Swiss startup Procivis is set to release a pilot version of its blockchain-powered e-government “app store,” including a digital identity service, by Q4 of 2017. The company is currently in talks with clients in Switzerland, two cantons and a national government body, as well as two other countries for potential pilot programs, Daniel Gasteiger, founder of Procivis, told Bitcoin Magazine.
A former UBS banker, Gasteiger is the co-founder of nexussquared, a Zurich-based fintech platform focusing on blockchain technology that provides business coaching services and consulting, and operates an acceleration program called nexuslab.
His latest venture, Procivis, is focusing on applying blockchain technology to the public sector and governance.
The company is developing a blockchain-powered platform designed to run a government-curated “app store” offering the full range of public administrative services, including tax filings, land registry and commercial registry. Procivis is working closely with Estonian e-government experts to develop its “e-government as a service” solution.
Kaspar Korjus, the managing director of Estonia’s e-Residency program, is one of Procivis’s strategic advisers.
“Learning about the level of digitization of the public sector in Estonia left me deeply impressed, especially when looking at the state of digitization in Western Europe, including Switzerland,” said Gasteiger. “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.”
After regaining independence in 1991, Estonia embarked on a period of modernization that established the foundation needed to bring the country into the digital age.
Estonia’s use of modern information and communication technologies in the public sector has placed the country at the forefront of states that are seeking to modernize their public sector and provide transparent governance.
The e-Estonia movement, which focuses on facilitating citizen interactions with the state through the use of electronic solutions, nurtured the development of several e-services and programs, including i-Voting, e-Tax Board, e-Business, e-Banking, e-School and most notably e-Residency, a program that offers electronic residency to people from outside the country.
Switzerland and Beyond
Procivis will be targeted at the Swiss market primarily but will also seek to serve other markets as well. More specifically, Gasteiger noted that the platform could help countries that are falling behind in their e-government effort to leapfrog their counterparts.
“Given Switzerland’s relatively poor position in international e-governance rankings, and of course the fact that Switzerland is our home base, we are naturally targeting Switzerland as a whole, along with its 26 sovereign states (cantons) for our e-government platform,” said Gasteiger. “But we also strongly believe that we can have a powerful impact in countries with slightly less advanced e-government services (few or no ‘legacy’ systems) or in ‘younger’ democracies, more keen to invest in e-governance ‘2.0’ and thus bypassing the ‘trial and error phase’ of other countries’ implementation programs for such services, along with the obsolete technologies that come with it.”
He added: “We are very much looking to work with such countries to help them deliver e-services to their citizens based on secure digital identities similar to what India has been doing with their Adhaar program, for instance.”
Procivis is now looking to raise 1 million CHF ($1 million) in seed capital to secure key managerial positions, finance research and development, and fuel growth in foreign markets. The company is currently in talks with potential joint-venture partners to help it bring the pilot version of its platform to real life and further development.