Announcing the 2019 NYC BigApps Blockchain Cohort

NYC BigApps
8 min readSep 9, 2019
Get tickets for NYC BigApps Blockchain Demo here!

Blockchain is teeming with use cases for governments all across the world. We’ve seen successful pilots implemented in places from Delaware to Ethiopia. New York City, however, is a whole different ballgame. With a population of over 8.6 million, legacy systems have been kept in place to maintain the reliability and safety of information without interrupting public services. The bigger a company or organization gets, the harder it is to innovate and test emerging technology — large governments are equally affected by this.

This year, NYCEDC and SecondMuse teamed up to explore potential use cases for blockchain in New York City. We first held need-finding workshops with government stakeholders from NYC Economic Development Corporation, NYC Department of Buildings, NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, and more to determine their most pressing challenges and establish where blockchain may help to provide meaningful solutions. From this, three Challenge Areas were selected–– Identity, Energy, and Real Estate Asset Management.

Then, we asked the blockchain community: how would you use blockchain to address these Challenge Areas and improve the efficiency, security, and transparency of public sector services in NYC? This exploration is laying the early groundwork to introduce new technology to city government.

The competition is nearing the end with 10 finalist teams preparing to present their answers to that initial question. These teams have identified and developed practical use cases for blockchain in civic applications and will present their solutions at our upcoming Demo Day. Please join us for an all-day event on October 3rd, 2019, where you will hear all 10 of the following companies pitch for mentorship, services, cash prizes, and more! Tickets are available here.


BlockApps STRATO

BlockApps STRATO is a blockchain-powered marketplace for NYC building retrofitting activity, synced with a real-time blockchain ledger for storing, monitoring, and forecasting carbon emissions. Companies, buildings, and other organizations can privately and securely upload emissions data both automatically with APIs and IoT devices and/or manually with a user-friendly web app. Building GHG data and forecasts can be used to create specific recommendations for retrofit activities and create bids in the marketplace. Once an activity is completed, regulators/authorities can validate the retrofitting activity to update the GHG data ledger.

The GHG data ledger and retrofit marketplace can be managed with very granular permissions such that regulators and authorities have wide visibility, while buildings, service providers, and other organizations can only access the data they need.

For building owners, the ledger will provide updated GHG data and penalty projections — or, alternatively, carbon credit projections — which can be used to inform retrofitting decisions and quickly show both the financial and ecological impact of recent retrofitting activities.

For regulators and authorities, the ledger can provide more frequent and granular GHG analytics, which can inform both the GHG emissions model and incentives program decisions.

Supply and demand data from the retrofit marketplace can be used to further inform incentives program decisions, while also providing service companies with clearer data on both demand for services and their ecological impact.

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Omega Grid

Omega Grid is a blockchain energy rewards platform and local energy market software that can help our electric grid support an order of magnitude more solar panels and electric vehicles.

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Perpetual PowerChain

Perpetual is creating a blockchain-based solution that measures individual and public sector service energy consumption against one another.

Perpetual PowerChain would allow New York City residents to securely track their individual carbon footprint by capturing usage in a unique “Power Score”. Similarly, PowerChain will capture the city’s aggregate energy utilization on the blockchain. Data would be contributed by the participating city agencies towards getting full coverage across city energy consumption. This metric is called a “Metro Score”.

Individuals will be incentivized to improve their Power Score, while agencies will be encouraged to contribute data and reduce their energy consumption. The net result is a greener New York City!

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Real Estate

Ivan by Alpine

Ivan is software that allows you to create and share real-world identities for people, places, and things and map how they interrelate. For New York City, Alpine proposes to help manage licenses and documents around those relationships and would address data inefficiencies around interagency collaboration.

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ARGO (Applied Research in Government Operations)

Applied Research in Government Operations (ARGO) is a startup nonprofit established in 2015 that builds, operates, and maintains pioneering data infrastructure to transform how water reliability, street quality, and other basic services are delivered in the public’s interest.

The big idea is to create a new system of public sector accounting that assigns a digital identity to each asset on a blockchain. Through ARGO, repair and maintenance will be managed by a digital workflow that includes digital inspection methods and smart contracts.

At scale, such a system could significantly improve government operations through improved coordination and transparency, allowing agencies to engage in predictive maintenance while keeping overhead IT management costs low.

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Strategic Generation

Strategic Generation offers Cybersecurity, DevOps and Change and Release Management services. The team uses the Lean and Agile approach to efficiently deliver project initiatives, optimize IT value stream and convert business needs into capabilities and services that provide real value for end users.

Clients benefit from the firm’s dedication to address security vulnerabilities before they make it into production by combining application and infrastructure security into the software development life cycle.

Our Strategic Generation Permitting Blockchain technology would enable full and rapid resource allocation for the process of permitting for New York City.

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MyCity.ID byMilligan Partners

MyCity.ID is a blockchain-based, self-sovereign digital ID that will improve the verification of identity-related information. The end goal is to improve the process of applying for social services and benefits by using pre-verified information, making the process faster and easier for residents and service providers. MyCity.ID proposes a private blockchain network that would keep individuals’ information secure and allow them to control who can see and use their ID.

Milligan Partners is a creative team of technologists and management consultants. We make a positive impact through teamwork and innovation. With integrity and a holistic approach to problem-solving, we help our clients design solutions that improve their operations and allow them to better navigate the challenges of tomorrow. Our work focuses on the public sector and transportation services.

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NY CommON (New York Communities Online) is a proposal to improve connectivity between New Yorkers and the vital resources provided by city government, nonprofits, and community-based organizations. We are exploring how blockchain technology might empower users to identify and apply for public programs. Utilizing underlying blockchain technology would help identify eligibility based on an individual’s unique profile. With NY CommON, users will be placed on a map that displays the closest resources available to them. Then, the platform will compile that list of resources into a comprehensive roadmap to help them navigate and apply to different programs.

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One Smart Lab

One Smart Lab is blockchain identity management that incorporates advanced biometric authentication techniques to maintain data security. This proposal would guarantee the most recent and accurate data across all agencies and would ensure privacy between New York residents and government agencies.

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uPort is a user-centric data platform anchored on the Ethereum blockchain. It delivers scalable decentralized solutions for digital identity, reputation, and multiparty trust.

Built on interoperable standards, uPort proposes to improve identity management in New York City by empowering residents to easily establish identities and start receiving and managing credentials in their uPort mobile wallet. These credentials would be issued and cryptographically signed by trusted parties in the city, making forgery difficult. Anytime citizens interact with one of the city agencies or a partnering business, they would be able to securely share their reusable credentials for faster access to services. This approach would help New York City residents access a broader range of services without compromising their privacy in the process. With uPort, there would be no need to stand in long lines and collect a folder full of documents to confirm your identity.

uPort is backed by ConsenSys, a global incubator of blockchain applications.

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About NYC BigApps Blockchain

NYC BigApps is the flagship civic innovation challenge in New York City for developers, product designers, academics, students, entrepreneurs, and New Yorkers at large to apply their know-how to improve the Big Apple.

This year, NYC BigApps Blockchain invited participants to collaborate with government leaders to co-design meaningful blockchain applications that solve real-world challenges facing public sector services and processes.

About SecondMuse

SecondMuse is a collaboration agency that works with city, regional and national governments to accelerate the growth of 21st-century economies. Our New York programs include M-Corps, Futureworks and NYC BigApps Blockchain. M-Corps, funded by NYSERDA, is the statewide program to help cleantech startups manufacture and go to market. Futureworks, funded by NYCEDC, is a hardware incubator as well as a network of prototyping facilities throughout New York City. BigApps Blockchain is an open innovation challenge to improve efficiency, security, and transparency in NYC’s public sector.


New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.