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European Commission Unveils Blockchain Development Contest




The European Commission (EC) is dangling a whopping €5 million top prize for the winner of a new blockchain development contest dubbed “Blockchains for Social Good.”

The executive arm of the European Union bared the details on the contest’s page, which said, “The challenge is to develop scalable, efficient and high-impact decentralized solutions to social innovation challenges leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology (DLTs), such as the one used in blockchains.”

“DLT in its public, open and permissionless forms is widely considered as a ground-breaking digital technology supporting decentralized methods for consensus reaching as well as sharing, storing and securing transactions and other data with fewer to no central intermediaries.

“In the wake of the widespread public attention for Bitcoin, several financial applications based on blockchains are already under development.

“However, the potential of DLTs to generate positive social change by decentralizing and disintermediating processes related to local or global sustainability challenges is still largely untapped,” it continued.

The entries shall be judged on the cumulative criteria of:

• Social impact: both potential and already achieved by the implementation of the solution
• Decentralisation and governance: improvements in transparency and accountability (while respecting privacy and/or anonymity)
• Usability and inclusiveness
• Viability at large scale: cost-efficiency (including energy consumption), scalability, security, and sustainability
• Clear added value of the demonstrated implementation for European citizens, in societal, economic or environmental terms

A significant element of any solution must be transparency, said the page. EU citizens must be able to resolve what the commission is doing through its administrative and production procedures.

The winning entry is expected to:

• pioneer decentralized results to global and/or local sustainability tests
• generate positive social change by making accessible novel solutions for decentralizing and disintermediating processes
• demonstrate the feasibility of solutions enabling a more even allocation and sharing of information and resources which extols privacy while providing levels of transparency
• stimulate the emerging community of developers and practitioners of “blockchains for social good” applications

Using blockchains to boost transparency has been a constant priority for the commission. Just this August, the organization’s vice president, Valdis Dombrovskis, said that the European Commission was establishing a Financial Transparency Gateway to make accessible the data companies share with national databases.

Any legal person or entity can forward entries to the contest, regardless of whether they are residing in the EU or not.

The contest supplements to funding the economic bloc’s governing bodies have already devoted to supporting the technology. The EU has already capitalized more than €5 million in blockchain startups, just recently supporting at least six companies through their Horizon 2020 initiative.

The deadline for submission of entries is in the second quarter of 2019. The awarding of the prize will be during the first quarter of 2020.

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