It’s been a heady first year of business for Wallet.Services, the Scottish tech outfit leading the charge in bringing to market the transformative power online of blockchains and related digital ledger technology.
On top of landing major awards – from Edinburgh, where it is based, to New York – the fledgling start-up landed its first client, the Scottish Government, no less, as public services innovation partner to research and write a digital ledger technology (DLT) way forward to underpin its digital strategy.
Blockchains – whether used in public or private value supply chains – are fast growing in significance as more honest, transparent and efficient frameworks for governance and business via the internet, and aimed at bringing a new era of accountability and cybercover plus lasting economic and social benefits all round. This is achieved by using peer-to-peer fully-encrypted networks where everyone follows strict digitally-signed data recording rules in cryptographically secure blocks.
Siccar – old Scots for “sure and trusted” was devised in close collaboration with Scottish Government’s CivTech unit. A successful seed funding round that attracted a group of tech entrepreneurs and business leaders is ensuring the continued development of its “Siccar” platform that applies blockchains to deliver streamlined services based on sharing sensitive data across citizens, government and business. The tech company’s commercial director, Peter Ferry, one of four directors all from tech backgrounds, says its mission is to simplify and secure digital life.
“We’ll build on Wallet.Services role as an innovation partner in public services, grow our blockchain software development team in Edinburgh, and establish a world-class advisory board. The coming months focus on building proof-of-concepts in our government customers, whilst building out the Siccar product.”
Investors include Gordon McKenzie, vice president of Digital Reasoning Corp, who says: “I’m delighted to be joining this exciting venture in what is forecast to be the next major technology transformation. Wallet.Services has rightly seen the opportunity and created a platform that can enable transformations in government and commerce alike.”
Steve Langmead, tech entrepreneur and former head of ATOS (Scotland said:) “They’ve brought together a great mix of technology, skills and experience, people who clearly have the determination to take this exciting technology to the market.”
Well-established tech companies Waracle and Exception are also investors, and Waracle’s chief executive, Chris Martin, sums up: “We believe blockchain will enable both intra-and inter-company collaboration and our combined customer base is starting to explore uses of blockchain.”
Alexander Holt, head of the Scottish Government CivTech Unit, says “We look forward to seeing the accelerated development and implementation of the Siccar platform within governments, thus proving the potential for the safer delivery of public services through use of DLT.”
One example of such international co-operation is when Wallet.Services led a first-time Scots business trip to Estonia. It achieved a dual objective of invaluable long-term cross-border digital knowledge transfer initiatives plus two-way
The visit involved a mix of senior Scottish Government policy representatives and business leaders, underscored by what might be learnt from an eastern neighbour to help in Scotland’s goal to become a world-leading nation in digital public services by 2020.
Ferry, who has become the newly-installed Scottish honorary consul to the republic of Estonia, led the delegation who spent a full day at the E-Estonia showroom, previously visited by France’s President Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Merkel. It proved an eye-opener. On show were drones, robotics and manufacturing all wrapped round digital public services and uniform branding across diverse sectors from healthcare, e-learning to tourism.
The Estonians tell a great story of joined-up digital governance: an entire state public services network built on very little money by fully engaging indigenous tech companies.
Yet in the early Nineties no one in Estonia had actually seen a computer, never mind switched one on. The country’s software industry now contributes an impressive near 10% of gross domestic product. Digital food for thought.