National Swiss Railway Operator Completes Pilot of Blockchain ID Management System

The national railway company of Switzerland has completed a proof of concept (PoC) of a “self-sovereign” blockchain-based identity management system.

Swiss Federal Railways’ (SBB) product was developed by Linum Labs, a Switzerland-based firm focused on building decentralized systems, deploying Ethereum-based identity management protocol uPort, which was developed in part by blockchain incubator ConsenSys.

According to the release, tests of the blockchain-based credential management system – which is meant to be used by workers at the transport company’s construction sites – were carried out from May to November of this year. The project itself is designed to increase the efficiency of paper-based processes in an “agile working environment with a digital, audit-proof solution based on blockchain.”

In the course of testing, workers created their digital identities in the uPort app on their smartphones, which they subsequently used to sign in and out of construction sites where they worked. The system confirmed workers’ presence at construction sites, as well as certified their training. A Linum Labs’ blog post Nov. 12 reads:

“A self-sovereign blockchain based identity is well-suited for this use case because workers should be able to carry over their identity from one company to another and no specific company should own or manage it. In addition, there are multiple companies and parties issuing certificates.”

Blockchain has been gaining traction in the transportation industry in the past months. In May, Swiss airport ground handling and cargo company Swissport announced it is launching a blockchain pilot program for its cargo handling business. Hendrik Leyssens, head of global cargo operations at Swissport, said that blockchain could speed up transactions, improve security and help reduce operational costs.

In September, Lloyd’s Register, a British tech and business maritime classification society, created a model of a blockchain-powered class register of ships. By applying the new “Class register,” the company intends to boost the classification and registration of new ships, as well as launch a prototype of its blockchain-based register service.

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