Enterprise Ethereum Alliance stalwart Nuco has been awarded funding under the Small Business Innovation Challenge (SBIC) program delivered by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) on behalf of the Government of Ontario.

As a part of the SBIC Digital Identity Program, Nuco will work on a solution to improve digital identity verification with the help of technology-driven local businesses.

Launched in March, SBIC is an integral part of Ontario's Business Growth Initiative and Ontario's new economic strategy. Under this new partnership, OCE and the Government of Ontario are helping SMEs launch their innovations from the idea stage to become globally competitive products and services. The SBIC program uses public sector challenges as a platform for inspiring SMEs to develop and test innovative technology solutions, said a statement.

Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of OCE, said: "SBIC is part of the expanding field of innovation-based procurement, in which the public sector is a first customer of innovation. Innovation-based procurement drives better experiences and value-for-money for all of us as consumers of government services while also driving the creation of high-quality jobs and economic activity in Ontario."

Nuco has proposed an application that provides autonomy when it comes to digital identity, allowing users complete control over what they reveal and streamlining updates to their information across all agency databases.

Current physical identification cards reveal more information than is required and are difficult to authenticate while easy to duplicate. As government agencies operate in silos, each maintains their own systems leading to redundancies and requiring users to have multiple touch points when updating their information.

Nuco's proposed application will be backed by blockchain technology to allow different government agencies to connect and access the same distributed database. This will allow updates in user data to be synchronised among all agencies in real time through one digital identification application. Smart contracts within the network will ensure access to information is secure, and only permissioned access is granted.

Matthew Spoke, CEO of Nuco, said: "We're honored to be recognised by the Government of Ontario in our efforts to build solutions with blockchain technology. We look forward to working with Ontario's government and business leaders to apply innovations to build a better future."

Nuco's proposed application takes into account other provinces and nations' use of blockchain technology to advance digital identity processes. The company recently introduced Aion, the first interoperable blockchain network powering communication between public and private blockchains.

Spoke was one of the earliest people in the enterprise space to grasp the possibilities offered by Ethereum. He then acted on it by launching a blockchain-focused division within Deliotte in Canada.