Infrachain Challenge: Bridging Blockchain And The Built Environment

Tom Kettels, project lead at Infrachain (© Raoul Somers)

Today, the fourth edition of the Infrachain Challenge begins. The four selected teams have 30 hours to develop an innovative project utilising the Public Sector Blockchain developed by the Ministry for Digitalisation and “the novel national dwelling register”. Tom Kettels, project lead at Infrachain tells us more.

What is this novel national dwelling register and how does it relate to the Public Sector Blockchain?

Currently, the novel national dwelling register is still a projet de loi and still has to be adopted, but it’s basically an inventory of buildings and housing in general. The register includes all kinds of data related to the surface area, energy efficiency and any other technical information related to buildings and housing in Luxembourg. 

During the hackathon, the teams will have the opportunity to combine both the register data and the Public Sector Blockchain to come up with a new application or solution. We think that blockchain will play an important role, be it for real estate agents, utility providers or for paying taxes for example.

What’s the best-case scenario for the winning project?

In the best-case scenario, the jury likes their project and they win the prize money. If the jury, which mostly consists of people from the public sector, as well as a few from the private blockchain sector, considers it to be a good use case for the public sector, then the team can decide whether they want to further develop it and get in touch with the ministry.

One of the reasons we encourage company teams [three out of four teams participating in this edition are company teams] is because, if they win, they are more likely to take the project further as they already have a legal structure in place.

In March 2023 Luxembourg launched its blockchain law 3. How will this affect blockchain developments in the duchy?

The general effect is that it really supports the positioning of Luxembourg in the field of blockchain. It really gives credibility to Luxembourg because it provides legal certainty which is something that is really sought after by many players, especially in the finance world where DLT is a big topic still.

Is this law enough to push blockchain development in Luxembourg?

Of course, it’s not enough, but it’s a first step. Technologically neutral regulation should allow the use of any technology but with blockchain, it’s not always clear whether that is the case because being decentralised can make compliance a bit harder. So a lot of questions still arise and clarification is still needed.

There are also basic things which are not yet possible. It’s quite difficult for both startups in general and especially DLT companies to open a bank account in Luxembourg. That’s something very basic, and we need regulations that facilitate this. We have the impression that as soon as you mention DLT, then institutions become more cautious which in turn makes creating a company impossible. 

While the event is only open to professionals and press, you can follow tomorrow’s pitching session live at 4pm here. For more information about the event, see here.

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