EU regulations such as the GDPR and eIDAS
Why is EBSI important for Bulgaria?
EBSI gives a great opportunity for the Bulgarian state administration to accelerate the digitization of public services. Government entities can now provide reliable and trustworthy electronic services, and completely digitize paper documents, including the processes related to collecting, storing, and managing them. EBSI will enable the delivery of cross-border public services while enforcing the way citizens, governments, and businesses exchange sensitive data.
An Important milestone for Bulgaria
Five technology companies are now developing the Bulgarian part of the European Blockchain Service Infrastructure. The project leader, Industria, together with ReCheck, LimeChain, the Edge, and Aeternity Ventures joined in an effort to empower Bulgarian citizens and businesses to use electronic services in confidence that their personal data is protected. In the next couple of years, the consortia will focus on two particular use cases.
The Self-Sovereign identity (SSI) is a decentralized digital identity that allows you to manage personal and sensitive data on a very granular level. Using such a framework will streamline data exchange with governments, providing the latter with validated statements from organizations, such as banks, utility companies, or telecom operators.
Thanks to the SSI, citizens will no longer have to physically visit places to collect personal credentials and verified statements (e.g. to a medical specialist or a municipality office). Ultimately, the framework protects citizens’ privacy, improves digital trust, and facilitates the secure sharing of data between people and governments.
The Document traceability use case supports the registration of documents and transactions on a decentralized ledger, using digital signatures and evidence in a GDPR-safe way. The service allows users to:
- Register digital documents, verify their authenticity and create historical trails.
- Record and link together digital evidence of files.
EBSI and Europe
As the European Blockchain Service Infrastructure grows in size and significance, new pilots are being deployed. Last month, the University of Lile stated in an official press release that it will use EBSI to deploy diplomas for all of its graduates.
In Germany, the Government is leading a likewise project in the Diploma domain, including 130 schools. And in Spain, three universities will start issuing of digital diplomas. Students will authenticate themselves using a digital ID that will be issued by FNMT (the Royal Mint of Spain) and stored in their mobile wallets.
More about the Bulgarian Consortium
In this consortium, INDUSTRIA has the leading role and is responsible for project management, general governance of the proposed project, the dissemination, and exploitation of the project results, including management of the created intellectual property.
ReCheck will take an active role in setting up, securing, and maintaining the EBSI nodes, along with the deployment with master applications onto it. ReCheck will further work on the implementation of the Notarization use case, including the configuration and designing of the user interface.
LimeChain will be responsible for the development of the European Self-Sovereign Identity use case, deployment, and integration with external services.
The Edge will be responsible for the development and maintenance of a national Helpdesk and the design of the training program.
Aeternity Ventures will take an active role in designing and executing the online training program and the development of the needed technical resources.