30 June 2017
A team of Lancaster Computer Science undergraduates has won a prestigious international competition for their technology business idea that could revolutionise legal contracts.

Nihir Vedd, Rohan Littler and Will Wilkes won first place at the Atos IT Challenge 2017 – beating off 76 other student teams from around the world to claim the €10,000 prize and a fast-tracked internship at Atos, a global technology company.

The challenge was to create a new idea based on the blockchain – a technology that allows data to be stored in a way that cannot be modified, presenting a publically-verifiable ledger of records. The most famous blockchain-based application to date is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

The Lancaster students’ idea was ‘Quo’ – a web-based application to provide legally-binding contract templates that take minutes to fill out, contrasting with the days and weeks it can currently take with legal documents.

Quo can be used for many situations requiring legal contracts, including independent workers and freelancers, real estate, lettings, insurance and employment contracts.

“The application is designed to provide an extremely easy way to deploy legal contracts, removing barriers to entry for individuals, and businesses, that don’t have the resources to invest in lawyers,” said Rohan Littler. “Using the blockchain, Quo guarantees the authenticity of every contract. We are able to confirm if a user has explicitly entered into a particular contract, and what the original wording of that contract is – therefore preventing against wrongful or malicious modifications, should disputes arise.”

Quo is also able to offer low-cost payment methods into contracts, including ‘escrow’ (where a third party holds and regulates payment of the funds in a transaction) functionality.

More information about the Atos IT Challenge can be found at https://www.atositchallenge.net/edition-2017/