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Dubai begins global search for blockchain start-ups

Start-up projects must be able to contribute to the implementation of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy 2020

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Dubai is seeking to become an international capital for blockchain technology
Dubai is seeking to become an international capital for blockchain technology

Smart Dubai is launching the third round of its Global Blockchain Challenge, which aims to find innovative blockchain start-ups from around the world to help establish the emirate as an international capital for the technology.

 

The challenge is organised in partnership with the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).

 

Blockchain-powered city

 

Shortlisted teams are invited to come to Dubai for the Future Blockchain Summit, taking place on 2-3 April at the Dubai World Trade Centre, where they will begin training with DFA ahead of the final Blockchain Challenge Presentation and Awarding Ceremony.

 

The objective of the challenge is to identify innovative projects that can contribute to the implementation of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy 2020, which was announced by Smart Dubai and the Dubai Future Foundation to make Dubai the first blockchain-powered city by 2020.

 

“To build a truly smart city we must establish and empower a holistic blockchain ecosystem,” said Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, director general of Smart Dubai. “This includes building the advanced infrastructure for the technology to thrive, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to attract talented and ambitious individuals and start-ups and empower them to implement their innovations – and that is the essence of the Blockchain Challenge.”

“To build a truly smart city we must establish and empower a holistic blockchain ecosystem”

She added: “The competition allows us to source highly skilled individuals with innovative and ambitious ideas, and bring them to Dubai where they can pilot their projects to channel blockchain technology towards addressing people’s needs and improving their lives.

 

“Building this ecosystem is a catalyst for the Dubai Paperless Strategy and the transition to a paperless government by the year 2021, as well as a key requirement for successfully implementing the Dubai Blockchain Strategy.”

 

Pillars of a blockchain strategy

 

The Dubai Blockchain Strategy revolves around three main pillars: increasing government efficiency by transferring all applicable government transactions to the blockchain network; creating a blockchain industry and ecosystem; and leading the thinking and advancement of Blockchain technology around the world.

 

Finalists in the Global Blockchain Challenge will travel to Dubai to participate in a five-day programme, which will include an introduction to the UAE culture and processes of conducting business in the country, pitch presentation training, and finally a pitch competition that will be held as part of the Future Blockchain Summit, to an audience of investors, experts, private and public institutions.

 

Three winners will be chosen among the finalists to receive first, second, and third place prize money of $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, and the opportunity to implement their product or service in Dubai.

 

Last year, a prize pool of $45,000 went to three winners, who were selected from among 17 finalists from 14 countries – in turn shortlisted from 200 applicants. The winning start-ups were Ireland’s AID Tech in first place, with the UAE’s Smart Crowd and the USA’s Codex rounding up the top three.

 

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