European Commission Offering 32 Blockchain Startups €200.000 Equity-Free Cash for Citizen Data Control Decentralised Solutions

LEDGER, an European Commission funded project, is looking for people working on decentralized technologies such as blockchain. Selected teams will access their 12 month programme and gain up to €200k equity-free.

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LEDGER, a venture builder programme that empowers developers, researchers and entrepreneurs to achieve human-centric solutions to transform digital governance in Europe has launched its first open call to offer direct grants of up to €200,000 euros each to 32 projects building decentralised solutions where citizens retain control over their data.

LEDGER is looking for effective enterprise ideas that respect data sovereignty and operate in alternative space to the concentration of data in a few proprietary platforms. The EU will invest in this by accelerating these projects into companies with a solid human-centric values business model.

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“Our venture builder will provide mentorship, guidance and direct grants of up to 200.000 euros each to 32 projects building decentralised solutions where citizens retain control over their data”, declared Xabier Chao, Project Coordinator of LEDGER and CIO at FundingBox.

Participants will be selected to fit 6 verticals (Health, Finance, Mobility, Public Services, and Energy and Sustainability plus a generic one named ‘Open Disruptive Innovation’).

“Europe needs to be ahead in research and innovation. The 5 verticals we are focusing on and the technologies that will be implemented are a top priority in that agenda”, confirmed Géraldine Andrieux, CEO of BLUMORPHO.

LEDGER is part of the Next Generation Internet initiative from the EC, and aligns with the objectives of the European Blockchain Partnership signed on April 2018. “In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology”, said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, during the signature of the declaration.

“The Next Generation Internet initiative will reverse the Internet paradigm and recognise the value of humanity in technology”, said Roberto Viola, Director General of the European Commission’s DG Connect during the Digital Assembly 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria, in June.

LEDGER will make data a common good owned by citizens, where the value created by data-driven platforms is fairly distributed.  From the total amount granted, €5.6 million will be distributed in cash to teams using decentralized technologies (aka blockchain) for data governance. The deadline for the first open call is the 30th April.

Besides the €200.000 equity-free cash, participants receive DLT based software support and training, technological and business mentoring, vouchers and other enabling benefits throughout a venture builder programme by Dyne.org a prime “think and do” tank active on open software development and part of the EU projects D-CENT and DECODE.

“Selected teams will develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) where privacy-by-design, openness and data governance are at the core of their value proposition”, pointed out Jaromil Roio, CTO of dyne.org.

So far, the European Commission has invested more than €80 million in blockchain projects for societal use. By 2020, the European Commission expects to allocate around €300 million to blockchain initiatives like LEDGER.

The LEDGER team met during the WebSummit in Lisbon where this EC funded initiative was kicked off.

“We are ready to grow projects that will be lead to an Internet more focused on humans and citizens”, said Andres Sanchez, Project Manager at LEDGER and Product Manager at FundingBox an expert organisation in distributing funding.

LEDGER is a consortium led by FundingBox (Poland, Spain and Denmark) in partnership with Dyne (Holland) and BLUMORPHO (France and Germany).

About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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