The past year was tumultuous for the world, to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic halted business as usual and wiped out a significant portion of the global economy, setting countries and households on a long way to recovery.
The crisis can be however also an opportunity for the digital-first companies, as lockdowns and social distancing enforced digital acceleration in nearly all parts of life: from work to e-commerce to music festivals. Vaccination programs also open up a range of opportunities for solutions storing and verifying proofs of COVID immunization - and immutable blockchain is a great technology for that.
2021 certainly won’t be an easy year. You can read some predictions for the next 12 months year by Billon Group CEO Wojtek Kostrzewa. Nonetheless, Billon as a company with digital offerings and operations is in the lucky position to weather the storm. While we are aware that this year will still be difficult for the economy, we believe that the skills and commitment of our staff, coupled with the technology offering suited to the very real needs of businesses, will let us ride on top of the wave of change. Unique capabilities of our distributed ledger system - transacting with regulated digital cash and storing entire documents on the ledger - will surely be in a great need during the transition period to the post-COVID reality and we are excited to see new opportunities coming!
But first, here is a little recap of what happened in Billon during that that special year
In March we closed our Series A financing, with $6M of equity being issued to existing and new investors. We are using this funding to scale existing use cases and begin preparations for opening the platform for 3rd party developers and commercial partners. Despite the pandemic shuttering businesses all over the world, we were very lucky to have investors who believed in us and paid
In April, following many months of hard work and testing, our Polish partner BIK (Biuro Informacji Kredytowej) launched commercially its document management solution for the banking sector, compliant with EU durable medium regulations. First banks in Poland already use it to send out documents (T&C, pricings, etc.) to their clients, storing all information on distributed ledger.
In June we received a grant in the Innovate UK program, followed by another one in November, to build a distributed ledger platform to store COVID-19 resilience certificates supporting employees’ safe return to the workplace. By the end of the year we developed a technologically mature platform for publishing, sharing and verifying a wide array of documents, such as vaccination confirmations, test results, or medical training certificates as a back-end system for any public or private issuer of such certificates. The platform is now available for businesses, one of which, CCube Solutions, will launch a Ready-To-Work app for end users in Q2 this year.
In August we completed a £2M investment supported by the Future Fund scheme, allowing us to stay focused on helping clients pursue digital transformation and new business models for a post-pandemic world.
In October we joined forces with ERGO Hestia, the 2nd largest insurance company in Poland in a pilot for delivering instant refunds of premium overpayments to the insurer’s clients with regulated digital cash.
Also that month we joined Blockchain for Europe, a consortium of leading blockchain industry participants in the EU to advocate for a possible introduction on the digital euro.
In 2020 we were also active in the thought leadership space, providing insight into the latest trends and challenges in commercial use of blockchain technologies. Articles published by Billon staff cover the concept of distributed digital cash and its advantage over stablecoins, the compliance of blockchain technologies with GDPR, the use case of tamper proof digital diplomas on chain and more. Billon’s founder and CTO Andrzej Horoszczak shared his insights on how he decided to bet his money and career on digital currencies - and won! - in one of the latest episodes of “Searching for Mana” podcast.
As for the implications of the pandemic on our daily lives, Billon switched to 100% remote work in March and has continued to work from home until now. We were already quite flexible when it came to working from the office or remotely, so we adjusted to the new conditions without big difficulties. Even with the restrictions lifted, we expect that people would not be coming en masse to the office anymore, that is why we are switching offices and moving to a smaller (but also conveniently located) place. It will be a place of essential meetings and collaboration, leveraging teams’ creativity, but at the same time enabling people to stay safe and work remotely.
We tell the world about Billon’s unique technology and describe the difference we make for companies and their clients. We share our knowledge about blockchain and DLT to educate, inspire, and engage people to help overcome their hesitations about this wonderful technology.