It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the bitcoin space, with no shortage of high profile organizations and governments weighing in on bitcoin and blockchain technology. We’ve seen China and Japan kick off initiations that will see both nations develop their own blockchain based cryptocurrency. We’ve seen the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US write into law legislation that could pave the way for a bitcoin funded, equity model crowdfunding platform. We’ve seen Russian and European weigh in on the legality and regulation of bitcoin and bitcoin startups, the first bitcoin company IPO and major commercial banks introduce development hubs that could see blockchain technology underpin financial transactions in the commercial space implemented as soon as the next few years. And now, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) is stepping into the space.
The company recently announced the launching of a competition designed to uncover cutting edge technology and its potential application to the FinTech space. The competition, called FinTech Innovation Challenge by Sony 2016, opened for entry on January 22nd, and closes on February 17th, and will accept entries in six specific categories: Web Bank Interaction for High Net Worth Individuals, Financial Services for Travelers, Entertainment Using Blockchain, Education/ Financial Management Services for Youths, Client Engagement for the Underbanked / Underinvested and Super Smart Authentication.
Of course, it’s the blockchain entry that brought this competition to our attention. The company is looking for innovators to marry entertainment – specifically, it states, music and film – with the blockchain. As suggestions, Sony put forward areas such as concept creation, crowd funding and ticket distribution.
Winners will get to carry through their solution and proposal to a proof of concept (POC) phase, funded by Sony.
It’s not the first time we have discussed Sony here at NewsBTC. The company set out to revolutionize the crowdfunding space last year with its then-new Japanese crowdfuning platform – First Flight. At the time, NewsBTC Author and Editor mused upon the platform’s implications for the leader in that space in Japan, fundFlyer, and in turn, its implication on bitcoin. Interesting to see now, then, that Sony is seeking a blockchain based solution to its crowdfunding enterprise.
Of course, the winner of the POC contract won’t necessarily be a blockchain based project – there are five other categories from which Sony’s panel of judges can choose their favorite submission. Having said this, more than one project can win, and a blockchain based solution to a space in which Sony is already active has a decent chance of garnering positive review.
Final judging is slated for March 15-17, with winners announced on March 18.
As a bit of background, Soy has had a tough time over the last decade of so. The increased commoditization of its lead product sectors (televisions, laptops etc.) has forced it to shift focus and streamline considerably. A fresh management team (CEO and CFO) are slowly managing to turn the ship, and the company now leads the way in some areas readers might not expect – most notable lenses and imaging (its lenses are used in iPhones, and many android powered devices).
This push to create and innovate through FinTech blockchain related projects is just one part of an overarching reshuffle, but it’s representative of Sony’s efforts to remain relevant.
As we’ve said, entry closes on Feb 17, so get your concepts in quickly if you think you’ve got what it takes!