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The University College London (UCL) Centre for Blockchain Technologies Announce Blockchain AI Hackathon

The University College London (UCL) Centre for Blockchain Technologies is running the blockchain technology hackathon of the year called Block-Sprint – in partnership with Ripple and supported by Capital Enterprise. It will be part of a series of events from the 11th – 22nd November to help accelerate innovation in the areas of Payments and Decentralised Finance.

Block-Sprint is a hackathon to help accelerate innovation in blockchain technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the areas of Payments and Decentralised Finance.

2019 is set to be the year people truly embrace the combination of AI and blockchain to take their businesses even further with new companies like Livetiles, who are exploring the intersection of the two nascent technologies with verve. 

With AI there have been massive privacy concerns in the past. Blockchain, by its very nature, decentralizes the information, or at least the ownership, depending on how the particular enterprise has set up their AI, making it more difficult for it to be abused by a select few for nefarious profit. There are a few projects exploring the Blockchain meets AI arena and the market is Blue Ocean

LiveTiles Blockchain Infographic FinalThere are few examples of the start-ups and companies ready to revolutionize the way people process and use information. The most exciting thing about AI and blockchain is that this is just the beginning. 

The London hackathon hopes to add on to the shortlist of Blockchain/AI projects. It consists of multiple events over a two week period between Monday 11th and Friday 22nd, the hackathon is aimed at:

  • Companies using blockchain technologies and AI
  • Blockchain developers
  • Data Scientists
  • Students

Block-Sprint will give participants the opportunity in being part of diverse teams including individuals from multiple companies to create original and innovative ideas, discover fresh talent for your company, and provide the perfect chance for collaboration, networking, and sharing cutting edge ideas. Over the two weeks, they will provide access to mentors in specialist areas in one-to-team workshops, in order for teams to create and refine their idea before receiving support to build it out on the final day.


If you’d like to learn more about this event before applying, come along to the Info evening on Friday 11th October: free pizza, the chance to find teammates and learn more about Block-Sprint.

All you need to apply is a proposal to build out; if you don’t have a team you can find one at the application evening on the 8th November, and submit an application form together then. Applications close Sunday 10th November at 18:00.

The winning team will receive:

  • A cash prize of £2000
  • The chance to present your idea at a premier blockchain conference
  • Introduction to VC’s to fund your venture via Capital Enterprise
  • Membership of the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies Industry Programme

Entering this hackathon is completely free:

  • Team members must come from at least two out of the following four groups (companies, institutions, students and academics).
  • All teams must have at least four members
  • You are encouraged to add students to the mix – this is a great hiring opportunity! If you have trouble forming a team, please still submit an application or get in touch with us and we’ll try and help.
  • UCL operates an open IP rights system such that IP will not be owned by UCL or other partners running this hackathon

Judges include:

  • Dr. Paolo Tasca is the Executive Director of the UCL CBT and a Digital Economist specialising in P2P financial systems. He is an advisor on blockchain technologies for different tech companies and international organisations including the EU Parliament and the United Nations and was Lead Economist on digital currencies and P2P financial systems at the Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Marcus Treacher is the SVP of Customer Success at Ripple. Marcus has over 30 years of experience in transaction banking and payment technology, including 12 years in global leadership roles at HSBC. He served as a member of the Global Board of SWIFT from 2010 to 2016. Prior to joining Ripple Marcus was HSBC’s Global Head of Payments Innovation, applying emerging fintech to solve customer challenges in digital payments, trade and supply chain. Marcus also works with industry communities, organizations and governments to help shape new payment practices.
  • Diana Biggs is Global Head of Innovation for HSBC Private Banking. In this role, she leads on the development and management of the GPB innovation process, bringing emerging Fintech trends to GPB and the establishment of an innovation pipeline to incubate and test new ideas. Prior to joining GPB, she was Head of Digital Innovation, UK & Europe for RBWM, where she led work across fintech partnerships and pilots, innovation knowledge sharing and capabilities building, and the exploration of emerging technologies.
  • Pinar Emirdag formerly led the digital product development and innovation team at State Street. Pinar has worked on a number of industry-changing initiatives, building new marketplaces and capital markets offerings throughout her career at London Stock Exchange, ICAP, Liquidnet, Citigroup and Lava Trading which was a successful financial technology firm which was acquired by Citigroup. She has worked on entrepreneurial initiatives as an executive, founder, advisor and board member.


  • Friday 11th October
    Information Evening
  • Saturday 16th – Sunday 17th November
    Optional Workshops
  • Friday 8th November
    Application Evening
  • Monday 18th – Thursday 21st November
    Product Refinement Week
  • Monday 11th November
    Evening Kick Off Event
  • Friday 22nd November
    Prototype Dev Day + Awards + Party!
  • Friday 15th November
    Mentor Afternoon

For more information see the website here.

Richard Kasteleinhttps://www.the-blockchain.com
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, the Netherlands where he has set down his anchor to raise a family and write. Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015) and director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He has written over 2500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published in Harvard Business Review, Venturebeat, Wired, The Guardian and a number of other publications. Kastelein has an Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute software and Technology. He has 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 at over 50 events in 30+ cities.
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