uPort at HackZurich and Crypto Valley
A core strategy and focus of our team has been to provide an accessible decentralized identity platform for end users, but also just as important is to be a foundational tool for Ethereum applications and developers. From our uPort Connect libraries to our developer guides, we strive to make integrating with uPort as simple as possible. This strategy is guided by a belief that community events are one of the best platforms to engage with our user base to learn their needs and support their wide range of exciting projects. As such, hackathons are a great way to meet and engage with passionate developers that are going out of their way to build a decentralized future along with us.
HackZurich — Europe’s Largest Hackathon
Just over a week ago, ConsenSys and uPort attended HackZurich, Europe’s largest hackathon with over 400 select participants. For three days we supported the various teams in their efforts to build innovative blockchain solutions in just under 40 hours. We provided guidance, identified and triaged bugs, and consulted with various teams on how they could integrate our identity solutions, deploy attestations, and build working dapps on Ethereum.
The ingenuity of three teams that integrated uPort really stuck out for us, and I want to highlight their work below: first, to showcase the increasing synergy between the emerging web3 infrastructure, and second, to highlight the role that uPort can play in a wide range of dapp architectures.
40hrs of Creativity in a Nutshell
The Bond team developed a framework to scan rental contracts and deploy legally binding smart contracts on Ethereum between two parties. They integrated uPort in order to sign the transactions using uPort IDs, an attestation from the city of Zug, as well as integrated payments. Their solution included an OCR image recognition and machine learning algorithm that allowed it to automatically populate a solidity contract. The written contracts itself were stored on IPFS with the hash associated with their smart contract.
The Paratar team developed an ecommerce plugin that allows purchases from any site, using uPort as the authentication tool. The plugin basically makes all products that you see on any website buyable by linking the user with sellers of that product. Once the user clicked buy on an item, their uPort ID was used to authenticate both the user and payment.
A micro payment app that allows users to send Ether or Tokens to a phone number. The solution used uPort for authentication and the associated phone number to create a connection between users. What really blew us away was that they fully integrated the newly-launched Raiden test network to process the micropayments, allowing a user to send near-instantaneous, cryptographically-secure transactions. On top of this they delivered their submission in a fully functional mobile app that made in-app calls to uPort IDs. Due to uPort currently running on Rinkeby, they even deployed their own instance of Raiden on Rinkeby to be able to interact with uPort identities.
The big picture: Self Sovereignty in Switzerland
We weren’t at HackZurich just by coincidence, but also to present our recently launched blockchain ID and attestation pilot with the City of Zug in Switzerland, which is going live end of September. Our local development partner Ti&M has been pioneering the work with the city of Zug and is now exploring more sophisticated role management systems for the issuance of uPort attestations in systems where a central administrator (such as a citizen office) is required.
The concept of self-sovereign identity resonates well with Swiss principles and a long national history of neutrality. The Swiss have embraced the principals of decentralization, sovereignty and independence since their own independence in 1291. Today, each Canton has its own constitution, legislature, government and courts. The Swiss Federal Constitution declares the cantons to be fully sovereign to the extent that their sovereignty is not limited by federal law.
Today, this principle has permeated Switzerland’s political system. The Cantons have significantly more say in many legal and political areas than the central government. This also extends to the identity level, such that a Swiss-wide ID system could only be implemented with approval of the Cantons. Thanks to the success we’ve seen from our initial ID pilot with Zug, we are already talking to other Swiss cities about implementing a similar system and will issue a separate, more detailed article on this use case soon. Watch this space.