Does cryptography hold the key to solving global social and environmental challenges? It certainly holds promise for some. Blockchain has become a hot topic recently, thanks to its variety of potential applications across supply chains, marketing, and more. Large companies such as IBM and Walmart have already jumped on board.
Now, a new incubator is inviting people around the world to ideate and prototype blockchain-based solutions to four challenges: reliable hardware, mechanisms for democracy, agricultural practices and support for refugees. The Decentralized Impact Incubator will be the second annual incubator run by the Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition (BSIC), a ConsenSys initiative.
“With the success of our first program in fall 2017, we are excited to build on our accomplishments and expand our reach with the Decentralized Impact Incubator,” said Valeria Kholostenko, Head of Growth and Global Community for ConsenSys Social Impact. “The goal is to activate a global community of developers, entrepreneurs, humanitarians, students, and marketers, and support them as they build social enterprises using innovative solutions to address some of the world's most pressing issues.”
During the six-week program, participants will gather to form teams, design business models, define impact metrics, and code their solutions within the scope of the four challenges. Teams will be required to meet weekly checkpoints with the support and guidance of mentors who are experienced professionals in either the impact or the blockchain space. Individuals are encouraged to apply as participants or mentors. Organizations are also able to participate as mentors and sponsors.
Winning teams will receive a grant to support the ongoing development of their project, along with business development training to accelerate their solutions beyond proof of concept stage. The grant will be a cash prize of $50,000, split amongst the best teams in the four categories; $10,000 for first place winners and $2,500 for runners-up.
Topcoder, a crowdsourcing marketplace with experience in competitive programming competitions, will host the incubator on their platform and lend technical expertise to participants.
“Blockchain has always had the potential to impact society for the better through its built-in immutability and transparency, we’re proud to host this program and help that impact take shape,” said Mike Morris, CEO of Topcoder.
The 6-week incubator will start on April 9th and culminate with the opportunity for winning teams to showcase their solutions in front of reputable impact investors, NGOs, philanthropists, and charities during the second annual Blockchain for Social Impact Conference, to be held on June 1st in Washington DC at the US Institute of Peace.