Swiss bank-note printer acquires stake in Procivis to build digital identity “one-stop shop”
The venerable company that holds a monopoly on printing money in Switzerland made a strategic investment in Procivis, which specializes in digital ID systems, as part of a plan to create a hub for Swiss digital identity services, swissinfo.ch reports.
The digital ID system could be used for voting and government services, opening a bank account, proving age eligibility for alcohol purchases, or issuing diplomas. Payment systems could also integrate eID.
Orell Füssli CEO Daniel Link says printing secure documents made up CHF101 million (US$104 million) in revenues, out of a CHF237 ($245 million) total in 2019.
“Physical money and documentation will not disappear overnight, but they are also going digital,” Link told swissinfo.ch. “We have a three to five-year strategy to position ourselves for this development.”
Orell Füssli will take two seats on the Procivis board, though the amount invested has not been revealed. The trust the former has from governments in Switzerland, Asia, Africa and South America, combined with the technical expertise of Procivis, positions the companies to build an ecosystem that provides a “one-stop shop” for digital identity services that governments, banks and other businesses can use within the next five years.
Procovis has previously developed an eGovernment strategy for the Swiss canton of Schaffhausen.
The data security infrastructure and traditional neutrality of Switzerland could also help the combined pitch, and Link suggests that it is undesirable for Google or Apple to end up dominating the market.
A referendum on whether the Swiss government should take over the country’s digital ID efforts is planned for autumn of this year.
Goode Intelligence recently revised its forecast for how many digital identity verification checks will be carried out during 2020 up by 15 to 20 percent from the original estimate of 704 million due to widespread home isolation.