- Germany has awarded IBM and Ubirch the contract to create the digital COVID-19 vaccination passport.
- Ubirch previously implemented his IOTA based solution in two German states.
As reported by the Ted Europe portal, IBM and Ubirch have been awarded the contract to issue a digital COVID-19 vaccination passport. The contract was awarded by the German Federal Ministry of Health (BGM). Der Spiegel learned that Ubirch was awarded 51 percent of the contract, “with its blockchain-based system,” and IBM 49 percent.
Thought of as an add-on option to the yellow vaccination card, holders of the digital certificate can store COVID-19 vaccination verification data “conveniently on their cell phones.” According to Süddeutscher Zeitung, the partners will deliver “a vaccination certificate app, a testing app and a backend system for integration in doctors’ offices and vaccination centers.” In total, the partners have received €2.7 million to implement this solution. The contract provides:
The purely technical implementation of a digital vaccination card will take approximately 12 weeks. The reasons for this are the complexity of the solution, the necessary data protection and security checks, and the connection of approximately 55,000 practices and about 410 vaccination centers.
The app will allow individuals to use a QR code that acts as a unique fingerprint, while the data will be stored “on 5 blockchains,” according to current reports. In addition, however, those vaccinated will also receive a plastic card with a QR code immediately after vaccination.
As various news portals report, IBM and Ubirch were awarded the contract ahead of Deutsche Telekom and supposedly prevailed “due to rapid deployment.” In addition, the German COVID-19 vaccination passport is said to be compatible with other European versions.
The partnership between IOTA and Ubirch
Ubirch’s solution has already been tested in two pilot trials in Altötting, Bavaria, and Zollernalbkreis, Baden-Württemberg. As CNF reported, Ubirch relies on 5 public blockchains / DLTs to anchor the information of Ubirch’s FastChainer service: IOTA, Ethereum Classic and the Ethereum-based blockchains “Bloxberg” and “govdigital”.
However, with Ethereum facing major “congestion issues” and high fees, IOTA seems to be the best choice. Speaking to CNF in January, a spokeswoman for Ubirch said the company uses the IOTA tangle because it “has high scalability and can be used without transaction costs.” That last factor, she said, was the deciding factor in its choice. In addition, the company stated:
For Ubirch, the IOTA Tangle is characterized primarily by the comparatively high transaction rate and non-incurring transaction costs. Depending on the maximum transaction rate and transaction costs of the blockchains used, Ubirch anchors into the connected blockchains with varying frequency.
However, it remains to be seen what (leading) role IOTA will now play in the nationwide vaccination passport. Ubirch has not yet commented on this.