South African blockchain crowdfunding startup The Sun Exchange has been named the overall winner of the Blockchain Challenge hosted by the Smart Dubai Office, beating 20 other international startups to the US$20,000 top prize.
The inaugural Blockchain Challenge awarded a total of US$45,000 to the most promising solutions using blockchain technology, with the winners now also having the opportunity to pilot their products in Dubai and contribute to the Dubai Blockchain Strategy.
Abraham Cambridge, founder of The Sun Exchange, took the first place prize of US$20,000, with Mark Balovnev from Educhain placed second to win US$15,000 and third place – and US$10,000 – going to Scott Austin from Everledger.
Launched in 2015, The Sun Exchange is a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects people wanting to invest in solar energy with projects. The startup raised US$60,000 in funding last year.
“The Dubai Blockchain Challenge has engaged with the most innovative startups across the globe, to push the boundaries of what is possible when we embrace emerging technologies to improve lives,” said Dr Aisha bin Bishr, director-general of the Smart Dubai Office.
“Those who participated in the Dubai Blockchain Challenge are contributing their valuable experience to achieving the vision of Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make Dubai the happiest city on earth.”
Wesam Lootah, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, said there was no better way to ensure a bright future for the people of Dubai than to foster innovation as a means to encourage innovators to register unprecedented successes.
“The Blockchain Challenge marks another important milestone for our Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which seeks to execute the leadership’s vision to make Dubai the first city in the world to conduct all of its government transactions using blockchain technology, and to upgrade government services and ensure customer satisfaction,” Lootah said.
The startups were shortlisted and flown to Dubai from 18 cities from 15 countries including Sweden, United Kingdom, South Korea, Netherlands, Canada, Ukraine, Brazil, New Zealand, Vietnam, Belgium, USA, France, UAE and Italy.