Self-Sovereign Identity: Medium-sized businesses digitalise trust

How can trust be digitised? Marcus Olszok, Head of carTRUST at Christoph Kroschke GmbH, and Jan Christoph Ebersbach, Head of Blockchain Engineering CHAINSTEP GmbH, report on how the trusting cooperation with customers in car registration is transferred to digitization. The carTRUST project, which will go live in early 2021, relies on self-sovereign identity technology for this purpose. Learn more about the carTRUST project and the Self-Sovereign Identity technology in this Expert Talk (in German language).

Joachim Soergel, Managing Director of inveni portum solutions, and Madjid Tehrani, Blockchain Architect from CHAINSTEP, explain about and discuss some key questions when it comes to the usage of Blockchain for the Maritime Business:

  • What are the recent developments in the area of “Maritime Blockchain”?
  • What values does blockchain add to current technologies for the Maritime Business?
  • How to approach a blockchain project in the Maritime Business?
  • What are the challenges to implement blockchain based solutions?

Below the recording is linked to the Expert Talk.

Shop Window Secure Digital Identities

With its innovation competition “Showcase Secure Digital Identities”, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) has called for the development of convincing concept ideas for the broad application of Secure Digital Identities (SDI). The competition is to focus on municipalities, cities and metropolitan regions. Under the name STEREO, a consortium from the Hamburg metropolitan region has successfully applied and is working out its concept idea in competition with ten other consortia from other regions in Germany between June and November 2020. During this period, the feasibility and practicability of the concept has to be checked, obstacles identified and the prerequisites created for a quick and efficient implementation of the concept idea in a subsequent implementation phase. At the end of 2020 it will be decided which consortia may test their concepts in a three-year implementation phase starting in April 2021.

STEREO – the project from Hamburg

The approach of the STEREO consortium: We create the secure digital identity for municipal mobility services. In doing so, it is important to us that citizens can register and log on to services on the Internet using simple, fast and trustworthy procedures. The protection of personal data has the highest priority. Our project focuses on the high relevance of the STEREO Use Cases in everyday life. To ensure this, we are approaching citizens and ask for their support.

Identities form the basis for trust by reflecting the certainty of knowing a partner in action. To avoid misuse, however, not only the identity of the owner, but also the identity of the object triggering the action must be electronically verifiable without any doubt. This is where the STEREO project comes in by generating and linking secure digital identities of vehicles, their owners and users. Vehicle owners can identify themselves completely digitally via their smartphone or tablet and use an ID solution of their choice. The digital identity thus created, in combination with the vehicle’s digital right of disposal, serves as the basis for a variety of usage scenarios in the mobility world of the future
The STEREO use cases

The use cases were selected with a view to daily vehicle use in order to ensure the greatest possible coverage and transferability to everyday situations. It is possible that further use cases will be added. It should also be noted that the use cases are not yet final in terms of design.

Click here for the STEREO website.

The German government is pushing ahead with the development of its blockchain strategy. On the one hand, institutions and companies had the opportunity until the end of March 2019 to present their views on fields of application and challenges with regard to technology as well as economic, ecological and legal issues at an “Online Consultation for the Development of the Federal Government’s Blokchain Strategy”.
In addition, the Federal Ministry of Finance invited around 30 experts to a “Workshop on Blockchain Technology” at Bundesdruckerei on 26 March. Photos were not permitted during the workshop – for security reasons, the cameras of all smartphones and computers were masked before entering the well-secured premises.Participants were also asked not to disclose any details of the workshop to the outside world.
The clearly positive attitude of the experts on the part of the authorities was pleasing. During the discussions about potentials, limits and applications of blockchain technology, it became clear that in many areas (open) standards, interoperability and governance structures are gaining in relevance.
The “Workshop on Blockchain Technology” of the Federal Ministry of Finance was a sensible and, in our opinion, a good step towards the formulation of a future-oriented blockchain strategy of the Federal Government.

The European Chemical Distributors Association Fecc had invited to the French Riviera in Nice in early June. Current topics of the industry were discussed during a two-day congress. The members had set themselves the goal of using Blockchain as a field of technology for this year. CHAINSTEP had the honour to give an introductory lecture on this technology and to point out possible fields of application of the blockchain in chemical distribution. Richard Zbinden of CoreLedger then presented the visionary marketplace idea of the start-up.

In the concluding round of questions, it became clear that the industry is intensively examining the potential of the blockchain, particularly in the area of platform economics. The approach of a consortium presented by CHAINSTEP for such applications was also intensively discussed at the evening event at the Mark Chagall Museum.

VDE wants to shape the future, and we were fully involved with the topic of blockchains in the microgrid at the DKE Innovation Campus 2018 on April 12.  Blockchain is one of the main topics that moves standardizers.  More than 270 participants made their way to Hanau, Germany, to discuss technical developments and the resulting requirements for standardization.  After the keynotes and the impulse lectures in the morning, work on the topics continued in the afternoon in three separate tracks.  Blockchain was the core theme of the track we participated in.
Jan Christoph Ebersbach, Blockchain Project Manager at CHAINSTEP, gave a impulse lecture this morning on the use of blockchains in the microgrid of our power supply system.  His message is that the increasing use of renewable energies brings challenges in the area of grid stability, while at the same time the electricity exchanges will have to deal efficiently with tens of thousands of small and medium-sized electricity producers in the future.  Blockchain technology fits these new requirements very well and can become an important infrastructure component in the energy transition.  Jan Christoph presented a series of prototypes and concepts on which industry and research are currently working.  The further presentations in the blockchain track in the afternoon and the positive feedback we received at the congress underline the relevance of blockchains in the microgrid.  See the entire impulse lecture here:
 However, the path to production deployments of blockchains in the microgrid does not only require the commitment of individuals, especially IT-driven companies and researchers.  At the congress it became clear that a stronger cooperation between electrical engineering and computer science is necessary in order to benefit from the potential and find solutions for future challenges.  Our discussions at the Innovation Campus 2018 give us the positive impression that this has been recognized by many and we look forward to contributing our expertise to the process.
Read more about the Innovation Campus here.

November 21 and 22, 2017, Roland Berger hosted the Urban Logistics Convention in Amsterdam, together with the German Federal Logistics Association (BVL) and supported by the Dutch and French logistics associations VLM and ASLOG. More than 100 top-level experts representing almost all stakeholders in the industry (corporations, start-ups, research, and policy makers) convened in Amsterdam to share insights, plans and ideas. Participating corporations and institutions included UPS, DPD, Bpost, Deutsche Post DHL, Zalando, La Poste, FM Logistics and Foodora as well as representatives of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the University of Rome and the World Economic Forum. CHAINSTEP was one of the presenting companies and presented the potential of blockchain technology in urban logistics. Please find the agenda to the event here, and a report here.

At the end of June, the “Innovationsforum Blockchain” sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research presented itself for the first time with an evening event on “Blockchain and Banking”. The evening was moderated by Frank Bolten, CHAINSTEP Managing Partner. In the premises of the lawyer and tax advisory firm CMS Hasche Sigle in Hamburg, nearly 80 interested persons had gathered. The evening was opened by Dr. Jan C. Rode, project manager at the Innovationsforum and CHAINSTEP Marketing Manager, before Bolten took over the moderation.

Moritz Gerdes from Comdirect Bank gave a talk on blockchain-based innovations and future scenarios for the financial sector. Comdirekt itself works on a blockchain use case for peer-to-peer trading of CFDs with risk limitation. Participants can issue financial contracts themselves and act directly without an intermediary. The first test ran on Ethereum, which proved to be not yet perfomant enough for this case, the second series of tests will be handled by the Linux and IBM supported Hyperledger blockchain. “Due to its special characteristics, the blockchain technology is predestined for use in the financial sector. In theory, the improved security architecture could simplify operational processes, but some regulatory hurdles still need to be overcome “, summarized the Innovation Manager.

Dr. Jörn Heckmann, host for the evening and senior associate at CMS, spoke about smart contracts. This does not include contracts in the proper sense, but automatically and previously unstoppable programs, which, however, can lead to legal consequences (eg if the leasing company blocks the ignition in the case of ubpaid leasing leases for the car). Here, the contractors act as both judicial and executive power (in the event of a loss) – something which we deliberately separate in our society and gives a first glimpse of possible regulation within the blockchain world. “However, Smart Contracts are the logical next step in a world where contracts are digitized and automated,” says Heckmann.

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandner is the head of the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. In his talk he reviewed the efficiency of our current payment system in comparison to the increasingly popular blockchain technology. In Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), startups take ever higher and higher sums – in part only for concepts and not even for functioning prototypes. “Nevertheless, banks and other intermediaries have to think about their business model if they want to remain part of the development,” said the blockchain expert.

The event was rounded off by a short panel with moderator Bolten and all three guests, before the buffet and networking were opened after just 2.5 hours. Here you can read the report of the Innovationsforum (including videos of the lectures).

“Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise the energy system.” Using this quote from Süddeutsche Zeitung the Germany Energy Agency dena invited to participate at the dialogue forum “Blockchain – new opportunities for the energy market” to Berlin´ Novotel on the 1st of March 2017. Almost one hundred guests followed this invitation and experienced a day full of information as well as interesting discussions around blockchain technologies.

After some welcome words by Andreas Kuhlmann, Chairman of the dena executive board, and by Dr. Wolfgang Langen from BMWi, Philipp Richard, project director at dena, explained about the agenda of the day and how this dialogue forum fits into the dgitization projects of dena.

Afterwards I had the pleasure to hold some introduction presentation to blockchain (please find the link to the presentation below). A brief Q+A session next to my presentation was a good indicator that a reasonable share of the participants already had digged into the “blockchain space”.

Following there was an interesting panel discussion among a couple of energy market experts. Tobias Frederico from Energy Brainpool brought a distinctive aspect into play: “Blockchain can make the energy transition more reliable.” And Kirsten Hasberg, Co-Founder of, made an interesting comparism between early promotors of Renewable Energy and Blockchain.

Christoph Burger, Senior Lecturer / Senior Associate Dean of Executive Education ESMT Berlin, was next with his talk about “Business fields for blockchain in the energy sector”. Clear statement: the focus for the development of blockchain-based applications should be on process optimization and on platforms.

Before the coffee break a workshop part was conducted – divided into three groups: technology and efficiency, data protection and data security as well as standards, interfaces and regulation. The interesting discussions held there made it obvious, how complex the challenges in the energy sector are – especially when it comes to the usage of new technology concepts like blockchain.

The final presentation was held by Prof. Dr. Strüker, professor for energy management at the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt. He concentrated on what concretely needs to be done now to come from the idea to a real implementation. E.g. I found his statement that we are on the way into a realtime energy economy remarkable.

Phillip Richard, Project Lead Energy Systems and Energy Services at dena, about the dialogue forum “Blockchain – new opportunities for the energy market”:

“It is important to understand the key characteristics of digitization in order to seize its opportunities and to handle its risks. Among its key characteristics are e.g. extremely high amounts of data that are being exchanged at an increasing pace; the possibility of data scaling and an increasingly accurate identification of target groups; aspirations for transparency and sharing; multiple use of data sets for different purposes. The vision of blockchain addresses these key characteristics in a unique way and offers the potential for solutions both for upcoming questions concerning digitization in general and for the issues of data security and data protection in particular. On its way to concrete solutions and applications the blockchain technology has yet to confirm its ambitious targets. Trust in this technology has to build up slowly and the efficiency of the technology will have to increase significantly in the coming years.”

Please find additional information on the event on the dena website (german only).

Take a look at the presentation on Slideshare:

Some days before Christmas “Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)” invited to hold an expert talk about “use cases for blockchain technology” on behalf of the Bundeswirtschaftsministerium BMWi (Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy). The meeting was well organised by Matthias Kuom (DLR) and had the main purpose to discuss the innovation potential of blockchain technology among a small number of experts from academics and business on the one side and a couple of members from BMWi and DLR on the other side. The accountable department from BMWi uses that kind of event formats during the opinion-building process when the necessary steps shall be defined to foster the development of attractive ICT solutions for the national economy , especially for the German “Mittelstand”.

As a start I was asked to hold a 15 minutes presentation on blockchain (you find the presentation below), after that each out of our expert group of seven had the opportunity to comment on three mayor topics: “state of play”, “disruptive potential” and “the role of the government”. The further participating experts were (in alphabetical order):

Raimund Gross (Innovation Manager Blockchain from the SAP Innovation Center Network)
Prof. Wolfgang Prinz (Vice Chair Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT)
Philipp Richard, Project Director at the “Deutsche-Energie-Agentur GmbH” (Dena)
Stefan Teis (SVP, Group Product & Business Development, Deutsche Börse AG and Member of the Governing Board of the Hyperledger Projekts)
Stephan Zimprich (Partner at the law firm Fieldfisher and head of the competence group blockchain at the eco association)

In a closing discussion round some additional experts played an active role. With Kirsten Hasberg, energy expert BlockchainHub Berlin, gave very interesting insights into blockchain based projects in the market for renewable energies. Another expert was Dr. Martin Holland, who is a member of the management board of PROSTEP AG and the responsible coordinator of the interesting project SAMPL (Secure Additive Manufacturing Platform), which you can find here.

During my business life I happened to attend a couple of events with the target to convey the standpoints of academics and business to responsible persons from the government. The expert talk “use cases for blockchain technology” for me was an outstanding event. The chosen format (brief introduction presentation as a start, afterwards a round of questions to well chosen experts following a clear framework and finishing with a discussion round) was well fitting the complexity of blockchain. And our “target audience” – the members from BMWi and DLR – were well prepared and put intelligent questions what led to good and intensive discussions.

For sure there will be further events “politics meets blockchain”. The many-layered aspects of the blockchain technology bear enormous potential, where politics can, and probably here and there must, play an important role – either when we look at regulations challenges or when we look at the gonvernment as a user.