Swiss Railway uses blockchain to ID workers on construction sites

By Folake Dosu  |  November 25, 2018

blockchain-swiss-railway

Maintaining security on construction sites usually requires third parties. Coindesk reports that Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has recently wrapped up a six-month proof-of-concept (PoC) for a credentials management system that uses blockchain to verify employees at the company’s construction sites.

The project is intended to help the SBB make the switch from manual, paper-based processes to an “agile working environment with a digital, audit-proof solution based on blockchain,” according to a statement that Daniele Pallecchi, the Swiss national rail company’s spokesperson, made to CoinDesk.

“Construction sites on the SBB network often involve third parties. For safety reasons, there are strict requirements regarding the qualification of personnel,” Pallecchi explained.

Blockchain startup Linum Labs helped make this solution a reality using uPort, an open-source technology from the ConsenSys product suite.

According to CoinDesk, workers used the uPort app on their mobile devices to create digital identities and SBB issued certificates upon successful completion of training during this proof-of-concept. For SBB workers, these digital IDs required to check in and check out at construction sites using QR codes on their smartphones.

“Using uPort, railway workers, certification authorities and supervisors are able to have their own unique digital identities linked to their respective uPort ID’s, which is then anchored to an identity on the blockchain. A hash of the worker’s check-in / check-out activities is published to the blockchain so that the internal database can be audited.”

Linum Labs described the collaboration in a Medium post. “Using uPort, railway workers, certification authorities and supervisors are able to have their own unique digital identities linked to their respective uPort ID’s, which is then anchored to an identity on the blockchain,” Linum Labs wrote. “A hash of the worker’s check-in / check-out activities is published to the blockchain so that the internal database can be audited.”

As an open source technology, uPort has had some growing pains including an architecture upgrade to address lags common to Ethereum as well as GDPR compliance concerns since blockchain can run afoul to the right to be forgotten. As a workaround for the latter, users’ personal information is stored off-chain, on users’ smartphones, according to uPort’s head of product Thierry Bonfante.

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