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Proud of the Nordics - worried about the Single Market

I have been acting as an independent advisor for the Findyconsortium in Finland (now the public-private Findynet co-operative) since it started in 2018. It aims at implementing a trust infrastructure based on Self-Sovereign Identity and the Trust over IP architecture. Here all citizens, all organisations and many things will get general purpose fact-wallets for sending, receiving and on-warding all sorts of verified data needed in life-event driven services for citizens - of course at home - but especially at work - especially in SMEs. We have used the fact-wallet term instead of ID-wallet used in the EU work - to underline that a persons’ and organisations’ identity is built by a large set of verified data - not only the state-issued identification credential. 

For me there were two eye-openers at an early stage. Firstly that the fact-wallets are interoperable without technical integrations (Findynet infrastructure act as connector) and secondly that four coders at TietoEvery in four months delivered a functioning POC for issuing and trading unlisted shares. The fact-wallets for natural and legal persons (also the public sector) made it incredibly easy and fast to implement a solution in such a complicated area. It is not difficult to see what this will inevitably mean for IT-integration costs, security and privacy in all sectors. Once an e.g. SAP version has been connected to its fact-wallet it will work everywhere..

As a founder in , the Real Time Economy program in Finland and the trust infrastructure is a dream come true. Finally a way to serve life events and radically increase productivity with general purpose tools that are interoperable across sectors and borders and are based on MyData principles and delivers the GDPR art 20 in a sensible way.  As the productivity leap has been estimated to 3-6% (McKinsey) it is obvious that governments should have this as a top priority and work extremely closely together with SSI-experts in enterprises to deliver the open-for-all infrastructure fast - and make sure that both the popular demand and business cases for service providers will be there in time. 

During the last days I have been delighted - even taken aback - by the enthusiasm and skills demonstrated by public-private work in Finland. The full picture is now very widely shared and furthermore the focus is on concrete steps - the organisation wallet and the most important credential to come - the proof of purchase (e-receipt). How it will be available from the merchant wallet to the purchaser wallets and from there forwarded as immutable verified data to fact wallets in accounting, travel expense, insurance, VAT-reporting etc. Without technical integrations…….

I was also very impressed how fast the Swedish public sector saw the opportunity and took the lead together with Finland for getting the up and running - focusing strongly on the organisation wallet. The longstanding work in aiming at implementing Real Time Economy targets across the region is a firm foundation for interoperable e-receipts and other productivity enhancements being implemented fast in the Nordics as a laboratory for Europe. 

I have been worried about the EU commission's seemingly narrow approach to the immense opportunity for productivity improvement and the entirely new level for the Single Market offered by a European Trust infrastructure. Too much focus on identification only, not much on organisation wallets and the need for device neutral wallets. Risk for over-regulation and not enough understanding that nothing will happen unless there is a business case for data service providers.  I did write an open letter to the commission a year ago and have preached about it also here 

Now  version 1 is out and progress have been made -  but there are still question marks. Will it be too heavily regulated? Are there too many optional ways? Should there be a simple best way on the drawing board? Will coalitions of willings be encouraged to move forward? The Nordics for sure will. Have all member states seen the opportunity? What it means for productivity, transparence, democracy, service levels, crime and grey economy counter measures. Is Europe doing all it can to be fully interoperable with the Americas - via the ? 

No efforts should be spared to get the next ARF improved. We should also  make it clear to Europeans that they have the right to get all the verified data they need for their life events (also in organisations) to their fact wallets. The e-receipt is easy to understand and should be a natural part of the narrative. Banks have a big responsiblity and opportunity here and the Mobey Forum has established expert groups to get banks to the table - rather than just staying on the menu...

Enterprises understanding this corporate responsibility with active promotion and new services  - good for society at large in so many dimensions -  will get a similar image surge as experienced with actions against global warming.



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Bo Harald

Bo Harald

Chairman/Founding member, board member

Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program,MyData

Member since

04 Nov 2008


Helsinki Region

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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

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