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Taiwanese Firms Join to Create First Sports Blockchain App

A Taiwanese alliance has announced it has launched a blockchain application in sports, and claims to be the first in the world to do so. The app, called BraveLog, was given its trial run at the Garmin LAVA Dapeng Bay Triathlon on January 7, 2017.

Blockchain the name given for a secure database system in which records are connected to each other by time stamps. It was originally developed for use in the creation of the bitcoin system, and had primarily been used in in the financial industry.

With its decentralized structure, the technology can perform backup and simultaneous data maintenance, and has the advantage of being able to maintain and connect a continuously growing list. It also provides the advantage of high security.

In terms of sports, the technology can build a database of event records, including at the player level. As more data is collected, players can analyze this to better understand their physical condition and manage personal training programs accordingly.

The Taiwan venture was formed by Fubon Financial Holdings, the Taiwan Triathlon Company and the Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan (ITRI). Further technical resources were provided by Taiwanese commercial blockchain platform developer AMIS as well as Microsoft.

At the Garmin LAVA Dapeng Bay Triathlon, BraveLog stored records on rankings, results and weather condition. Participants were able to log into the system any time after an event to track the results.

BraveLog plans to develop new features such as social media, marketing analysis, customer relations management, sponsor management, player performance management and event sign-up and payment, said Chung-Yi Chang, the project manager at ITRI.

BraveLog currently only offers website portals for users. The service may provide a mobile app version in the future which would allow for user feedback, said AMIS CEO Shih-Wei Liu.

Fubon plans to launch a charity blockchain platform in March. Its applications may include carbon footprint or food traceability, said Hsiang-Chen Li, Fubon’s Vice General Manager of Innovation Technology.

Taiwan is expected to see many applications using blockchain technology this year, said Shu-Che Kung, the Head of the Exterior Gateway Protocol (EGP) team at Microsoft Taiwan. “For blockchain, we focused on initial investment in 2015, proved the concept in 2016, and this year will be looking to introduce it into the real world,” Kung said.

The research firm MarketsandMarkets recently forecasted that the blockchain market will grow from $210 million in 2016 to $2.3 billion by 2021. The main sector involved is expected to be financial services, while media & entertainment is expected to be the fastest growing sector, followed by healthcare and life sciences, according to the report.

Venture capital firm CB Insights projected 20 industries where blockchain technology will be commonly used. In addition to the financial sector, the list included cybersecurity, academic records, voting, car leasing, networking, online music, real estate, healthcare, supply chain management, energy management, government services and sports management.

CB Insights took the process of funding athletes by allowing fans to take shareholdings in potential future sports stars. Blockchain technology here can be used to invest in athletes and fans can later receive rewards such as VIP seats at the sport’s events. The concept has been tried out with the Hellas Verona football team in Italy.