The European Union has announced a collaboration between several different agencies, in support of a new €100,000 prize for blockchain development – the latest blockchain project of its kind from the EU.
The prize forms part of an EU-backed blockchain developer event, scheduled for June, which will aim to look at applications of the technology for protecting intellectual property rights.
The European Commission will work in partnership with the Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights and the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The event, to be held in Brussels, will see competitors explore “integrated solutions to combat counterfeiting”.
The team of developers that comes out on top will be awarded €100,000 – equivalent to around $124,000.
The event, dubbed a ‘hackathon’, has been set up primarily to explore blockchain solutions to the problems of counterfeit goods, with EU estimates suggesting as many as 43 million Europeans unwittingly buy counterfeit products.
However, current regulation is not as effective as it could be, with the EU highlighting processes that are “scattered, often working in silos, and criminal networks use this to their advantage.”
Antonio Campinos, the executive director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office, said that blockchain could provide the solution, allowing for better authentication of goods, and more robust protections for intellectual property rights.
“The EUIPO is determined to explore the potential of blockchain to interconnect systems and ensure security and immutability of data in order to add trust to our legitimate ecosystem for the benefits of citizens, enforcers and companies alike. We believe a strong networked alliance can be built to secure logistics, ensure the authenticity of goods, protect consumers and combat criminal and illegal activities.”
Intellectual property has long been regarded as one of the primary use cases for blockchain technology, with early models relying on the bitcoin blockchain to track and store digital ownership certification.
IP remains a key focus for a number of blockchain startups, with several recent projects set up to focus on applications within specific industries, including user-generated content and protection for musical works, in a project led by the American Society for Composers.