Orange selected by the EU for a future blockchain project

Blockchain is definitely one of the key topics of 2022. After unveiling the new digital identity service for the agricultural world based on blockchain technology, which we developed in co-innovation with Agdatahub and IN Groupe at the Paris “Salon International de l’Agriculture” at the end of February, it is yet another very ambitious project I’d like to share with you today.

Indeed, last January, the European Commission selected Orange Business Services and its partner SettleMint among the five stakeholders who will be responsible for developing and testing solutions likely to improve the future European blockchain. A decision that makes Orange the only French company selected to work on this exciting and innovative project.

EBSI: an eco-responsible blockchain on a European scale

Created by the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP), the EBSI (European Blockchain Service Infrastructure) uses blockchain technology to provide cross-border public services across the European Union, guaranteeing the security and transparency of transactions.

Benefiting citizens, businesses, administrations and governments alike, this infrastructure guarantees a reliable framework serving as a basis for developing innovative services, simplifying administrative processes, improving mobility within the EU, ensuring compliance with European standards and avoiding waste of resources.

Some use cases – such as the exchange of authenticated diplomas across the EU – have already begun to be tested across Europe by EBP member countries. The ambition is now to scale up EBSI: there is no doubt that tomorrow we will all be (companies, communities, employees, students, consumers, etc.) users or beneficiaries of the numerous possibilities offered by this blockchain.

Our vision of the future European blockchain

Orange Business Services is committed to this project by capitalizing on its technological expertise and critical project management skills and partnering with SettleMint for the Blockchain as a Service part.

At Orange, we recommend an infrastructure model leveraging multiple interoperable blockchains with common identity management and a flexible off-chain registration.

At Orange, we recommend an infrastructure model leveraging multiple interoperable blockchains with common identity management.

 

To ensure the successful adoption of an interoperable blockchain infrastructure by the European Union (EU) and its Member States, we advocate for a fully automated, scalable, easy-to-deploy management system, equipped with tools to help EBSI developers. By deploying SettleMint's Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) solution, we are responding to the high level of scalability required by the project.

As a European infrastructure of strategic importance, our solution will be natively secure and sustainable, thus fully complying with the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050, as set by the European Union.

The solution we are putting forward will be based on real use cases from the industrial world. This will allow us to stick as closely as possible to the needs of the European market and its players and to better measure both the benefits and the viability of the project.

The solution we are putting forward will be based on real use cases from the industrial world.

 

We have chosen to work on two use cases. The main use case, namely the traceability of electronic materials in ADSL routers that provide broadband services to consumers’ homes all over Europe, will improve the recycling of rare metals and digital devices and thus promote the circular economy. By exploiting industrial production data, this use case demonstrates the solution's ability to support high volume and speed. Our second use case explores another of the European Commission’s priorities: the cross-border management of digital rights via blockchain technology, a subject that can apply to many types of contracting procedures, such as copyright for artists, patents, consent and control over the sharing of private data, etc.

Our strengths: expertise and innovation

By requiring a reliable, high-speed and high-volume infrastructure on the one hand and the management of multiple blockchain protocols on the other, EBSI offered a huge challenge. To meet expectations, we are leveraging our Group’s capacities for innovation and mobilizing all our expertise to design, build, test and implement a solution combining several key components:

  • Decentralized identity to identify specific people, companies and objects
  • Graph-oriented database (Thing in the Future) for off-chain data management
  • Decentralized blockchain router to relay transactions to multiple blockchains and address speed, volume and power consumption concerns
  • Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) layer to easily add new blockchain technologies and dynamically add and remove new nodes and computing resources

Often (wrongly) associated with the energy-consuming bitcoin cryptocurrency, the blockchain is a tremendous reservoir of opportunities to secure and streamline our digital life. At Orange, we firmly believe in the potential of blockchain technology, whose most recent versions are increasingly environmentally friendly. As such, I invite you to read Settlemint's publication on the environmental impact of bitcoin, which is very enlightening.

This project carried out with the European Commission is a perfect example of the prominent role that blockchain will play in our daily lives in the years to come. It also illustrates our commitment to becoming a benchmark player in this field. A strong commitment that the Orange purpose perfectly illustrates: “As a trusted partner, Orange gives everyone the keys to a responsible digital world. Our mission is to ensure that digital services are well thought-out, made available and used in a more caring, inclusive and sustainable way in all areas of our business.”

Pierre-Louis Biaggi
Pierre-Louis Biaggi

I am a member of the Management Committee of Orange Business Services and head the Digital and Data entity. With the expertise of 3,500 consultants, developers and data scientists, as well as an open ecosystem of partners, we enable businesses to harness the power of data and digital technology to innovate and reinvent their activities.