Blockchain technology is still an emerging sector but Finland has the potential to be one of the leading countries to develop and exploit its potential, according to Toni Mattila, Senior Director, Investment Consulting, Invest in Finland.
“The cumulated know-how from the ongoing blockchain research, combined with Finland’s strong ICT expertise and availability of highly qualified engineers, can offer interesting opportunities for international companies,” says Mattila.
Finland’s blockchain research and pilot projects cover a wide range of applications and industries, including smart contracts, logistics, IoT, decentralized renewable energy production, food chain traceability, and mixed reality games.
“In Finland, the research is currently at the Proof of Concept or Minimum Viable Product stage,” explains Dr. Timo Seppälä, head of the BOND - Blockchains Boosting Finnish Industry project that will publish its results around the end of this year. “We have carried out different pilot projects with a broad front of industrial companies and see the use of smart contracts in industry as the most promising blockchain application.”
The BOND project has involved VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy and Aalto University as well as Fortum, Euroclear, Nokia, Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company and IBM. Other major actors in Finnish blockchain research include Tampere University of Technology, University of Tampere and Lappeenranta University of Technology.
Smart contracts for shipping containers
Kouvola Innovation Oy is leading the three-year, EU-funded SmartLog project where shipping containers are fitted with devices that share data through a private blockchain. In June 2017, SmartLog organised a live demonstration of the technology in Estonia’s largest cargo port, Muuga Harbour, where the journey of ten sea containers was tracked and shared through nine measuring points.
The partners in the project are Region Örebro county from Sweden, Latvia’s Transport and Telecommunication Institute, Valga County Development Agency from Estonia, Sensei LCC from Estonia, Tallinn University of Technology, and IBM.
SOFIE aims to bring blockchain benefits to IoT
Starting in 2018, Aalto University is launching a three-year EU Horizon 2020 project called SOFIE that aims to create an open framework, in both technical and commercial terms, for creating open business platforms for federating the Internet of Things. The key idea is to enable simultaneous use of a number of different blockchain systems so that the same transaction can be stored in multiple ledgers simultaneously.
According to project leader Professor Pekka Nikander from Aalto University, SOFIE will specifically focus on three application areas: decentralized renewable energy production and equalization of consumption, food chain traceability, and mixed reality games. The project participants also include Rovio and Ericsson from Finland, Guardtime from Estonia, AUEB, Synelixis and Optimum from Greece, and eNG, Asm Terni Spa and Emotion Srl from Italy.