In line with the Blockchain Strategy unveiled by Dubai in October 2016 -a vision to become the first blockchain-powered city by 2020- Smart Dubai Office (SDO) and global entrepreneurship network 1776 are looking for startups that can transform conventional industries using their blockchain technology. SDO and 1776 are now inviting applications from enterprises for the Blockchain Challenge, a pitch competition to be held on May 22, 2017 in Dubai. Selecting up to 20 startups from the applications, the finalists of the Challenge will travel to Dubai to pitch their blockchain product/solution to investors, business leaders, and others. Besides monetary rewards, and 1776 membership opportunities for the winning startups, the competition also offers a chance to receive pitch training, and networking opportunities for competing startups. The three winning startups will also work with the respective Dubai stakeholders to implement their blockchain solution in the city.
According to the challenge’s official website detailing the evaluation criteria, the jury panel will judge startups on parameters including level of innovation in the use of blockchain, market size, business plans, team composition, and other skills. The contest has also laid down a set of requirements that startups must meet to be eligible to apply, which includes factors such as scalable products, suitability to implement in Dubai, and directly impacting the quality of life in the city, among others. Dubai government launched its Blockchain Strategy to support its Smart city ambitions, by turning paperless and shifting government transactions to Blockchain platform- an online encrypted database- by 2020. Subsequently, initiatives promoting blockchain have continued to be a focus for the UAE. While recently Dubai’s government partnered with IBM for testing blockchain technology for trade finance activities, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) also announced that it integrated global blockchain startup Ripple’s technology into its systems. For more information on the deadlines and details of the Blockchain Challenge, visit the official website here.