• Market leader Icons worked with digital agency Zone to launch blockchain application
  • Revolutionary tech will enhance consumer trust by tracking the provenance of signed items
  • App will also be used in the fight against fakes and frauds
  • Leo Messi signed shirts among the first items to be ‘b-locked’

London, 18 September 2018 The world’s largest football memorabilia company has become the first application of a pioneering blockchain solution that underpins the value of signed items with the aim of securing consumer trust.

Icons, the world’s leading originator and supplier of signed football memorabilia, has joined with digital experts Zone to create Icons b-locked, an online ledger that tracks the provenance of signed items.

The first items to be used in the Icons b-locked application will be shirts autographed by Lionel Messi during a private signing session with the FC Barcelona superstar in mid-September.

Icons b-locked uses blockchain – the distributed ledger technology that sits behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – to create a permanent record of signed items, including details of when and where each item was signed.

Consumers use a unique code assigned to their product to view specific details of the item and its associated signing.

The technology comes at a time when the sports memorabilia market, estimated to be worth $2-4billion, is under threat from the rise of fraudsters manipulating online auction websites, as well as the emergence of automated robots capable of replicating signatures for fake products.

Icons CEO, Dan Jamieson, says: “At Icons, we’ve always gone to extraordinary lengths to provide evidence of the authenticity of our goods – not only for our customers but also for the integrity of the market.

“Every day we’re asked if our products are really signed by the players themselves. Consumers need more reassurance than ever. That’s why we’ve worked with Zone to create this world-first product. We want this to be the gold standard which ultimately helps the market grow.”

Edward Freedman, Icons founder, added: “I truly believe that Icons b-locked will put to rest the question of authenticity. It will revolutionise our industry and hopefully it will take us to a level that everyone will be aspiring to.”

Icons has been working with the world’s biggest sports stars since 1999 and has entered into exclusive contracts with the likes of Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Eden Hazard.

The company has long-term relationships with Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr and Eric Cantona, among many others. It has had the exclusive official UEFA Champions League memorabilia license for the past six seasons and the worldwide deal was recently renewed for the 2018-21 cycle. Icons also has official memorabilia licences for the FIFA World Cup and FA England.

Jon Davie, Chief Client Officer at Zone, commented: “For all the hype about blockchain, practical applications so far have been few and far between.

“Working with Icons, we had an opportunity to create a blockchain application that ordinary customers can experience, understand and benefit from. The opportunities are endless. Not just in the sports memorabilia market, but in art, antiques, collectables – any market where establishing authenticity and tracking provenance is important.”

For more information please contact Icons CEO Dan Jamieson ([email protected] or +44 20 7267 3934).

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About Zone

One of the UK’s leading technology and customer experience agencies, Zone is part of global professional services giant Cognizant, who acquired the agency in October last year.

Recently hailed by the London Stock Exchange as one of the UK’s most inspiring companies, the agency’s 250+ strategy, content and technology experts helps ambitious brands such as Adidas, BMW, Aviva, Barratt Homes, Electrolux, Lloyds Banking Group, Maersk and Unileverwin in a world where digital is mission critical.