European Commission announces blockchain defense grants

The European Commission has announced a new program of defense grants for blockchain concepts, in a bid to encourage development of new technologies for defense applications.

According to a tender document for the European Defense Industrial Development Programme, the Commission is calling on SMEs to innovate, develop and adapt blockchain technologies to provide solutions with defense applications.

The document sets out an itemized list technologies and solutions it is aiming for, giving applicants the direction towards the technologies most likely to benefit from funding under the program.

The program will award grants towards the development of “infrastructure, based on real-time cloud and on-premise digital twin benefiting from blockchain technologies’ robustness.”

Digital twins are on-chain copies of processes, systems or objects, which enable companies to store information about their processes, or to record records of ownership and production to shore up a product’s legitimacy.

The specific defense project under tender would focus on logistics needs in the defense sector, including maintenance, energy and supply chains.

Proposals will have access to a pot of €254 million, equivalent to around $278 million. The money will be awarded as grants, and aimed at funding the ongoing development of systems, products or services with a focus on defense capability.

Proposals are expected to come from those developing new systems, as well as from those adapting existing technologies to defense use cases. It is expected the latter would help deliver more effective, cost-efficient technologies sooner, which could yield more immediate benefits under the program.

The window for submitting proposals opens on April 15, with plans for the process to run until December 1, 2020. In light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, it is thought the Commission may be considering extending this deadline for applications.

Blockchain technologies are particularly useful across a number of applications in defense, and are already being developed for and on behalf of armed forces worldwide.

The European Commission’s program could see blockchain solutions used in tracking the flow of supplies and resources throughout European defense organizations, as well as delivering greater efficiencies for managing logistics.

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