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DLT4EU Announces Blockchain Startup Winners in its First Open Call


The European Union-backed DLT4EU, managed by Metabolic (NL), Digital Catapult (UK), and Ideas for Change (ES) have announced the wrap up of a recent open call to curate a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) applications for public and social good across the EU, supported by a community of developers, beneficiaries, advisors, and investors.

“We believe that impactful DLTs will be built upon strong collaborative relationships between DLT developers, beneficiaries within the social and public sectors, and impact investors. Therefore, the DLT4EU program will connect the expertise of leading innovators, entrepreneurs and developers with real-world, unmet challenges in the public and social sectors to create market-ready social ventures,” stated Metabolic on their website.

Eight teams of developers and innovators were selected to join the six-month accelerator programme, which will start July 1, 2020. The eight challenges entering the acceleration phase include proposals as interesting as promoting circular consumption models for electronic equipment, developing track-and-trace reliable solutions in the cases of food or textiles, enabling citizen data sovereignty or helping charitable/humanitarian organisations to face barriers within their processes, improving transparency and accountability.

The selection was done by 11 expert evaluators from all over Europe who have chosen the finalists of the Open Call among more than 85 participant projects.

DLT4EU selected finalists are from six different European countries: two from Spain, one from Ireland, one from the Netherlands, two from England, one from Italy and one from Germany.

The Challenges and the finalist venture teams that will be entering the accelerator are the ones that follow:

  1. Collaborative E-waste management by the City of Sant Boi will be addressed by the Spanish association Ereuse, promoting a circular consumption model for electronic equipment, extending its life cycle and value, and promoting utilisation.
  2. Track and Trace: Supply Chain Transparency by UNDP & AltFinLab will be addressed by the English company Everledger, developing an infrastructure for a track-and-trace solution to be piloted with the use case of food, medical supplies or textiles.
  3. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Energy Solutions by UNDP & AltFinLab will be addressed by the Italian foundation Prosume: developing an infrastructure that enables asset trading within communities and/or cooperatives, of utilities – such as off-grid renewable energy markets.
  4. Digital Impact Coins by UNDP & AltFinLab will be addressed by the university spin-off company Acren, enabling new types of innovative investment in Community projects.
  5. Citizen-Powered Circular Textiles Sector by the Amsterdam CTO will be addressed by the Spanish cooperative DisCo: changing the way textile waste is collected, treated and re-processed and allowing new uses in the city of Amsterdam.
  6. Data Sovereignty for all Citizens by the City of Helsingborg Municipality will be addressed by the Irish company AID:Tech, helping citizens become the owners of their personal data generated by public administration,  using predictive data models to improve public service provision.
  7. Charitable Aid Accountability for Humanitarian Agencies by the Red Cross and DFS will be addressed by the British platform helping to face barriers with the reporting, verification, and accountability processes, improving transparency and accountability within public service provision and humanitarian development activities.
  8. Shared E-Mobility by The Greater London Authority will be addressed by the Dutch platform CiSe, using DLT/blockchain to improve the way multiple European cities can provide common digital infrastructure on e-mobility.

Each of the selected participant teams will gain access to a network of experts across the areas of social innovation, business model innovation, open-source licensing and regulatory issues, among others. Financial support will be given in the form of a participation grant between €8,000- €9,000, which covers costs associated with participating in the accelerator (e.g. technical costs and people’s time). Participants will have the ability to share the outcomes of their work with a wide audience of early adopters and impact investors at the Final DLT4EU Demo Day: a final event at the European Commission in late February 2021.

DLT4EU will facilitate a distributed accelerator model engaging consortium partners, accelerator participants, mentors and the wider DLT4EU ecosystem. The program’s structure has been designed to stimulate DLT experimentation, innovation and uptake within the public and social sectors in close collaboration with real-world beneficiaries and the challenges they face, who can inform the development of their DLTs and ultimately adapt and scale the resulting applications. Beneficiaries include the City of AmsterdamDark Matter LabsSpanish Red CrossDigital Future SocietyCity of Sant BoiCity of HelsingborgAgency for Digital Italy and the United Nations Development Programme.

There are two main pillars within the program:

  1. The Virtual Field Labs (VFL): virtual spaces for collaboration and practical exploration of DLTs for the public good in close collaboration with real beneficiaries and challenges.
  2. Curated Acceleration Program: co-designed and delivered by each partner in London, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, this pillar will underpin the development of the DLT prototypes with a taught program that covers technical expertise, business model development, legal guidance, and impact assessment.

The accelerator programme 

The six-month customised accelerator programme will provide the teams with the opportunity to work closely with world-leading experts in the fields of DLT, circular economy, digital citizenship, and public sector innovation to tackle the diverse set of public sector challenges described above.

The programme will start in July with a week of virtual sessions. At the end of the accelerator, venture teams will submit functional prototypes that help solve the chosen challenge – these Proofs of Concept (PoC) will then be assessed by an Evaluation Jury. Winners will be announced at a final event in the European Commission facilities in Brussels in March 2021 and awarded follow-on funding to develop the PoC further.

The DLT4EU project is led by a consortium of three organisations specialized in distributed ledger technologies, digital social innovation, and environmental sustainability: Ideas for Change, (Barcelona) responsible for citizen collaboration and data management projects such as TRIEM and CitiesHealth; Metabolic, (Amsterdam) sustainability experts using systems thinking to tackle global sustainability challenges and accelerate the transition to a circular economy, with initiatives such as REFLOW and Plasticity; and Digital Catapult, (London) the UK’s digital innovation centre specialized in the design of facilities and programmes to drive the adoption of advanced digital technologies through activities such as DLT Field Labs and the Machine Intelligence Garage.

Richard Kastelein
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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