Blockchain is high on the agenda of the newly established Bavarian Ministry of Digital Affairs. As a first step, the Ministry will release an app for validating educational records.

The German state of Bavaria, the most southern state in Germany, shows first ambitions to join the Crypto alley. Since last year, the state has its own Ministry of Digital Affairs, and blockchain seems to be high on the ministry’s agenda.

Blockchain-enabled training certificates

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Munich and Upper Bavaria will issue its first blockchain-enabled training certificates next spring. The project is in cooperation with the Ministry of Digital Affairs – which was newly established last year. In the future, employers can use a blockchain to determine whether the certificates are genuine.

The Ministry will develop a web application that companies can use to verify the authenticity of certificates using blockchain-based hash values. Applicants can then send the key validating their documents together with their job application to companies, who can use the Ministry’s app to verify certifications.

Judith Gerlach, the Digital Minister of Bavaria, said, “This offers a huge advantage for both applicants and companies. The authenticity of certificates can be checked in just a few clicks. This is a kind of digital quality seal — Blockchain, Made in Bavaria.” 

Gerlach said if the pilot is successful, the Ministry may also implement a blockchain-based system for school and university certificates in the future, adding:  “The certificates are a first step for the concrete use of blockchain in administration and can theoretically be extended to any type of document, whether a certificate, deed or contract. We want to launch more practical applications soon.”

Strategy Bavaria Digital: Blockchain is a major focus

Blockchain is an integral part of Bavaria’s “Strategy Bavaria Digital.” In December 2019, the Ministry launched the “Bavarian Center for Blockchain,” a unit to support the build-up of blockchain applications, launch its own blockchain-initiatives, and facilitate knowledge exchange around blockchain. The unit will start working in 2020 and explore opportunities and potential risks of the technology.

At first, the Bavarian Center for Blockchain will focus on government-run blockchain applications, such as the app to verify educational records. Later, there will be more projects and cooperations with private enterprises.

Bavarian research institutions are getting involved

Bavaria-based research institutions have started to look into blockchain as well. The Fraunhofer Blockchain Lab, a cooperation between the Universities of Bayreuth and Augsburg, works in a multidisciplinary manner on the design, development and evaluation of blockchain solutions.

The TUM Blockchain Research Cluster in Munich involves disciplines across the university’s numerous faculty chairs to research technological, economic, legal and social issues related to blockchain technology.

Based in Munich, the globally active Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i focuses on the use of blockchain technology in the insurance industry. The main focus is on the development of blockchain prototypes for use in (re)insurance agreements.

Altogether, the Bavarian state has recognized the potential of blockchain and is preparing for the future. A development that also fits nicely to the course of the German federal government and the progress achieved in neighboring Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

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