Tag: Blockchain

Press Release: We’re pioneering blockchain tech in the fight against fakes

  • 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).

Stay up-to-date with Icons b-locked by joining us on Telegram. Click here to join our channel.


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.



From Our CEO: Introducing… Icons b-locked

Last night, I sat down with my wife and talked her through my day over dinner. I had just spent it briefing our team about a brand new project of ours called Icons b-locked.

Icons b-locked is a new service that will forever change the way signed memorabilia is authenticated. It uses state-of-the-art blockchain technology to make the creation, validation and selling of signed items 100% verifiable in a quick, simple and easy way.

I had wanted to explain this to our team in depth, giving them an idea of the vision and the technology behind the project. I wanted to make the talk accessible and understandable while explaining how this brand new blockchain solution is going to help us fight the good fight against the frauds who sell faked ‘memorabilia’ to an unsuspecting public. Now, I was repeating that talk for my wife.

But as I did so, I found myself getting annoyed as I spoke of so-called ‘competitors’ ripping off our images, stealing our copy and even using robots to fake signatures. After a few minutes, my wife said: “This is all very negative. I thought you do what you do because you believe in heroes?”

My wife has worked in communications in the charity sector for years and she says that in the past a popular fundraising technique was to showcase problems and issues that tug at the heart strings. But donations started to dry up as compassion fatigue set in with a desensitised public. And it’s because of this fatigue that charities and NGOs now focus on hopes, dreams and aspirations. Icons should follow suit, my wife suggested.

Take the latest Barnardo’s campaign, for example. It doesn’t show miserable kids being taken into care. Its focus is not to plead with the viewer to bring an end to an awful situation. Quite the opposite. It shows a young ballet dancer practicing over and over again in a dingy flat with the strap-line ‘Believe in me’. It says: this could be a great thing.

Hearing this, I realised I needed to refocus my message for Icons b-locked. At Icons, we do what we do because we believe in heroes. We love what we do. We get to meet the world’s best-known sportspeople. Through our products, we get to deliver joy and happiness to people around the world who are just like us. People who just want to get closer to their favourite icons.

We chose ‘Be authentic’ as our project strap-line because, not only do we feel it reflects our products and how we do business, but also because it reflects us as people. We turn up on time, we pay our bills and we do what we say we will. Believe me, that is far more unusual in the sports industry than you may think.

Which brings us to blockchain. Our use of blockchain technology is the latest application of our core belief that authenticity should be at the heart of everything we do. It’s why we decided to build the tech behind Icons b-locked to make this project a reality. We have faith in this new and exciting tool for truth and we leapt into its relative unknown because we believe in its possibilities. We believe in transparency; we believe in truth. And Icons b-locked is the next big step on our journey towards proving that beyond doubt.

“That sounds much better,” my wife said. “I buy into that.”


For more information on the Icons b-locked project, visit b-locked.icons.com and join us on Telegram.