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Developer(s)Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions
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Written inJava
LicenseMIT License
Websitex-road.global Edit this on Wikidata

X-Road is a "centrally managed distributed Data Exchange Layer (DXL) between information systems".[1][2] Organizations can exchange information over the Internet using X-Road to ensure confidentiality, integrity and interoperability between data exchange parties.[1]

The first X-Road iteration was developed and launched by Estonia's Information System Authority (RIA) in 2001. The source codes of its central components were released on October 3, 2016 under an MIT License.[3] By February 7, 2018, Finland's and Estonia's data exchange layers were connected to one another.[4] In 2017 Finland and Estonia established the Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS) to continue the development of the X-Road core.[5]


According to their web page, "The X-Road is an open source data exchange layer solution that enables organizations to exchange information over the Internet. The X-Road is a centrally managed distributed integration layer between Information Systems that provides a standardized and secure way to produce and consume services. The X-Road ensures confidentiality, integrity and interoperability between data exchange parties."[6]


X-Road was started in 1998 as a pilot project under Ministry of Economy and Communications and first prototype was publicly presented in 2000. One of the main reasons behind architectural choice of distributed data storage was massive data leak of 1996, where government contractor and computer specialist Imre Perli created and marketed a "superdatabase" containing personal data from various government sources.[7]

The Information System Authority (RIA) at the Ministry of Economy and Communications, developed X-Road and launched the first version in 2001[8] and holds the registered trademark, X-Road.[9]

On October 28, 2014 the government of Namibia entered into a two-year agreement with the e-Governance Academy to implement a data exchange layer based on the X-Road technology.[10]

On October 3, 2016 the source code of central components of X-Road was released under an MIT License.[3]

February 7, 2018, Finland's and Estonia's data exchange layers were connected to one another.[4] X-Road is used nationwide in the Estonian public administration (X-tee) and in the Suomi.fi Data Exchange Layer (Suomi.fi-palveluväylä) service. X-Road has built-in support for connecting two X-Road ecosystems with each other which enables a native cross-border data exchange between Estonia and Finland.[4]

Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS)[edit]

The Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS) was founded jointly in June 2017 by Finland and Estonia, with a mission "to develop e-governance solutions...with the X-Road technology used nationwide in the Estonian X-tee and in the Finnish Suomi.fi Data Exchange Layer services".[11]

The NIIS manages, develops, verifies, and audits X-Road's source code; administers documentation, business and technical requirements; conducts development; develops and implements principles of licensing and distribution; provides second-line support for members, and engages in international cooperation.[5]

X-Road and blockchain[edit]

By April 2018, a number of articles erroneously stated that X-Road is a "blockchain-based technology or it utilizes blockchain internally".[12][13] According to an April 18, 2018 article by Petteri Kivimäki the CTO of the Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS),[14] "There is no blockchain technology in the X-Road."[6] Kivimäki "was the technical lead of X-Road implementation project in Finland and was coordinating the joint open source development of the X-Road solution between Finland and Estonia."[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "X-Road® Data Exchange Layer". X-Road® Data Exchange Layer. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  2. ^ "Data Exchange Layer X-tee | Estonian Information System Authority". x-tee.html. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  3. ^ a b "Source codes released to central components of X-Road used by Estonia and Finland". Population Register Centre. Finland. October 3, 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Finland's and Estonia's data exchange layers connected to one another on 7 February". Population Register Centre. Finland. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions". Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS). Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  6. ^ a b Kivimäki, Petteri (April 26, 2018). "There is no blockchain technology in the X-Road". Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Veldre, Anto (August 28, 2015). "Sissejuhatus X-teesse (osa 1)". Information System Authority blog. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "Introduction to X-Road (part 1)". Information System Authority. Estonia. August 8, 2016. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  9. ^ "Data Exchange Layer X-Road". Information System Authority, Estonia. February 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2018. X-Road, the data exchange layer for information systems, is a technological and organizational environment enabling a secure Internet-based data exchange between information systems
  10. ^ "Estonia to construct secure data exchange layer X-Road for Namibia". e-Governance Academy. 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  11. ^ NIIS 2017 Yearbook (PDF)
  12. ^ Heller, Nathan (December 18, 2017). "Estonia, the Digital Republic". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  13. ^ "Recently there have been multiple writings about the X-Road". e-Estonia via Twitter. May 18, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Petteri Kivimäki". MyData 2018. Speakers' profiles. Helsinki, Finland. nd. Retrieved August 14, 2018.

External links[edit]