Winterthur ZH – Researchers at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences have teamed up with Swisscom to develop an app that enables digital signatures to be used on the blockchain. This makes the conclusion of legal agreements possible.

Blockchain technology is revolutionising the exchange of goods via the internet. Transactions can be processed transparently without recourse to a central body. However, it has so far not been possible to use qualified electronic signatures directly on the blockchain. A digital signature replaces the handwritten one and is required on concluding certain contracts and legal transactions in Switzerland, for example.

The Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) highlighted in a press release that the lack of this type of signature has until now been a hurdle for the legally compliant use of the blockchain. The ZHAW has worked together with Swisscom to create a prototype of a smart contract platform, which allows the written form requirement to be met on the blockchain. The smart contract based on the Ethereum blockchain includes an interface with the signature service of Swisscom. Transactions on the blockchain can therefore be given a legally valid qualified electronic signature.

The solution developed by the ZHAW and Swisscom can reportedly be integrated in existing blockchain systems relatively easily. It not only supports signatures in accordance with Swiss requirements, but also pursuant to the European Union’s eIDAS Regulation. “This opens the door for a whole host of international application possibilities,” said Peter Amrhyn of Swisscom. 

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