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EU digital sovereignty project Gaia-X hands out ID tech contracts

Swiss, German and Indian companies ready the blockchain for Self-Sovereign Identity

The Gaia-X project has awarded work to a consortium including Vereign and DAASI International that takes it one step closer to realising Self Sovereign Identity technology.

A goal of Gaia-X is to reduce the dependency of European companies and governments on US technology providers via a federated European data infrastructure.

Just four months ago, French cloud hosting outfit Scaleway decided to leave the consortium, claiming: "Gaia-X as a construct is only reinforcing the status quo, which is that dominating players will keep dominating."

However, this week's award does not mention the likes of Microsoft or Amazon at all. Instead it is a German (DAASI International) and a Swiss (Vereign) firm that will be popping the code in GitLab for a personal credential manager, organisational credential manager and a trust services API. The first fruits are expected within six months and interested parties are encouraged to get involved during the development phase.

The work falls under the Gaia-X sub-project Gaia-X Federation Services (GXFS) and is aimed at strengthening the digital sovereignty of European users. And wouldn't you know it, it involves a blockchain and, with a certain inevitability, a digital wallet belonging to the user that contains the digital keys for service authentication.

"A decentralised identity is supposed to allow users more self-determination in regards to identity data by putting the user in charge of the storage and transfer of their data," said both Vereign and DAASI.

Vereign, whose name comes from "Verified" and "Sovereign", has form in the arena of verifiable credentials for emails. DAASI is a more than 20-year veteran in IT services, including identity management, access control and directory services for both public and private organisations.

Development, Vereign said, would begin this month and vowed that "basic code" would be available to the community via GitLab within six months. "Any progress will be publicly accessible," it added.

Interestingly, Vereign's and DAASI's statements on the matter fail to mention a third player in the Gaia-X SSI project: Pune-based AyanWorks. While dependency on US tech giants might be frowned upon, at least from a cloud perspective, it seems there is no problem with going elsewhere for one's sovereign identity technology needs. ®

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