Switzerland-based startup Procivis presented its eGovernment-as-a-Service proof of concept at Microsoft’s public sector digitization day in Bern, Switzerland on January 24. The startup lead by blockchain entrepreneur Daniel Gasteiger aims to “empower citizens by providing eGovernment applications built around self-sovereign digital identities and personal data security” by combining distributed ledger technology with Estonia’s e-government leading experience in that field.
Procivis is receiving guidance from the Managing Director of Estonia’s e-residency program, Kaspar Korjus, who is providing strategic advice for the development of the platform. Korjus believes that ”Procivis has a unique opportunity to build a solution that will help overcome these hurdles, boost the digitization of entire countries and empower its citizens. It’s a bold ambition, and I’m excited to be part of it.”
At Microsoft’s public sector digitization day, Procivis presented their blockchain-based mobile e-voting system that would allow citizens to vote in a secure and tamper-proof manner. However, Procivis’ platform intends to offer more than a simple e-voting platform. Procivis aims to build a full range of public sector administration services apps for citizens, including tax filing, land registry, and digital identities. Due to the blockchain’s ability to securely store and transfer data, it is the ideal technology to build such a system.
Provicis’ presentation was also accompanied by a study that draws a comparison between Estonia’s and Switzerland’s digital evolution over the course of the last 20 years. The study was produced by political scientists Nele Leosk and Dr. Maarit Ströbele and was coordinated by Prof. Dr. Alexander Trechsel of Swiss consulting firm xUpery.
The study suggests that successful digitization of public services requires political support, strong private-public partnerships to develop efficient, user-friendly services and a clear timeline and strategy to introduce digital identities in the country.
“The study has revealed the particular strengths of Estonia’s approach, which made the country a poster child for e-government. Our research also shows that, despite having the reputation of being one of the most innovative countries, Switzerland so far hasn’t sufficiently seized the opportunities of digitization in the public sector,” Prof. Dr. Trechsel stated.
Procivis founder Daniel Gasteiger was “deeply impressed” when he learned about Estonia’s digital public sector services and said, “by bringing Estonia’s leading e-government experts on board and adding our blockchain experience, our aim is to create a platform that can serve as the future electronic backbone of democracies across the globe.”
Procivis was founded in 2016 and is currently in the process of raising seed funding to develop its platform further.