Blockchain contest among 80 startups

Blockchain contest among 80 startups

Graz, Austria was the site of the Blockchain Startup Contest, which saw teams from nearly 80 startups and 29 countries across the globe compete for a

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Graz, Austria was the site of the Blockchain Startup Contest, which saw teams from nearly 80 startups and 29 countries across the globe compete for a combined total of 15000€ of prize money. Steiermarkische Sparkasse, Energie Steiermark and Erste Group were the main sponsors of the financial technology competition which was organised by BlockchainHub Graz.

On Monday 28th November, the top 20 entrants gathered in Graz at the headquarters of Energie Steiermark to take part in a demo day and, for the winners, to be presented with their prizes live on-stage (in the cryptocurrency of their choice of course).

Each project was assessed on four main criteria: timing, team, concept and business model, though extra consideration was also given to projects with potentially positive social impacts. The international jury was comprised of five experts in the blockchain field, who selected two first-place projects and three second-place projects.

The first place winners were

London-based Etherisc, who presented a decentralised insurance solution based on Blockchain technology. Their first practical application used passenger data on flights to automatically pay compensation in the event of a delay, thus automating a previously onerous process which requires the injured party (the delayed passenger) to contact their airline to receive the compensation that they are contractually entitled to. The award, 5000€ in prize money, was presented by Mag. Kerber from Steiermarkische Sparkasse and Mag. Niederlander from Erste Group Bank AG and paid to the winners live on stage via Ether.

Joint winners Status, based in Singapore, created a multi-purpose Ethereum browser for mobile phones which integrated a number of features including messaging, payments and DApp (decentralized applications). Status were presented their 5000€ prize by Mag. Thomas Wiedner from Energie Steiermark, which was also transferred to them via Ether live on stage.

The second-place winners were

Munich-based Bernstein, who created a process with signifcant implications on the contentious issue of Intellectual Property, as they were able to anonymously document the development history of intellectual properties in terms of both content and time. Naturally, this technology could become a central part of the patenting process.

Representing the host nation, Minebox, developped an innovative solution to cloud storage issues, using a secure, decentralised cloud to exchange storage capacities between users, with accounting done automatically. Speaking during the event, Thomas Zeinzinger, who founded BlockchainHub Graz, said: “We were, of course, very excited to receive submissions from all over the world. But we are also particularly proud to see some very interesting ideas from the Austrian participants in the competition.”

The final team to be recognised were Helperbit; the Italian team drew on recent tragedies in their country to create a solution to a common problem for victims of natural disasters. The team designed a decentralised platform which transfers donations and pays out insurance claims based on data provided from meteorological services, meaning victims of natural disasters, such as the numerous deadly earthquakes which have shaken Italy over the last few years, receive immediate aid without having to contact their insurers.

Bernstein, Minebox and Helperbit all received a prize of 1670€ via Bitcoin and were presented their awards by Mag. Grossek from eCounting, Ms. Langerwisch from eCounting and Dr. Kappe from Kapa Ventures.

Speaking after the event, Petia Niederlander, Head of Retail and Corporate Operations and blockchain expert at Erste Group stated: “As a bank, when we approach the blockchain issue, we do so from the vantage point of finding concrete responses to our clients needs and raising customer satisfaction with regard to the speed and availability of digital services”

“As one of the sponsors of the Blockchain Startup Contest, Erste Group is particularly pleased at the fact that all of the many interesting submissions for this competition have a similarly strong focus on the customer.”