Polish-UK Blockchain Company Billon awarded €2 million euro from EU to build DLT Document System

- The Polish-British fintech received almost €2M in funding from the European Commission’s SME Instrument program, part of the Horizon 2020 framework program - Funds will be used to complete the development and commercialisation of a solution to store, sign, and share electronic documents on a new, high-performance distributed ledger - Billon is one of 64 awarded projects from all over Europe, overcoming 1,800 competitors in the 2019 first cohort of Phase 2 of the SME Instrument

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Billon Digital Services, a fully owned subsidiary of Billon Group in the UK, has been awarded a whopping €2 million from the European Commission under Phase 2 of the SME Instrument, part of the Horizon 2020 framework program. The company plans to complete the build and commercialisation of its B4TDM (Blockchain for Trusted Document Management) solution for global adoption, using a proprietary distributed ledger technology that they say,  was designed to deliver the highest system performance metrics in the industry.

“Today’s document management industry has struggled with fulfilling regulatory and customer requirements related to protecting document identity content, and to provide customers with control over data they choose to share or delete. With the funding from Horizon 2020, Billon will fulfill MIFiD2 and GDPR requirements with innovation that puts a customer in control of their own data and documents,” said Wojtek Kostrzewa, CEO of Billon Group.

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The grant covers two years of work to complete all new functionality and to finance initial commercial actions. During this time, Billon will also have access to coaching, training, networking events, and conferences.

“Traditional IT companies typically store copies of documents in databases or in a cloud and create compressed back-ups which need to be unpacked when there is a need to modify both current and backup systems. Most blockchain solutions don’t solve this problem, as they only encrypt the time-stamp and location of data, and not the data itself,” stated Jacek Pikul, member of the board at Billon Digital Services. 

The awarded solution will go beyond simply transforming paper documents to electronic format, and will encrypt and help manage access control rights. From a storage point of view, publishing documents, such as contracts, invoices or pricing, on a distributed ledger guarantees their immutability and reduces management costs by almost 50%. Beyond storage, the solution is compliant with EU regulations, including GDPR. Further, initial system tests prove the scalability of the solution, with results proving the ability to publish roughly 5 million documents on DLT daily, a KPI that will likely be exceeded during further development.

The award-winning technology has already been adopted by the Polish Credit Office (BIK). BIK uses an initial version of Billon’s software to provide the Polish banking sector with an electronic document platform that meets the regulatory requirements that electronic documents be stored in a durable medium. First banks will start using the platform for contractual communication with their clients by the end of Q2.

Billon’s proprietary DLT system encrypts whole documents on-chain, eliminating the need for expensive servers and backups. This allows businesses to elegantly delete access to specific data when a customer wants to ‘be forgotten’ as part of GDPR requirements. As well, it is the only fully regulatory compliant digital alternative to paper, as digital documents can be controlled by users long after a relationship is terminated.

Horizon 2020 is the largest EU R&D program in history, with the budget totalling almost €80B. Billon Digital Services applied for financing under Phase 2 of the SME Instrument as a part of the pilot program of the European Innovation Council, designed for SMEs creating and implementing innovations. In this round of funding, the EC received 1848 applications. Ultimately, 64 projects were selected, most of them in the area of health, engineering and ICT.

Billon created the first enterprise DLT system, unifying national currency transactions, document management and identity management into a single architecture. Our mission is to unleash the transformational capabilities of DLT in the regulated world.

Billon, founded in the UK in 2015, went behind the initial principles of blockchain by creating a new protocol for encrypting national currencies within existing regulations and were among the first to solve the challenge of transacting micropayments at scale. Billon is licensed to issue electronic money in the UK by the British regulator FCA and employs a global team of more than 80 professionals across its offices in London and Warsaw. In November 2018 the company won the world’s largest fintech festival in Singapore, organized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, showcasing a solution to zero-cost blockchain micropayments.

About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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