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Lufthansa, SAP Competition Seeks Ideas for Blockchain in Aviation

Major airline Lufthansa has partnered with software giant SAP to launch a blockchain competition aimed to boost blockchain adoption in the airline industry.

Announced Friday, the Aviation Blockchain Challenge seeks “groundbreaking ideas” for blockchain applications that can advance the airline industry and lead on to pilot programs assisted by Lufthansa and SAP.

The initiative comes as a response to the limited efforts being made currently to explore potential use cases for blockchain in the aviation industry, the two firms said in the announcement.

“While many industries have found their first use cases, the impact on the aviation sector is not noticeable yet. We want to change that together with SAP and see substantial potential in our industry to utilize blockchain and other plays of decentralized networks,” Lufthansa said.

Specifically, the competition is looking for concepts for blockchain applications in three major areas: flight booking/purchasing and loyalty programs; internal data processing; and supply chain use cases involving third party suppliers.

Blockchain startups whose ideas are eventually selected will potentially be able to advance to pilot projects and launches of minimum viable products using SAP’s blockchain-as-a-service platform, launched in June.

With an initial submission deadline of the end of August, Lufthansa said the final pitches for the best ideas will take place in Germany in October later this year.

Lufthansa has been exploring how to put reservations and traveler itinerary information on a distributed network through a partnership with an ethereum blockchain startup since October 2017.

Lufthansa image via Shutterstock

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You Too Can Apply to the Lufthansa and SAP.iO First Ever Global Aviation Blockchain Challenge

The Lufthansa Innovation Hub (LIH) in collaboration with SAP.iO have launched the first ever Global Aviation Blockchain Challenge. The challenge is geared towards exploring the potential opportunities in blockchain technologies as well as ways of how the aviation industry can adopt the revolutionary technology. Both firms are enthusiastic that the Travel and Mobility tech scene can attract blockchain entrepreneurs by providing the perfect environment to ‘ideate and experiment with new business models’.

The announcement was made public via the official website of the Aviation Blockchain Challenge. Entrepreneurs will have access to the Lufthansa innovation ecosystem and access to SAP blockchain assets. There will also be a mentorship program to further push new ideas to the spotlight of relevant decision makers.

Thorsten Dirks, the CEO of Eurowings and a Board member of the Lufthansa Group is quoted as saying that:

Blockchain is one of the game-changing technologies of our time, which we are systematically addressing as part of our digital strategy for the Lufthansa Group…By combining our aviation industry expertise with the Blockchain technology of [SAP], we are creating the ideal worldwide framework for addressing Blockchain entrepreneurs with an affinity for travel and mobility.

Similar sentiments were echoed by the Chief Strategic Officer and Executive V.P of SAP, Deepak Krishnamurthy:

SAP is excited to partner with Lufthansa on this exciting startup challenge to reinvent the traveler experience, airline operations and supply chain with Blockchain. With our industry leading SAP Leonardo Blockchain platform and Lufthansa’s market leadership and expertise in Aviation, we can foster a new innovation ecosystem that can potentially transform the entire travel industry.

The Aviation Blockchain Challenge is divided into three categories:

  1. Airline Challenge
  2. Traveler Challenge
  3. Supplier Challenge

The submission of ideas is ongoing up until the 31st of August, 2018. 

The two firms have further added the following incentives to attract the best of the best blockchain entrepreneurs:

  • A Global stage for your idea including international press coverage and media awareness
  • Potential pilot project with Lufthansa Group
  • Professional mentoring for all shortlisted teams
  • Possibility to pitch in front of senior management
  • Coverage of travel expenses (up to 2500€ per team)
  • Finalists can get access to Blockchain-as-a-Service from SAP in order to build or improve their MVP
  • Office space for up to 3 months in the Berlin ecosystem – to work on your idea together with us

More information about the challenge can be obtained from the website earlier provided.

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Ready for Takeoff? Lufthansa Strikes Deal With Blockchain ICO Startup

One of Europe’s largest airlines is partnering with a blockchain travel platform as part of a bid to explore possible applications of the technology.

Announced today, Lufthansa Group has entered into a deal with Swiss startup Winding Tree, a decentralized business-to-business marketplace built on the ethereum blockchain.

As a result of the deal, Maksim Izmaylov, CEO of Winding Tree, said the startup will assist Lufthansa in building and testing decentralized, blockchain-based travel apps that meet the requirements of airlines, while Lufthansa will integrate its APIs with the Winding Tree platform.

Reinhard Lanegger, senior venture development manager at the Lufthansa Innovation Hub, told CoinDesk, that, specifically, Lufthansa is interested in exploring use cases that would put booking, rebooking and traveler itinerary information on a blockchain.

In short, he said both Lufthansa and Winding Tree see the partnership as a win-win – one that allows Lufthansa exposure to new technology experts, and Winding Tree access to experts in the field.

Lanegger said:

“We want to provide [Winding Tree] expertise.”

Token investment

The new partnership goes a step further, though, bringing Lufthansa into the trendy world of initial coin offerings (ICOs), the term denoting how startups are now leveraging custom cryptocurrencies as a way to fund early-stage startup development.

Notably, as part of the partnership, Lufthansa will also be investing in Winding Tree as part of its forthcoming sale of a token called LIF. Although the airline did not disclose how much it will be investing, the token will initially be used to fund the development of Winding Tree’s platform.

Eventually, however, LIF will be the mechanism with which users can book travel.

“LIF is used for settlement and data transfer,” said Pedro Anderson, co-founder of Winding Tree. “Anyone owning LIF tokens will be able to book hotels, flights and cruises … directly on the blockchain.”

Still, Lufthansa is not new to the technology, having signaled interest in the blockchain space as early as 2014 when it partnered with bitcoin payment processor Bitnet. And, while Lufthansa is the only airline currently public with its interest in utilizing the platform, Lanegger said it may seek to include other partners in trials.

“It is something that people will talk about,” Lanegger said, adding: “We as a group have always been a frontrunner when it comes to technology.”

Airline departure image via Shutterstock

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