A Welsh Government fully funded research and development scheme entitled “Demonstrating the Potential of Blockchain”, run by Blockchain Connected, attracted such a significant level of interest and high-quality applications that a total of nine projects have successfully received funding.
Launched in January this year, the “Blockchain Challenge” is being delivered by Blockchain Connected – part of Technology Connected, the network for the technology industry in Wales.
Blockchain Connected invited companies and organisations from across Europe to submit a problem they had around the themes of the circular economy, decarbonisation, supply chain and digital identity and trust. Using the Welsh-based SimplyDo ideas and solutions digital collaboration platform, 29 private and public sector organisations submitted problems they hoped blockchain technology could solve.
Blockchain tech innovators where then able to examine these problems on the SimplyDo platform and propose solutions using blockchain technology. One hundred and five blockchain ideas were submitted by the tech companies. From that, 21 potential collaborations were formed between the challenge holders and blockchain innovators, which were then whittled down to 16 finalists who pitched their solutions to a judging panel.
Nine collaborative projects were successful and have been fully funded and the blockchain technology providers have already started work on creating the solutions to their partner organisation’s problems.
The companies and organisations with the challenges to be solved are Amey Consulting, Amber, Celsa Steel UK, Delio, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Hendwr, Tata Steel UK, TrakCel and MADE Cymru, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
The blockchain companies who are working on creating the solutions are Bloci, Finboot, iov42, nChain, Stofl and Vizidox Solutions. Three of these blockchain specialists are headquartered in Wales. Either the company or the organisation with the challenge or the blockchain tech company had to be based in Wales to qualify for the funding.
Avril Lewis, from Blockchain Connected, said of the challenge: “We were extremely encouraged by the overwhelming engagement and response to this scheme. The level of interest and challenges posed from organisations within both the public and private sector were exciting and complex and were matched by the imaginative and technical solutions submitted the blockchain companies.
“The collaboration between the challenge holder organisations and blockchain innovators has been very impressive and, thanks to selection by an expert assessment panel, we are delighted that we were able to award funding to these nine projects. The project themes are major challenges faced by business today, so it is important that we will be able to demonstrate how this technology and its adoption can assist businesses and organisations improve their productivity, performance and carbon reduction.
“This Blockchain Challenge will deliver small scale, fully funded research and development projects that will provide real-life case studies to evidence how blockchain technology can meet cross-sector issues. They will also explore how blockchain technology can be used for economic, societal and environmental benefit.”
Avril continued: “The potential for blockchain is unlimited and universal, yet not well understood. Blockchain Connected is building the blockchain community in Wales, and as the go-to organisation for news, insight and connections, we are developing awareness, promoting blockchain’s impact and championing its needs.
“We believe, that from the results of these projects, we can demonstrate the potential for Wales to develop as a centre of excellence for blockchain and its applications.”