Poland stands a chance of leading the peloton of the most technologically advanced countries in terms of blockchain. Hong Kong, London, New York and Singapore will be the centers of financial blockchain applications in the world, according to a Microsoft specialist. Warsaw was not present among those leaders he mentioned. Although a high level of innovativeness is given to some Polish banks, there is a chance to change that. In terms of cryptocurrency, the Polish market was one of the most developed in Europe and the top 10 markets in the world until recently.
The idea of creating a blockchain technology accelerator in Poland arose from a desire to prevent the “brain drain” or the establishment of technology startups abroad. Otherwise, Poland would be forced to import these new technology solutions. It would tend to imitate rather than innovatee.
On 15 July 2016, the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) announced a competition for creating accelerators under its pilot ePionier program.
At the end of July 2016, Tomasz Kibil from EY Poland – as one of the leaders of the group of experts called the “Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies” Stream (launched by Anna Streżyńska – Minister for Digital Affairs) – expressed his idea following the concept of Dubai – the government of which he advises. The idea was to create an incubator or accelerator of blockchain technology in Poland. Its core function was to incubate and support proposals of blockchain technology applications in administration and business, which could be destined to implementation later on.
The Warsaw-based Knowledge and Innovation Institute, in cooperation with the BioInfoBank Institute, submitted an application to NCBiR for a grant to finance a project of creating the accelerator. On 7 December 2016, the Polish Accelerator of Blockchain Technology was qualified to obtain the required finances. The project was started on 1 January 2017 and will last until 31 December 2019. Applicants formed a special-purpose vehicle called Blockchain Technologies sp. z o.o. to run the accelerator.
The Polish Accelerator of Blockchain Technology will be mainly focused on the use of the distributed ledger technologies (including blockchains).
It was founded in 1999. The main purpose of creating this research unit was to enable the implementation of application research aimed at commercialization. It had more than 100 scientific papers published in prestigious journals such as “Nature,” “Science” and “Cell.” These publications have more than 8000 citations. The institute has participated in several projects funded under FP5, FP6 and FP7.
As a result of its research, the institute has created modern bioinformatics technologies that suit the commercialization of what was carried out in the form of the creation of spin-off companies in Poland.
In 2007, BioInfoBank established a fund called ‘BIB Seed Capital’ to foster the development of companies in the industries related to bioinformatics. BIB Seed Capital has invested nearly 20 million PLN (c. $5m) in 7 companies at early stages of development. One of them is listed on Warsaw Stock Exchange and reached a valuation of more than 1 billion PLN ($250m).
The institute is a non-public research unit specializing in the issues of innovation and the knowledge economy. It is a non-profit organization and not conducting any business activity.It was founded in 2006 by several scientists from various universities mostly from Poland. It brings together approx. 30 experts from various research centers and institutions.
The institute runs:
– research activity (including research in cryptocurrencies),
– development projects (including blockchain applications),
– educational activities (for startups, among others),
The institute provides consultations to other researchers on commercialization the results of their scientific works as well as the companies on improving their innovation activities. It is a member of the Mazovia ICT Cluster and the Polish Chamber of Commerce for High Technologies.
Projects of the institute are mostly financed by the ministries and other public institutions (marshal offices, government agencies and public research institutes).
The main goal of the Polish Accelerator of Blockchain Technology is to support blockchain projects for the widely defined public institutions in Poland (including ministries, public agencies, hospitals, and critical infrastructure companies). Within three years, it is to build minimum 3 MVP. They will be prepared by interdisciplinary teams consisting of minimum as much as 60 people, in total.
NCBiR’s ePionier is the first program in Poland that assumes the use of pre-commercial procurement model. In this framework, it is possible to order products/services, which are not yet available in the market and will be produced during the R&D process. The demand for the proposed technological solutions from the public institutions is one of the key requirements of the program. Hence, it differs from a traditional accelerator model where the market risk is much higher.
Strong team and unique technology
- Co-Founder of the accelerator is the best in Poland and a non-public scientific research institute (“category A” of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education). It is the only unit in the region which is capable to design the microprocessors. Several million chips for authorization of transactions in the network blockchain using the so-called “Proof of work” were produced on the basis of these projects.
- President of the BioInfoBank Institute was the 30th most cited scientist in Poland in 2016 (according to Google Scholar).
- One of his investments has resulted in a company listed on Warsaw Stock Exchange with a valuation of over 1 billion PLN.
- The head of the second of the co-founders of the accelerator is a professor of economics, a scholar at some of the best universities in Europe and Asia, and the business leader of the expert group called “Blockchain and cryptocurrencies” Stream – unique body which brings together dozens of experts in the area of blockchain technology.
- We have our own data center with a value of almost 3 million PLN ($700k) for testing cryptographic algorithms enabling the calculation of the hash function SHA256 in blockchains based on “proof of work”. It consists of several thousand independent devices. This equipment allows for studying the different behavioral effects of the independent nodes of distributed data registers. It can be used to protect the private blockchains.
- We are working on our own blockchains.
Large experience in IT
- We support the creation of an ecosystem of blockchain technology in Poland – we are in the center of this community. The team that creates the accelerator operates within the “Blockchain and cryptocurrencies” Stream under “Paperless & cashless Poland” program that is a part of the “Strategy for Responsible Development” of the current Polish government.
- We participate in public consultations on the new laws in the field of IT and on the governmental IT projects.
- People involved in the accelerator have worked with many implementations of IT systems in the largest companies in Poland and abroad.
- We have experience in cooperation with public institutions: Polish, EU and Asian ones.
- In the field of innovation we advised hundreds of IT companies.
- We cooperate with universities and research institutes in Poland and abroad.
Good knowledge of the industry and startups
- Our team members are experts in the field of cryptography and blockchain technologies.
- We co-created and developed cryptocurrency environment in Poland. We have good relations with all larger companies in this market.
- We have an experience in setting up, supporting and mentoring startups (including cryptocurrency startups.)
- We also have experience in running e-business incubator, seed capital funds and investment companies.
- We offer the best experience in training on blockchain in Poland. We have experience in organization and we participated in hundreds of events for technology startups.
- Our team has authored a number of scientific publications and other publications for IT startups.