Border Control by Blockchain: Essentia One Proposes Radical Solution to Dutch Government


Essentia One, a data management framework headquartered in Amsterdam, has entered into talks with the Dutch government regarding border control. If the company’s innovative solution is given the go-ahead, it would be the first time blockchain has been used in a project of this nature. At the heart of the problem is the issue of performing passenger verification on the Amsterdam to London train in a manner that is agreeable to all parties.

At present, passengers are subject to disruption, including being forced to disembark, during the course of their journey to satisfy border control procedures for respective countries. Essentia One’s proposal is to harness the transparency and immutability of blockchain to create a near-real-time solution that would satisfy all countries and alleviate passenger upheaval. “It’s a complex and multifaceted problem,” concedes Essentia co-founder Matteo Gianpietro Zago, “but blockchain has the capacity to address many of the issues that existing solutions have been unable to resolve.”

Together with his colleague and co-founder Mirco Mongiardino, plus Bedros Awanesian (Head of Business Development) and Erik van der Staak (Essentia Advisor), Matteo visited The Hague on 20th February. There, the foursome entered into “productive” talks with the Dutch government, which was represented by the Ministry of Justice & Security, which hosted the meeting, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water (Transport).

During the course of the meeting, the Essentia team outlined their vision for a border control solution that would eliminate current pain points, whilst according to the legal requirements mandated by all agencies and countries concerned. The blockchain-based model the team proposed would make use of the Essentia framework to provide an incorruptible data management system. If enacted, it would make the journey for passengers aboard the Eurostar Amsterdam to London rail service more pleasurable, whilst still furnishing authorities with the necessary information to vet passengers prior to passing through international borders.

Essentia co-founder Mirco was already aware of the disruption caused by the current setup, having personally made the journey on a number of occasions. “It puts an unnecessary strain on travelers and the transport system, and it severely prolongs journey time,” he explains. In fruitful talks with the two Dutch ministries present at the meeting, Mirco and his Essentia colleagues explained some of the benefits that a blockchain-based solution could bring.

“Using Essentia,” explained Matteo “all four countries connected by the Eurostar service (the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom) have the opportunity to independently and remotely identify passengers and confirm whether they have been approved for boarding. This allows for rapid, remote control of which travelers are allowed to enter a target country, based on entry requirements.”

While talks are still at an early stage, the Essentia team spoke of the positive progress that was made, and the open-mindedness of all parties, characterized by a willingness to explore alternative solutions. The Dutch Ministry was receptive to the proposal, not only in regards to its possible implementation on the Eurostar service, but potentially at other border control points within the country. Essentia is now in talks with the Dutch government with a view to trialing such a scheme at other checkpoints within the Netherlands.

The Essentia team expressed their deep gratitude to the Ministry of Justice & Security and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water (Transport) for taking the time to hear their proposal, and for being so receptive to the ideas that were shared. Essentia applauds the officials’ forward-thinking and willingness to adopt innovative technology such as blockchain in the real world in future.

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Images courtesy of Essentia One

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Written by @ March 5, 2018

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