How Blockchain Startup Contest Aims To Foster Tech Savy Projects

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That Bitcoin is not the only innovation based on Blockchain technology is nothing new. What's new is the Blockchain Startup Contest encouraging startups to submit & improve the ideas they're working on:

Blockchain technology is about to revolutionize the world! At least that is what experts say. But why is it such a big thing? And what’s behind all this?

Blockchain Is On Its Way To Disrupt Industries

The best known and also first application using Blockchain technology is Bitcoin, a digital currency which, by now, is used a couple of hundred thousand times a day partly replacing conventional money. Some companies pay their employees or freelancers in Bitcoin, electricity bills in Hannover (Germany) and bills of the local government in Zug (Switzerland) among many other things can directly be payed in Bitcoin.

However Blockchain technology is not just the basis for alternative currencies. Possible applications go much further, having the potential to disrupt whole economy sectors and change the way we live, work and interact. This technology can be the base for decentralized social networks, new forms of e-governance or even machines negotiating contracts between each other. Many Blockchain enthusiasts think it could improve the world and startups in this area could “make a dent into the universe”.

Fostering Innovation With Blockchain Startup Contest

To foster Blockchain technology within the startup community Blockchainhub Graz has initiated a startup contest with 15.000 € in prize money with the possibility of further funding as well as cooperating with industry partners and testing markets. “But these are not the only benefits for the participants”, as Thomas Zeinzinger of the organizer’s team points out. According to him feedback from an international jury, increased visibility for the startups’ own products and services as well as the possibility to gain a reputation within the Blockchain ecosystem will make participation worth its time.

How Blockchain Startup Contest Aims To Foster Tech Savy ProjectsApplication Is Open Now

Every startup (idea) that isn’t older than 2 years is allowed to enter the competition. Further actually using Blockchain technology is not required, however there has to be a clear benefit for the ecosystem of decentralized technologies. This could be improving the robustness of the network (e.g. Parity while DDoS attack on Geth) or by using existing platforms to build on top of it (e.g. IOTA for IoT solutions). Making today’s platforms more decentralized (e.g. Bitsquare) or creating new networks which are independent from the world wide web (e.g. combining BlockchainID and decentralized storage) are possibly use cases for application.

To ensure that ideas from different fields have the chance of winning the Blockchain Startup Contest, an international, independent jury with members of different backgrounds have been chosen. The jury will award startups in two different categories: software & hardware.

Industry Partners To Support Ideas

The industry partners on the other hand do look out for interesting startups to cooperate and invest in, which is why they brought also special questions into the contest: Energie Steiermark for example is one of the largest energy providers in Austria, with the main focus on energy efficiency and innovative service offerings in the fields of electricity, natural gas, heating and mobility. They brought in two main interests: a blockchain based charging station provider for e-bike, e-motorbike or e-car and a solution for a peer-2-peer energy trading platform. Thomas Wiedner, head of their innovation department explains: „We wanted to support the competition, because we are aware that the Blockchain technology offers immense potential for peer-2-peer trade. As an innovative company, we want to deal with the opportunities and possibilities of the Blockchain technology early on – for us and our customers. “ It’s no wonder Blockchain is one of the main focus areas at their own startup incubation program, Next Incubator.

Another sector highly interested and already quite active in the Blockchain technology is the banking industry – one of the reasons why Erste Bank and Steiermärkische Sparkasse support young entrepreneurs with the Blockchain Startup Contest. To quote Dagmar Eigner-Stengg, head of the GründerCenter: “We support the contest because we find the topic very exciting and it’s very important for us to support and promote startups with the GründerCenter wherever possible. I think that such a competition can help to transform a raw idea into a viable business, and so we can indirectly be part of the birth of a new startup.”

The accounting company eCounting and the IT specialized Kapa Ventures are also on board, possibly supporting interested startups with funding and finances. Last but not least also the City of Graz supports this contest.

Interested? Then apply now till 31st of October or visit the Blockchain Startup Contest website to get more info.



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Photo credit: Mark Fischer via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA