Dubai Innovation Office Seeking Startups for $20k Blockchain Contest

The Smart Dubai initiative is on the hunt for startups to take part in a new blockchain contest, offering prizes of up to $20,000 for the winner.

AccessTimeIconFeb 16, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:05 p.m. UTC

Dubai’s government is on the hunt for startups to take part in a new blockchain contest, offering prizes of up to $20,000 for the winning projects.

The competition, dubbed the SDO Blockchain Challenge, was announced late last month by the Smart Dubai Office (SDO), in conjunction with US-based startup incubator 1776.

In a statement, SDO director general Dr Aisha Bin Bishr said her office hopes to use the contest to identify companies with solutions that could have an impact on Dubai’s plans for modernization.

She said of the initiative:

“Our partnership with 1776 on the Blockchain Challenge allows us to identify strong startup partners and innovative thinkers who can bring to market cutting-edge solutions that will deliver the future city our stakeholders want and expect.”

To attract startups to the competition, the SDO is offering tens of thousands of dollars in cash for the best projects. In addition to the top prize, the contest features a second- and third-place prizes of $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.

The Blockchain Challenge has an application deadline of 13th April, with 20 companies set to be selected to participate from all the entries.

The selected startups will then travel to Dubai in May for the actual contest, where they will be judged on the scope on their project, the degree to which it can be taken to market, and the ways in which blockchain is utilized.

Fitting squarely within the emirate’s broader plans for blockchain, the challenge comes months after the SDO signaled that it wants to potentially leverage blockchain as part of a wider modernization effort.

Last May, Bin Bishr called blockchain “one of the most elegant and advanced technologies for cross-business efficiencies”.

The SDO/1776 collaboration also comes on the heels of a UAE blockchain competition focused on smart governance, which announcement the winner at a Dubai government-sponsored showcase this week.

Dubai image via Shutterstock

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