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BLOCKCHERS: Blockchain technologies will arrive to traditional SMEs across Europe

BLOCKCHERS is a new Horizon 2020 project that will facilitate the revolution of Distributed Ledger Technologies, DLTs, (those based on the concept of distributed ledger to validate transactions in a network) across European SMEs.

This accelerator for SMEs working with blockchain technologies will manage a fund of 750,000€ aimed at financing real world use cases of blockchain technologies in traditional sectors. The project has been launched this week in Brussels and ZABALA Innovation Consulting will coordinate the initiative.

The DLTs have a limitless potential for use cases across all industries (industry, energy, financial services, health, agri-food, etc.). With many of the leading DLT start-ups in some of the main European cities, the EC has the potential to have a leading position in the innovation race to a DLT transition.

DLTs will definitely streamline business processes and offer a great potential for reducing costs and complexity of processes. This is the main driver supporting the rise of DLT applications. Currently there is a huge community of innovative SMEs with excellent ideas to contribute to the DLT uptake. However, the sectors in which DLTs make sense, besides fintech, could be those in which existing SMEs do not have enough knowledge on how DLTs work nor how they could uptake these technologies (traditional SMEs).

In addition, a regulatory framework should foster the uptake and prevent from fraudulent actions such as i.e. those linked to the anonymity of users in transactions. Furthermore, Blockchain SMEs face uncertain regulation that limits their scope of action and imply a risk for their growth.

To address these challenges a consortium of four organisations with relevant profiles has been built. ZABALA Innovation Consulting, as coordinator and expert on “cascade –funding” management with project as the Finodex FIWARE accelerator, the European Data Incubator, IRSUS, or NGI Fellowship and innovation services provision to SMEs and start-ups EU-wide. Innomine, as expert company working on acceleration and piloting/use cases in the CEE market for the Digital Innovation Hubs.

Frankfurt School Blockchain Center (FSBC) as one of the most recognized institutions providing training on DLTs as well as organizing major events on blockchain technologies. ALASTRIA, as the first public-permissioned blockchain network in Spain promoted by major corporations in a range of sectors to undertake open innovation activities with SMEs and developers.

Moreover, the project will be supported by an outstanding group of external advisors thanks to the creation of an External Advisory Board comprising five profiles of experts in blockchain from the technological, legal, business and investors point of view.

How does BLOCKHERKS work?

The project will mainly work in a two-phase funding scheme and supporting the SMEs selected in two open calls. The 1st Open Call of BLOCKCHERS will be launched on the next 26th of March.

One of the main goals of BLOCKCHERS will be fostering the matchmaking among traditional SMEs and potential DLT specialists, as technology providers, and sensitize about the benefits and opportunities around DLTs to implement real use case scenarios in a variety of verticals. At least 60 SMEs will benefit thanks to this scheme.

The best group (up to 30) of SMEs (blockchers) working with DLTs on use cases with traditional SMEs will be selected through a couple of competitive open calls for proposals.

Selected blockchers will go from idea to implementation (proposal, pitch and use cases) through a two-phase funding scheme and providing supporting services. A SME could obtain up to €50,000 equity-free funding plus a range of free services.

Through this process, success stories based on DLTs will be detected and share to a wider audience for SMEs promotion. Also, a public channel has been created on Telegram to facilitate the Q&A with potential applicants and broader community https://t.me/blockchers

Other results expected are the creation of a dialogue and guidance elaboration at regulation level around the DLT to support the work of policy makers, and facilitating the generation of a “smart” regulatory framework for the EU.


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