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EY helps Vienna authenticate documents using blockchain


Today EY announced that it has been working with the City of Vienna on a public blockchain initiative. The project enables people to verify documents such as transport routes, train schedules, and community voting results.

Hashes are cryptographic representations of documents which look like indecipherable text. These are stored on a public blockchain along with a timestamp. This allows city employees and citizens to verify the authenticity of the documents and the creation date.

The initiative is part of the DigitalCity.Wien project which aims to simplify and automate administrative processes. So far 350 documents have been added to the public blockchain since the project went live in December 2017.

Last November energy company EDF released a system to authenticate press releases. This sounds unusual until you consider the recent French terror attacks and the importance of EDF as a significant energy utility. So any major announcements need to be authenticated by the press.

Ulrike Huemer, CIO, City of Vienna, commented: “With blockchain, government employees, residents or app developers can trace changes in data, so if someone changes the bus route – which is linked to mapping applications – an alert can be triggered.”

“For now, we are only notarizing documents from Vienna on the public blockchains, but we will expand this further to all data of the Austrian Open Government Data portal. Going forward, we anticipate that IT companies and the City of Vienna could collaborate to promote Vienna as a smart city and a hotspot for digital industries,” said Brigitte Lutz, Project Manager, City of Vienna.

Developers from the city of Vienna built the platform. EY helped with project management, supervision, and integration.

Paul Brody, EY Global Innovation Leader, Blockchain, said:”When we think about the most useful applications for blockchain technology, increasing transparency is near the top of the list. From a foundation of transparent, reliable information, we can build all kinds of value add, analytics and insights, but it all starts with trustworthy information.”

Recently EY unveiled several blockchain initiatives. These include the marine insurance project with Maersk, a royalties system with Microsoft, as well as cryptocurrency audit tools.