22 November, 2018
Small cities can be innovative as well. Zug (Switzerland), 26000 inhabitants, has developed a unique economic environment, not only thanks to its very favorable tax policy but also thanks to its territorial strategy:
Zug’s startup enterprises, fintech incubation firms, and governmental authorities all seem to have open lines of communication; regularly collaborating with the mutual goal of fostering the economic expansion of Zug by supporting the growth of startup companies.
The city has therefore developed a real reputation as a cryptocurrency-related start-up incubator, and has been nicknamed Crypto Valley by Ethereum co-founder Mihai Alisie. The Ethereum Foundation is headquartered in Zug, along with many other fintech enterprises, and the authorities are following suit with the right to pay city fees in… Bitcoins, or the introduction of a blockchain based voting trial in july 2018.
And so Zug is now hosting (one of?) the first crypto bike-share system with AirBie, since november 14th. The service is accessible through uPort’s eID program, that allows Zug residents to register their identities in the form of smart contracts to the Ethereum blockchain. Users’ eIDs also serve as wallets, allowing them to approve Ethereum transactions.
The system is combining two specificities of the blockchain technology: identity verification and payments (as you will be paying in Ethereum). AirBie developers are willing to develop their solution and allow citizens to use their smart-locks on personal bike for peer-to-peer rentals, but so far, the E-bikes are only accessible to Zug residents who have a 20 hours free use.
At a time where authorities understand more and more the importance of open data and data privacy, this might be the answer and the central technology for the future of shared transport.