The Blockchain Challenge saw 21 global blockchain startup finalists fly in from 18 cities to compete for prize money and a chance to implement top innovative blockchain solutions for the city.

30 May, 2017

Dubai, UAE — The Smart Dubai Office announced the results of the first Blockchain Challenge today at the Dubai Design District (D3), awarding a grand total of USD 45,000 to the most promising solutions using blockchain technology from 21 international startups. The winning start-ups now have an opportunity to pilot their products in Dubai and contribute to the Dubai Blockchain Strategy which was announced by the Smart Dubai Office and the Dubai Future Foundation in October 2016 with an objective to make Dubai the first Blockchain-powered city by 2020.

Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, congratulated the winners for their role in the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, saying the results demonstrate what is possible when people and cities work together. “The Dubai Blockchain Challenge has engaged with the most innovative start-ups across the globe, to push the boundaries of what is possible when we embrace emerging technologies to improve lives,” Her Excellency said.

“The young men and women who participated in the Dubai Blockchain Challenge are contributing their valuable experience to achieving the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make Dubai the happiest city on earth,” she said. “Their breakthrough solutions will mean better city experiences for everyone in the very near future.”

Abraham Cambridge from Sun exchange  took the first place prize of USD 20,000. Mark Balovnev from Educhain  placed second and won USD 15,000. Third place prize of USD 10,000 went to Scott Austin from Everledger

The following participants also got special recognition due to their promising ideas –Hamsa Warfa from BanQu, Fadwa Mohanna from miCity and Hasan kurtulus from Copyrobo

“There is no better way to ensure a bright future for the people of Dubai than to foster innovation as a means to encourage innovators to register unprecedented successes,” said H.E. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment. “The Blockchain Challenge marks another important milestone for our Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which seeks to execute the leadership’s vision to make Dubai the first city in the world to conduct all of its government transactions using blockchain technology, and to upgrade government services and ensure customer satisfaction.”

H.E. Lootah went on to add: “Today’s winners will set an example for many around the world to emulate and work for the benefit of mankind. This global competition places Dubai at the fore in terms of innovation, and opens new doors for the applications of blockchain technology.”

The Smart Dubai Office and 1776 launched the Dubai Blockchain Challenge in February 2017, calling for international start-ups with game-changing applications of Blockchain technology, in any industry, to contribute to the Dubai Blockchain Strategy.

“The Blockchain Challenge is one part of our collaboration with Smart Dubai Office in achieving its goals by connecting them to startups who have solutions for the challenges they face. At 1776, we empower startup ecosystems and help institutions and corporations harness the ecosystem to solve complex challenges,” said Evan Burfield, Cofounder and CEO at 1776. “Through UNION, 1776’s digital platform, we were able to issue a call for solutions and identify startups that would benefit from participating in the challenge and working directly with SDO on their businesses.”

After reviewing hundreds of applications, 21 startups were short-listed and flown to Dubai from 18 cities from 15 countries including Sweden, United Kingdom, South Korea, Netherlands, Canada, Ukraine, Brazil, New Zealand, Vietnam, Belgium, USA, France, UAE, Italy and South Africa. The start-ups participated in a two-day workshop and pitch competition, facilitated by Smart Dubai and 1776, to select the most impactful Blockchain solutions for Dubai. The submitted ideas span blockchain applications in a wide range of topics from energy, real estate, asset management, payments, education, healthcare, and supply chain management to social behaviour.

Judges of the competition included Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office; Peter Cerikuri, 1776 President and Global Chief Innovation Officer; Dr. Marwan AlZarouni, Director of Information Services, Dubai Electronic Security Center; Mohammed Shael Alsaadi, CEO Corporate Strategic Affairs, Dubai Department of Economic Development; Ammar Al Malik, Executive Director Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City. The competing finalists were judged on the innovative use of blockchain technology, size of market opportunity, traction and revenue, team members, and the ability to implement the solution effectively.

The competition event was attended by Director Generals and Chief Innovation Officers of Dubai public and private entities, renowned investors, and the wider startup ecosystem.

The Dubai Blockchain Strategy is co-founded by Smart Dubai in collaboration with Dubai Future Foundation. Under the strategy, Smart Dubai is driving the implementation of the emerging technology, in line with its mission to embrace technology innovation to make Dubai a more seamless, safe, efficient and personalized city experience, to achieve the three pillars of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy: Government efficiency, industry creation and thought leadership.

For more information on the 21 finalists of the Blockchain Challenge, please visit the website:


About Smart Dubai
Smart Dubai is anchored in the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make Dubai the happiest city on earth. Collaborating with private sector and government partners, Smart Dubai is the government office charged with facilitating Dubai’s citywide smart transformation, to empower, deliver and promote an efficient, seamless, safe and impactful city experience for residents and visitors.

Smart Dubai is committed to a collaborative and agile approach to Dubai’s smart city transformation, empowering strategic partnerships with the public and private sector and academia to design and implement services and elevate citywide through leadership, in line with its mission to make Dubai the happiest city on earth through technology innovation.

Media contact:
Nakul Berry

About 1776
1776 is a public benefit corporation that scouts and funds high-growth startups around the world focused on solving society’s most fundamental challenges in sectors like education, energy, transportation and financial services. Launched by cofounders Donna Harris and Evan Burfield and headquartered in Washington, D.C., with additional campuses in Dubai, New York City and San Francisco, 1776 serves hundreds of startups and institutions worldwide through its innovation curriculum, mentorship, investment and programming. It hosts more than 500 international events per year that attract heads of state, Fortune 500 CEOs, influential investors and global press. For more information, please visit  and follow @1776 on Twitter and @1776vc on Instagram.

© Press Release 2017