IN Groupe supports blockchain ID project Archipels to drive expansion
Archipels, a French digital identity consortium and project based on blockchain technology, has raised an undisclosed amount of capital from IN Groupe to fuel its expansion.
Founded in the 16th century as the French national printer, the French ID solutions company specializes in the production of secure documents and personal IDs. These products include French national electronic identity cards, as well as passports for nations around the world, including Lebanon and France itself. They also include a project in Africa that is being expanded in collaboration with Entrust.
IN Groupe, which now takes a seat on the board of Archipels, will have an equal stake with its other founding shareholders, the French public sector investor Caisse des Dépôts and France’s largest postal company La Poste.
The Paris-based project says it plans to increase its footprint in international markets, primarily Europe and North Africa, as well as accelerate commercial development and expand its decentralized identity services.
Archipels says it aims to double its headcount by the end of 2024, in departments such as sales, partnerships, product development and technical functions, and also plans to double its customer base by the end of 2023.
Archipels is part of two consortia made up of several EU Member States and industry professionals, set up to manage the pilot deployment of the European Digital Identity Wallet (EUDI Wallet) commissioned by the European Commission. It is also an associate member of the Secure Identity Alliance.
The EUDI wallet is an upcoming mobile phone app that promises citizens of the EU’s 27 constitutional countries a way to store and share digital identity data.
Hervé Bonazzi, CEO of Archipels, says that by working with companies such as IN Groupe and Docapost, the consortium “will be able to benefit from synergies and accelerate the adoption of our technologies by a greater number of companies and organizations.”
Didier Trutt, Chairman and CEO of IN Groupe, adds: “Our entry into the Archipelago’s capital is part of the execution of IN Groupe’s 2025 Digital Odyssey strategy around future identities and digital services, in physical and digital environments.”
This investment is a key step in the development and deployment of decentralized identity solutions that can guarantee sovereignty for authorities and data security for users.”
News comes that the European Digital Identity (EUDI) wallet that Archipels is involved in is attracting significant amounts of funding for its own expansion.
Earlier this month, the European Commission announced that it is set to invest 46 million euros (about $49 million) in the European Digital Identity (EUDI) wallet, in the form of four pan-European pilot programs.
Archipels, founded in 2020 and with a current number of employees of approximately 18, has already won some important domestic projects. In December 2022, Banque de France appointed Archipels to work on the issue of authentication and digital identity for credit institutions.
IN Groupe and Entrust expand partnership for African government identity program
IN Groupe has also expanded its partnership with Entrust to modernize a named African government’s identity program.
The companies said this will improve security and scalability to help address identity challenges now and in the future.
The expansion will see IN Groupe use the Entrust Datacard MX Series Card Issuance System, a hardware solution that allows users to print their own electronic cards, along with its ‘Drop on Demand’ printing technology.
This system will allow a durable and modern card format according to companies, while providing new security features.
In addition, the companies say the MX Series technology will allow the African government to implement electronic identity records as part of its ID-issuance program in the future.
The news follows Entrust winning a contract with the UK government in April 2023, which will see it use its technology to help digitize the UK immigration system.
“Our customers need technology that can help them find a balance between strong security and the ability to scale from a capacity and functionality perspective,” says Yann Haguet, vice president of the Identity Strategic Business Unit at IN Groupe. “Because we have had a long-standing partnership with Entrust, we have a deep knowledge of their solutions and are confident that together we can give our customers peace of mind that their identities will be more secure now and in the future. “
The implementation of digital identity programs in Africa has some significant advocates.
Last month, The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change found that South Africans could save $620 million annually from the introduction of such a program to open bank and electronic money accounts, with the biggest financial benefits going to elderly and rural women.
Similar programs in Rwanda and Ivory Coast were predicted to save $9.7 million annually and $43.7 million, respectively.
Many African countries are already working with Western firms on the development of their national digital identity systems.
Togo recently engaged Atos and Idemia for the implementation of its planned national ID program. The West African country’s MOSIP (Modular Open-Source Identification Platform)-based system is set to include data from finger, face and iris scans.
Africa | Archipelago | biometrics | blockchain | digital identity | Entrust | Europe | IN Groupe | investment