As announced on May 19, Swiss cryptocurrency exchange Lykke will be offering four prizes totalling 200,000 Swiss Francs ($205,800) as part of the Open Initiative

The initiative is looking for new proposals from developer teams for blockchain-based solutions to problems linked to current economic turmoil, divided into four categories.

The jury and the categories for tech

Judging the contest will be Lykke CEO Richard Olsen, former CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo, and Ashkan Nikeghbali, a professor at the University of Zurich. Giancarlo is also serving as a strategic advisor to the Open Initiative.

The four categories are blockchain-backed platforms for digital vouchers, supply chains, a real-time economic news system, and the more general category of research initiatives. 

Olsen told Cointelegraph that he views major technical innovation as the next stage of economic recovery: “What's lacking is profound innovation that addresses the inefficiency of the economic system.” He elaborated:

“A key issue is that the governments have been more in a reactive, more panic-like mode. And it's now, as the first onslaught has happened and people get back to work that it's very important to now be strategic.” 

Commenting on the role of the COVID-19 pandemic in inspiring new technological solutions, Giancarlo told Cointelegraph: 

“One of the things that a crisis does is it stimulates imagination and innovation. During peaceful times, people are not faced with the tension on a normal way of doing things. And then suddenly you have a crisis like this that puts enormous tension on traditional processes.”

Terms of the contest and potential future rounds

Submissions are welcome from all over the world. Giancarlo told Cointelegraph, “The transformational nature of exponential digital technology crosses borders.” 

The current window of submissions ends on July 3, at which point the jury will select winners. However, Olsen hopes to continue the contest further into the future to promote further fintech development.

In March, Giancarlo spoke to Cointelegraph about the Digital Dollar Project, a think tank he co-founded to push for a central bank digital currency in the United States.