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Europe Turns to Blockchain for Anti-Counterfeiting Solutions

The European Commission is taking a new high-tech approach to fighting counterfeits.

With counterfeiting a global problem for consumers, producers and governments, the EU is looking for companies who will create the infrastructure to combat counterfeiting.

The European Intellectual Property Observatory (EUIPO) and the European Commission (EC) are putting on a Blockathon to attract leading institutions, domain experts, industry, government partners and technology companies to co-create relevant prototypes to address the anti-counterfeiting challenge, working directly with manufacturers, logistics companies, customs, retailers and consumers.

“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,” EUIPO executive director Antonio Campinos, said. “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.”

The Blockathon will be held in the heart of the European Union in Brussels from June 22-25. Ten teams will be selected to work with these experts to co-create relevant prototypes to address the anti-counterfeiting challenge. The total prize to be awarded is 100,000 euros ($117k).

Seal Network, a company that uses blockchain technology to fight counterfeiting, said it has been selected to compete in the Blockathon. Seal Network will team with Deloitte to create the next level of anti-counterfeiting infrastructure based on blockchain technology at the event. Seal combines blockchain technology with near-field communication chips and a mobile app to securely verify product authenticity. The company said it is building a network that can protect the European continent from product related crimes like counterfeiting.

With the Seal app, consumers and government institutions like customs agencies can easily check whether a product is authentic or fake. The company has plans to expand its blockchain-powered product authenticity platform to create applications specific for the EC.

“The European Commission has rightfully identified that anti-counterfeiting is one of the best use cases for distributed ledger technologies,” Bart Verschoor, CEO of Seal Network, said. “We could not be more excited to join the Blockathon and build the European infrastructure of authenticity as it aligns perfectly with why we started Seal Network.”