uPort Year in Review + What’s to Come in 2018

2017 was a landmark year for the entire Ethereum ecosystem. The same can be said for the uPort platform. We began the year with the initial launch of the uPort ID alpha program, getting our mobile identity wallet into the hands of thousands of users over the course of the year. 
 
As we gathered feedback on our alpha, spoke with developers from dapps integrating uPort, and responded to new trends in the Ethereum ecosystem, we made a significant number of improvements to our overall platform.
 
From launching pilot programs with Zug and Brazil to supporting Gnosis’s first prediction market tournament, we saw a number of partners integrate various components of our platform to realize the promise of a comprehensive decentralized identity system. 
 
Take a look below for an overview of some of the major milestones we accomplished in 2017.

2017 Year in Review

Launched uPort Alpha (January)
At the beginning of the year we launched the uPort ID mobile app alpha program. Over the course of the year more than ten thousand users tested versions of the uPort app to register their identities to the Ethereum blockchain.
 
uPort AppManager (March/April)
Shortly after launching our mobile alpha, we introduced the uPort AppManager, enabling developers to create decentralized identities for their applications. This allows dapps to identify themselves to their users and facilitate trust through seamless interactions like push notifications. 
 
Introducing MNIDs (April)
In response to the rapid growth of the Ethereum ecosystem across a multitude of networks, we created MNIDs: Multi Network Identifiers. With our development, we can programatically extract the network used by an address, so that users can safely interact with various Ethereum-based blockchains without worry. 
 
Decentralized Identity Foundation (May)
In order to achieve our goal of creating a global self-sovereign identity platform, we recognize that there needs to exist standard protocols and practices that blockchain-based identity providers can adhere to. 
 
To that end, we joined Microsoft, Blockstack, and a core group of blockchain companies to found the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF). Throughout 2017, we worked with this group to establish foundational identity standards applicable across blockchains. This group now consists of more than 35 organizations and is instrumental in forging a truly self-sovereign identity system worldwide.

ID verification and Document Signing with Brazil Ministry of Planning (June)
This pilot with the Brazil Ministry of Planning and Microsoft further exemplifies the value that blockchain-based identity holds for government services. 
 
The Brazil MoP leveraged uPort to enable government IDs to upload and sign documents via the blockchain. With this case, we demonstrated how publicly registered identifiers can interface with private government blockchains. This showcased the flexibility and adaptability that Ethereum provides. 
 
Citizen ID for the City of Zug (July)
In June we announced a major milestone for blockchain-based ID: our pilot program with Crypto Valley (Zug, Switzerland) to register government-verified citizen IDs on the Ethereum blockchain. The project was the result of close collaboration with our partners at TI&M, who were instrumental in developing the pilot and launching the initial citizen registrations.
 
This is a landmark achievement for demonstrating the value of decentralized identity in terms of fostering greater trust and transparency between governments and their citizens, as well as widening access to services that institutions can provide. 
 
uPort Demo at Devcon3 (November)
In addition to our main stage presentation establishing uPort as Ethereum’s User Platform, we also introduced at devcon3 a new use case for uPort: attendance verification badges.
 
Using their uPort IDs, users scanned a QR code to verify their attendance and receive a verification in their uPort mobile wallet. This proved to be a simple, but scalable use case that many conferences and events have asked to leverage for attendance badges and even things like future discounts on tickets based on prior attendance. 
 
First official citizen ID registration in Zug (November)
A few months after we announced our pilot program with Zug, the first official citizen ID registration took place in front of a live audience at the Zug government offices. In 2018, there are plans to hold the first simple, non-governmental voting initiative using these Ethereum-based identities. 
 
Blockchain and Identity Hackathon with Topcoder (December)
A major part of our mission is to make Ethereum user-friendly by providing developers with a robust platform on which to build their applications. From identity verification to blockchain transaction signing, we have created simple-to-integrate libraries and guides for developers to make quick use of
 
To get new blockchain developers excited about uPort and Ethereum’s potential, we launched the Blockchain and Identity hackathon challenge with Topcoder, a leading developer crowdsourcing organization. The competition has just ended, but we have already seen a number of highly exciting new use cases built on top of the uPort identity and user data platform. 
 
uPort + Gnosis Olympia (December)
Gnosis is one of the most mature and exciting applications built on Ethereum to date, and we are incredibly excited that they chose to use uPort to power their first prediction market tournament, Olympia.
 
Gnosis implemented uPort to allow users to sign up and login to the tournament platform (essentially verifying a one entry to one user logic), and also used our blockchain data signing functionality for all transaction requests in the tournament. These are two incredibly important use cases that help demonstrate how blockchain-based applications can be simple enough for even non-technical users to engage with.

What‘s in store for 2018

As we look to build on our successes of the last year, 2018 promises to bring significant progress as we focus on expanding the functionality of our platform and improving our developer tools. These two areas are our core focus as we look to help scale Ethereum’s usability. 
 
In the visual overview below, you can see how we are taking a multitiered approach to expanding the reach of the uPort platform to multiple Ethereum testnets, Ethereum Mainnet, and eventually beyond Ethereum as we look to support other blockchains. 
 
Additionally, we’ve outlined a series of improvements for the uPort ID mobile wallet that will provide significant usability upgrades: everything from app-specific Ethereum accounts to a reintroduction of new-and-improved social recovery mechanisms. 
 
And finally, we have noted our Developer Tools as a critical area to support. A core part of our mission is to support the rapidly growing community of Ethereum developers with the tools they need to build killer applications that all users can enjoy.

To that end, we are dedicating significant resources this year to improving our development documentation and launching both a multi-user Application Manager as well as a uPort Testing Client. We are confident that this work will significantly improve developers’ experiences in taking full advantage of the uPort platform, and more easily at that.

An overview of our core areas of focus for 2018

We’re incredibly excited to continue working on our platform and to further engage with the talented community around us. If you’re interested in integrating uPort, take a look at our developer site to get started. And if you already have, please get in touch and tell us about your project and how we can help support your work.
 
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