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On May 31st, the EBSI Demo Day was held, organized by the European Commission, with the aim of showing the operation of 6 experiences using the EBSI ESSIF self-managed identity model in 10 different countries.
The emergence of blockchain as a technology has led some international organizations such as the W3C and the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), with the support of the most relevant players in the sector, to promote initiatives for the decentralization of identity, working on the creation of a self-managed identity model (Self-Sovereign Identity - SSI), where the trusted third party ceases to have a key role in the management of personal data, which is guarded precisely by the users themselves.
The European Commission and the EuropeanBlockchain Partnership (initiative to develop the European blockchain strategy and build a Blockchain infrastructure for public services), are laying the foundations to implement it in the different EU member states, both in the public and private sectors, launching the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) network, with the aim of 'leveraging blockchain to accelerate the creation of cross-border services for public administrations and their ecosystems.
In December 2021, the AOC and Validated ID presented the first pilot scheme to the European Commission, within the Early Adopters program of the EBSI project, to promote a European self-managed digital identity. The objective of this project was to promote cases of interoperability of verified credentials of European students to be able to access discounts on public services of the Catalan municipalities, in collaboration with the municipalities of El Prat de Llobregat, Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Tarragona, Valls and Viladecans.
Case of use
During the EBSI Demo Day, AOC, in collaboration with Howest University and Validated ID, presented a use case where a student obtains certain discounts on municipal public services using their digital identity based on their university student card. The use case demonstrates the potential of this new identity paradigm in cross-border environments.
In the demo it has been seen how a student from the University of Howest, in Belgium, could request an"electronic student card" that he had saved in his identity wallet and that he could then use it at the Prat Town Hall to request the discount when accessing the sports facilities of the city. The project used Validated ID’s VIDchain wallet, which was the first one to pass the EBSI trust certification.
Despite this use case being a proof of concept, it has been developed using the pre-production environments of the VALID and eTram services. This means that this test is the first step to make it easier for citizens to manage their personal information as well as control who accesses it more easily and, above all, guarantee a higher level of security and privacy, as well as normative compliance.
This new paradigm allows the user to have all their personal information in an Identity Wallet. This information can come from multiple sources (public and private), but this Wallet becomes for the user the central point of information management, which makes the information portable and easy to share with third parties.
Europe is betting on this model, not only through the construction of the EBSI network but also through the development of regulations around this new model known as eIDAS 2. This regulation, currently in the draft phase, establishes the EC's commitment to this new identity model for European citizens.
The EBSI Early Adopters program has helped to start testing this new model in specific use cases. In particular, the use case of the exchange of diplomas is the one that has been worked on the most, with multiple universities participating in it. The approach that has been given to the search for cross-border use cases to demonstrate the validity of this model at a continental level is also relevant.
There is still work to be done to see these solutions in an environment with real users: the network is not yet in production, there are some features pending implementation that are necessary for legal use cases, adjustments to comply with data privacy regulation, SLAs etc. Even so, it has been a very important first step to start working on showcasing the viability of this new paradigm and demonstrating the CE's commitment to a new identity model that will finally help to solve one ofthe greatest problems still to be solved on the Internet, which is the digitalidentity of its users.
In this DEMO DAY video (at the time 1 hour 12 minutes) you can see how a European student would access their student portal using their credentials in order to request discounts at their municipality. Along with our colleague Ivan Basart, CTO of Validated ID, are Däniel Du Soeul, Director of EBSI, and Miquel Estapé, General Director of Innovation of the Digital Agency of Catalonia.
These projects are being promoted by various organizations, including: the European Commission, W3C and the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF).
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