- The Bavarian district of Altötting has launched a pilot project for a digital proof of vaccination based on Ubirch’s IOTA and Ethereum-based technology.
- A timeline for the pilot project and a possible expansion to other counties or states is not known.
While vaccinations against the coronavirus has taken off at a rapid pace in Germany and around the world, calls for a digital vaccination card or proof of vaccination are growing louder. One technology that has been a recurring part of the discussion in recent weeks is distributed ledger technology. And as an article published today by a German newspaper shows, the Cologne-based start-up Ubircht could provide the solution for Germany.
It was only in early January that it was announced that a solution developed by Ubirch GmbH and based on IOTA as well as Ethereum would be used for COVID-19 test certificates at German airports in Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg and Düsseldorf. Now, the German newspaper reports that a pilot project for a digital vaccination certificate has started within the Bavarian district of Altötting that also uses Ubirch’s technology. The article states:
As of this week, the Altötting district is offering people who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus the opportunity to have their vaccination status digitally certified. […] Anyone who has been vaccinated and wants to can save their vaccination certificate on their cell phone.
The technology behind it comes from the Cologne-based company Ubirch, which is offering the digital certificate together with the cooperative of municipal data centers Govdigital.
As Altötting’s district administrator Erwin Schneider told the Süddeutsche Zeitung, things will “really get going” at the end of this week. In order to be able to issue the digital vaccination passport, a confirmed second vaccination with the vaccine from Pfizer is necessary. “And that will be available on Thursday or Friday,” said the Altöttinger district administrator.
The article does not go into the concrete technical implementation of the digital vaccination card. The daily simply writes that the “digital certificate with all important information will be generated and stored on five so-called blockchains on the Internet.” The information can only be retrieved “with the help of a digital key to which only the vaccinated person has access.”
No mention is made of which blockchains are used by Ubirch. However, it is known from Corona test centers that the Cologne-based startup relies on the Ethereum blockchain and the IOTA Tangle. In the tweet accompanying the news, Ubirch also tagged the IOTA Foundation.
— UBIRCH (@Ubirch_Trust) January 21, 2021
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Ubirch’s IOTA and Ethereum based solution
As Matthias Jugel, CTO of Ubirch, recently revealed in an interview with Christoph Bergmann, the company initially tested the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchain. Due to the high transaction fees, Ubirch therefore developed a method for scaling the application that is very reminiscent of Ethereum’s rollups:
We form a sidechain, so to speak, by aggregating sensor data into a hash tree. We then place the root of the hash tree on a blockchain at certain intervals.
In the process, no test data ends up on the blockchain, only trust anchors. Therefore, the user retains control over the data. Bergmann also learned that Ubirch is depositing aggregated data on the Ethereum blockchain at low frequencies, as well as higher ones on the IOTA Tangle and Ethereum Classic blockchains. In addition, the startup is also testing Govchain, a private Ethereum-based blockchain from Germany, and also the Bloxberg certification chain.
An inquiry from CNF to Ubirch regarding the expansion of the pilot project to other counties or states was not answered by press time.