The provincial council of Bizkaia, one of the provinces of the Basque Country in Spain, is letting companies and citizens run experiments with its blockchain platform in the hope of spinning off useful public and commercial services. “We consider this part of the public infrastructure, similar to roads or healthcare,” explains Valentin Garcia Souto, head of development and innovation at the IT department of the Diputación Foral de Bizkaia.
A first version of the platform, called Blockchain4all, was presented at the end of 2018. “It puts at the disposal of our citizens a software-as-a-service platform where they can try out new services,” Mr Garcia told the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory. “If successful, their ideas and products can then be placed on their own infrastructure, or in the cloud.”
To access Blockchain4all, citizens and companies need to get in touch with the Provincial Council (Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia) or Lantik, a government-owned ICT service provider. Other potential users include universities in the region, the governments of the Álava and Gipuzkoa provincial councils in the Basque Country, municipalities, and the Basque Country open source industry association ESLE. “We expect to provide access to the first few external users before the summer,” Mr Garcia said.
The Bizkaia Hyperledger blockchain platform runs entirely on open source software. Components include operating system Red Hat Linux, cloud platform Kubernetes, container management suite OpenShift, data stream platform Apache Kafka, and computer cluster configuration management software Apache ZooKeeper.
The first version used self-signed certificates to authenticate blockchain members and manage roles. Following an overhaul in 2019, Blockchain4all now uses certificates signed by the Basque government-owned public certification authority, Izenpe.
The provincial council of Bizkaia itself expects to use the Hyperledger blockchain for services including taxes, real estate, debt records and school exam results.