European Blockchain Partnership – EBP
The myth of the “overnight success” is well established. Encapsulated in a comment by Steve Jobs talking about Pixar, “if you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time”. We’ve come to expect that foresight and well-planned execution are prerequisites for success.
It’s worth keeping this in mind in the coming months as Europe starts to roll out interoperable cross-border services for IP management, track and trace supply chain management, and verifiable credentials for education and the workforce. Behind these interoperable services there’s 5 years of experimentation and collaboration, with much more to come, led by the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP). The fact that the promise of theEBP - established in late 2018, just as blockchain technologies were hitting the trough of disillusionment – is coming to fruition now says a lot about the benefits of foresight, strategic planning and of course public funding.
European Blockchain Services Infrastructure – EBSI
At launch, the 29 countries (all EU members states, Norway and Liechtenstein) in the EBP agreed on a clear objective to “contribute to more efficient and more accessible cross-border government services in Europe” by focusing on interoperability. And the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) was established as the delivery vehicle.
Importantly, in addition to focusing on technical interoperability, (working on APIs, smart contracts and the EBSI ledger), EBSI has focused on ensuring business interoperability, with carefully curated uses cases. And it is this focus on practical use cases that has driven the development of wallet infrastructure and the inclusion of Verifiable Credentials (VCs). Together, interoperable wallets and VCs provide people, government and enterprise with private, convenient and secure ways to request and share information.
Verifiable Credentials for education
To deliver on its vision to “create cross-border services for public administrations, businesses, citizens and their ecosystems to verify information and make services trustworthy” EBSI selected education as one of the featured use cases. In addition to reducing verification costs and improving trust in the qualifications’ authenticity, citizen centricity is viewed as an important benefit.
This perspective is evident in EBSI’s Verifiable Credentials Framework, which highlights the importance of putting “users back in control of their data” and reducing the reliance on “big platforms” and “strong central government”.
First to market with education credentials
Leading the charge with this use case are KBC and Howest University of Applied Sciences. In a joint press release KBC announced that “Howest and KBC will be launching Europe’s first digital student card in the coming academic year. The card will be stored in KBC Mobile under ‘My Trustbox’ and provides easy and secure access to student services and benefits”.
Statements in the press release from both KBC and Howest showcase the benefits of EBSI. They highlight the importance of customer convenience and control over data, as well as interoperability with other applications and other wallets such as the European Digital Identity Wallet .
Echoing the benefits that citizen centric approaches bring to education, the Spanish RoyalMint and partner universities announced a similar pilot, shortly after theBelgian announcement.
European Digital Identity Wallet (EUDI)
Alongside EBSI, the European Commission recently announced 4 projects to put the European Digital Identity Wallet (EUDI) through its paces. The four pilot projects are led by different jurisdictions and are focused on a range of use cases, from access to government services and opening a bank account to mobile driving licences and ePrescriptions. It’s important to note that the pilot project testing the use of the EUDI wallet in the educational sector will “use the European BlockchainServices Infrastructure (EBSI) in the context of the EUDI wallet”, ensuring a read across to the work led by EBSI.
Getting Started with Secure Value Exchange
Meeco is delighted to be a technology partner on the ground-breaking EBSI project, working alongside KBC and Howest product development teams.
If you would like to find out more about EBSI, EUDI or if you’re interested in rapidly validating a Verifiable Credentials use case, running a pilot or are ready to deploy a production solution please get in touch.