EU Blockathon 2018 winners announced

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The winners of the inaugural EU Blockathon 2018 have been announced at a ceremony in Brussels

The EU Blockathon, organised by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Commission, is a unique event aimed at harnessing the potential of blockchain technology to protect supply chains against counterfeits.

During the course of the event, which ran from 22 – 25 June, eleven teams of coders worked for 48 hours to co-create a series of anti-counterfeiting blockchain solutions for consumers, enforcement authorities, logistic operators and businesses.

Two finalists were chosen out of the participating teams: Team Cryptomice, captained by Thomas Rossi, which scooped the overall EU Blockathon 2018 winning prize and Team Fides.

The EU Blockathon 2018 was divided into three categories, each one reflecting the challenges faced by consumers, logistics operators and customs authorities in the fight against counterfeit products. The Consumer Challenge was won by Team Fides, which developed a “Goodchain” solution to help customers engage with brand owners to boost social causes, while helping them to identify counterfeit products. The runner-up was Team Cryptomice, which created a “virtual twin” product which cannot be cloned or falsified and which is linked to the physical product, registered on the blockchain, and sent ahead of the physical product for verification. The Customs Challenge was won by Team Fides with the “Goodchain” solution. Runners-up were Team Cryptomice with the “virtual twin” solution, and Team The Pirate Busters, which created the “Trusttrack” solution to support customs in identifying efficiencies, with the aim of attaining a higher success rate in stopping fakes. The Logistics Challenge was won by Team Cryptomice with the “virtual twin” solution. The runner-up was Team Seal, which created a solution based around Self Sovereign Digital Twins as well as a parcel for secure shipments called Rootbox.

Work will now begin between winning teams and public and private stakeholders to see how the solutions created by the winning teams can be further developed to contribute to the fight against counterfeiting.

The EUIPO’s own research shows that EUR 60 billion is directly lost each year due to counterfeiting in 13 key economic sectors – approximately 7.5% of total sales, or EU 116 per EU citizen per year.
Because legitimate manufacturers produce less than they would have in the absence of counterfeiting, thus employing fewer workers, 434 000 jobs are also directly lost in these sectors.

The Executive Director of the EUIPO, António Campinos said:
The EU Blockathon springs from the idea that blockchain technologies have great potential in the fight against intellectual property rights infringement. The solutions developed here by these bright groups of coders will, hopefully, have a part to play in that fight, as we work to try to stop counterfeiting both online and offline.

The EU Blockathon event was also marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Online Advertising and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

The MoU is a voluntary agreement, facilitated by the European Commission, which was signed by representatives of the advertising industry, advertisers, right holders and technology providers. All signatories have committed to minimise the placement of advertising on websites and mobile applications which are known to infringe copyright or disseminate counterfeit goods.