IDunion announces successful establishment of European cooperative

Frankfurt, 16th of August 2022

IDunion, the consortium created as part of the “Secure Digital Identities Showcase” funding project, has reached the next stage in building a productive, cross-border ecosystem by founding a European cooperative with limited liability (Sociedad Cooperativa Europea, or SCE for short).

Founding meeting of the IDunion SCE on 20.07.2022 (from left to right: Mirko Mollik/TrustCerts GmbH, Markus Sabadello/ Danube Tech GmbH, Dr. Carsten Stöcker/ Spherity GmbH)

  • With the spin-off into the SCE, the infrastructure for verifiable credentials, which was researched and developed in the research project can now go live into production.
  • The European cooperative will be deploying and operating the necessary technical network to provide the operations.
  • This will allow citizens, private-sector organisations and government institutions to augment the digital identifications (eID) provided by governments with use of secure digital credentials for identity attributes required across a wide range of use cases.
  • The legal form of the SCE was chosen as it offers a legally secure basis for the operations of an independent infrastructure for digital credentials.
  • While the IDunion research project was initiated with funding from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (BMWK), the European cooperative aims to secure private sector funding to provide a stable, non-profit business operation.
  • The decision to use the legal form of a Sociedad Cooperativa Europea was driven by IDunion’s core principles of neutrality and openness. It allows all legal entities that adhere to the community values to apply for membership to the SCE. Furthermore a future takeover or control by a single entity is prohibited by this legal form. The guiding principle of the cooperative is the joint establishment of the ecosystem – a task that no individual member can achieve on its own.

On 20.07.2022, the founding members Spherity, Danube Tech and TrustCerts signed the articles of association of the SCE in Essen. “We are very pleased to have achieved this milestone for the IDunion project,” says Helge Michael, consortium Leader of the IDunion research project. “With the IDunion SCE, we have created the ideal basis for building a future-proof identity ecosystem for Europe in which all members can work together as equals. Special thanks goes to the BMWK for providing the funding support as part of the research project ‘Showcase Secure Digital Identities’, which was an essential prerequisite to this next stage,” Michael continues. Dr. Carsten Stöcker, Managing Director of Spherity GmbH, adds: “IDunion SCE provides the legal basis for a cooperative governance structure, which strengthens the interests of individual participants in the interplay of decentralisation and cooperation without allowing a central platform operator to exploit its users economically.”

IDunion: The IDunion research project is a European network that brings together public institutions, government agencies, private organisations, associations, educational institutions and other stakeholders from various fields. Its aim is to develop a fundamentally new, secure digital infrastructure for the verification of identity information.

IDunion SCE: IDunion SCE is a cooperative (European Cooperative Europea) with limited liability that will operate the production network for credential verification, based on the findings of the research project. The SCE and the network are subject to the community governance of its members. Initial founding members of the SCE are:

TrustCerts GmbH: The cyber security start-up TrustCerts from Gelsenkirchen focuses on verifiable credentials and digital identities. TrustCerts’ solution is based on a specially developed blockchain that is compliant with German data protection and security requirements.

Danube Tech GmbH: One of the first companies supporting the Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) concept, the Vienna-based Danube Tech specialises in interoperability between different SSI networks across national borders. Among the products developed by Danube Tech are the Universal Resolver and

Spherity GmbH: The German software provider Spherity provides secure and decentralised identity management solutions for companies, machines, products, data and algorithms. Spherity provides the enabling technology to digitise and automate compliance processes in highly regulated sectors. Spherity’s products strengthen cybersecurity and create efficiency and data interoperability between digital value chains.