Every innovation is indistinguishable from magic. Blockchain is a clear proof of that, just take a look at what it has already proved to do. Certainly, there is the whole lot of yet undiscovered applications but we at Cointelegraph are curious enough to keep scratching the surface unveiling the potential of technology in revolutionizing various industries.

That is why Cointelegraph and Humaniq are excited to announce The Blockchain Oscar Startup Competition 2017 sponsored by Humaniq, a unique project which represents an innovative model of banking for people not connected to the global financial system. The first round of the competition will take place online from the 2nd to the 4th of March. The final round will be carried out in Munich during the BlockShow conference.

And the winner…. The winner gets it all! And by all I mean 5000 euro, an access to a huge network of experts, investors, consultants and a range of accelerating programs.

Apply now!

If you are an awesome team of awesome people who are working on a project tackling a real-life problem deploying a Blockchain technology, you should start filling in a registration form, like… now.

Addy Creeze, Director at Cointelegraph Events, says:

“There are numerous promising projects in the Blockchain space now tackling a whole variety of problems. Our mission here is to help the most promising startups to take off and connect them to those who are going to use their products and services, integrate them into their businesses or invest in ideas to help them growing.”

Share your vision of Blockchain application with us, there is a high chance you are about to make a breakthrough! Six of the most promising Blockchain startups will join us at one of the coolest events of the year - BlockShow Europe, which is coming to Munich in April.

The event will definitely mark the milestone on the growth path of your startup as you will be asked to pitch your project in front of our respected jury.

What we are looking for

“The motivation behind the contest is twofold,” says Richard Kastelein, Chief Marketing Officer at Humaniq, who will be among the members of the jury board. “First of all, we aim to drive innovation at the earliest point of the innovation cycle - the ideation stage.”

“Then we want to provide smart people with a reason to take that idea one step further, get coding, build and MVP or prototype and enter it into a competition,” he continues. “And to give bootstrapping Blockchain startups a platform to not only take their dream to the next level by creating awareness of their project but also put them into play for potential prizes.”

Kastelein hopes to see something brand new that he has not seen before - a great new idea and totally new way to use Blockchain that has not been thought of before. He admits that it might be a tough call - realistically he hopes to see a project that is close to the market and has some kind of revenue potential in the near future.

Creeze agrees with him and says that the point of this contest is to try to find a social project which is aimed at solving the concrete real-life problem (like Humaniq project that aims to help billions of unbanked people to get out of poverty): “Startups mimicking Bitcoin will be turned away.” The focus is specifically on socially oriented startups.

Creeze encourages to participate in the contest:

“Why should you participate? Well, it is a good opportunity for you to promote your team and your project. You can also become a part of this huge Blockchain community only by actively participating in it. And of course who would mind winning the main prize?”

This competition is indeed a great opportunity for everyone starting a project in Blockchain space to gain new knowledge and sharpen your skills in bringing your ideas to life and turning them into a real business.

A number of prominent experts have already joined the competition as members of jury and advisors and more will be announced later on. They will be overseeing short-listed projects helping them to get ready for their pitches in Munich.

So, who are our Masters?

Richard Kastelein, a Canadian entrepreneur, advisor, marketing expert, event designer and a major publisher and a voice of the Blockchain community. He started in Blockchain space with establishing the very first online magazine talking about Blockchain technology outside of Bitcoin-oriented themes, Blockchain News.

Kastelein is also serving as interim Chief Marketing Officer for Blockchain banking startup Humaniq, building a Blockchain solution to bring banking via Blockchain, mobile devices, and biometrics to the billions of people worldwide who can't access the financial system.

Tawanda Kembo, technical advisor at Humaniq, with an experience in IT for over a decade, he has established himself as one of leading Bitcoin Evangelist in Africa, educating about the state of Bitcoin ecosystem in the region. He is responsible for the Zimbabwean exchange Zambabit.

Jamie Burke, CEO at Outlier Ventures & Outlier Capital LLP, Founder of Blockchain Angels, has been investing in and raising money for Blockchain start-ups for over four years now, exploring where Blockchain technology can enable convergence.

Anish Mohammed, Lead Security Architect at Lloyds Banking Group, has also confirmed his participation as an expert. More names of influential fintech experts will be disclosed closer to the event, on March 2 at the latest.

How to impress the jury

Obviously, with awesome ideas and passion about what you are doing. But there is something else.

Richard Kastelein says:

“A team means a lot to me - and that may sound hard - but pedigree and history is important - it gives judges something tangible to grab onto aside from the project on the table. There are a million great ideas out there but the world is short of great teams. But it's not all about whether or not one has attended MIT or Stanford, Oxford or Cambridge - it's about what they have build before, with whom, and the thinking that went into previous work. That impresses me more than academic cred' - a kind of 'street smart' is also great.”

We are expecting to see real productive days during the competition with a series of educational webinars, QA sessions, and discussions of participants’ cases. Topics of webinars are going to be announced later on, as well as a detailed program of the competition. Just keep an eye on the webpage for further updates.

How do you sign up?

To embark on this awesome journey, fill in the registration form on the BlockShow website. Submit an abstract of your project plan (200 words max) and a presentation of your startup. Once we get all the information about your project, we will make sure to notify you and confirm your participation. Expect to hear from us within three days after your registration.

Cointelegraph is planning to run this competition on a regular basis seeking to build a system of nurturing the most promising projects in the Blockchain space.

“We are expecting the community to see that Blockchain projects are already changing the world and the scope of this revolution will be even greater,” says Creeze.

I don’t know why you are still reading this instead of filling in the registration form, but okay, here are a few more words of wisdom from Richard Kastelein, one of our judges, on why you should actually sign up for a competition:

“Because building cool stuff is just... well - cool.

Because it's a great way to win - prizes are fun, competition is good.

Because you get to meet new people - others who are in the same space as you are.

Because putting your ideas in front of judges who are industry experts is just a damn good idea if you want to take your idea to the next level.

Because feedback is good - and that's what you will get. Good and bad. You need both praise and criticism.

Because you can't win unless you try and if you won't try then you don't deserve to win.”