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ETHDenver 2019 Judging Guidelines

Familiarize yourself with the “Scrutiny of the Bufficorn.”

Photo Credit: Austin Wright

ETHDenver 2019 is one of the largest BUIDLATHONs in the world (up to 500 teams will be competing for only 20 finalist spots!) so we designed the judging process to be fair and efficient, given the enormous variety of hacker skill sets, judge backgrounds, and project types we’ll see. Several factors were discussed amongst the judging stewards to ensure a solid flow and entertaining agenda for everyone involved in ETHDenver 2019. If you’re a team looking to win, you’ll need to follow the next few sections carefully to ensure your project is on point. We’ll of course remind you during the event of the details and have lots of stewards on-site available for questions. We hope having this handy guide will ensure a smooth, fun and exciting experience. If you have a judging question or suggestion you’d like us to consider, please reach out to

BUIDLing Your Team

If you don’t have a team yet, don’t stress! There are several ways you can connect with other attendees right now. Download our Status channel and start chatting with others looking for projects, come to our planned #BUIDL Week activities, or consider attending a blockchain meetup near you. Read our full list of tips for building a team before ETHDenver here.

If you arrive at ETHDenver and still don’t have a team, there will be a few “icebreaker” sessions prior to the opening ceremonies on Friday, February 15th where you can meet teams looking for more members or connect with other solo hackers looking to partner up. If you bring an idea along, you’ll have the opportunity to share it during open mic hour.

Team Guidelines

  1. You need at least two people to form a team. This is not a solo sport; collaboration is key. The max for any one team is four people. Any mix works, but a sample team might have: back end coder, front end coder, UI/UX designer and business/project manager.
  2. We believe in a level playing field. As such, pre-existing projects are not allowed if you wish to be considered for prizes. You may, however, build a new feature for an existing project that is unique and standalone. Judges will make the final decision on whether a project will qualify for prize consideration.
  3. ETHDenver is a live, in-person event only. We are unable to host individuals or hacker teams who wish to participate virtually.

Judge Experience and Background

One piece of feedback we heard in 2018 was that not all judging groups were created equally. While some were comprised of mostly business experts, others were made up of all engineers. In an effort to level the playing field, judges this year were asked to identify themselves as “Business/Operations/Investing/Design” vs “Technologist/Engineer/Developer.” With this change, we hope that each of the 20 judging groups (~4 judges per group) will now have a similar proportion between these two categories. This should give all projects a fairer shot as each judging group will have a collection of diverse skill sets to understand each project’s strengths and weaknesses.

Judging Criteria

All projects will belong to either the Open or Impact track. In addition to their track, projects can also complete bounties. This year we are strongly promoting diversity and impact projects, but that doesn’t mean you can’t snag a sweet prize with some sick engineering or user experience. We designed the following criteria to reward strong projects without favoring any specific type (e.g., dApps vs developer tools).

All projects in the Open Track will be judged by the following criteria:

The Impact Track will not only be judged by the Open Track criteria, requiring great engineering and user experience, but also on the following additional categories:

Judging Schedule on Sunday, February 17th

Submitting Your Project

  1. Submit your project via by clicking “Submit Project”. Please begin your submission at least 1 hour before the 8am deadline to allow time for adjustments. Don’t forget to tag “ETHDENVER-2019-SUBMISSION” and all completed bounties! Click here to see a sample project submission.
  2. You can get your Status ID by going to Profile -> Share My Profile -> Share Link -> Copy + Paste into your team’s Kauri submission
  3. If you have trouble, please come to the 4th floor BUIDLx mentor desk (by the bodega) where ETHDenver and Kauri staff will be available between 6–8am to assist with submissions.
  4. Clean up and vacate your table after you submit your project. You will receive your assigned judging table via email — please be ready to present there from 10am-12pm. The judging table map can be found at
  5. Open/Impact track judges will spend 6 minutes judging each team. Bounty judges will circulate independently. Do not leave your assigned judging table before you are seen by sponsor judges for all your completed bounties.
  6. We will announce the top 20 projects by 1pm. Please be ready by the main stage on the first floor to present starting at 1:30pm. Main stage presentations will be 4 minutes long and the judges will ask you one question.
  7. Judges will deliberate for 30 minutes before Open/Impact track winners will be announced. Bounty winners will be announced during the deliberation.
Strategy, strategy, strategy.

How Teams Win

Judging will be broken up into two rounds. In the first round, each group of Open or Impact Judges will review the projects in their assigned row and select one to advance to the final round. The projects that advanced to the final round will then publicly present on stage to a panel of Finalist Judges. Bounty sponsors will have their own Bounty Judges reviewing projects that have completed their bounties and will circulate independently of Open and Impact judging groups. Please review the full details below:

First Round — Team Guidelines

  1. Projects must be submitted by 8am and tagged with the track (Open or Impact) along with all Bounties fulfilled, if any.
  2. The full team must be present and set up at the assigned judging table (viewable in the future at by 10am including:
    — The presentation
    — The project name and short description written on your table card
  3. This is similar to a science fair! Before and after judging, teams are invited to walk around and meet other teams to learn about their projects. However, make sure your entire team is present for when Open/Impact or Bounty Judges reach your table, and that you are not interfering with the judging of another team.
  4. When the Open/Impact Judges arrive at your table, you have six minutes to greet them, present your project, and answer any questions. A timekeeper accompanying the judges will start a timer on a device facing you to help you pace your presentation. When the alarm rings, no additional conversation regarding your project can take place. This alarm is a hard stop for the sake of fairness. For example: Greeting (1 min), Presentation (3 min), Questions (2 min).
  5. The top 20 Open/Impact projects will be notified between 1–1:45pm and will be invited to present their project on the main stage starting at 2:00pm in the final round. The top 20 projects will be split proportionally based on submissions between Open and Impact tracks, with a minimum of five teams for the track with the smaller submission pool.

First Round — Judge Guidelines

  1. All judges will be assigned to judging groups by 9:30am based on:
    — Their self-identification as “Business/Operations/Investing/Design” vs “Technologist/Engineer/Developer” (to keep the same proportions between each group) and
    — Preference for Open or Impact Tracks (judges are not guaranteed to judge their preferred track as it will depend on received submissions)
  2. At 9:30am, judges will obtain their judging packet from the organizers with judging forms for each team OR they can record votes directly on the provided Google form.
  3. If votes are recorded on paper, designated timekeepers will digitize the results via the Google form during the subsequent judging round and hold on to the paper copies.
  4. Judges will start at the first assigned table and proceed down the row, spending a maximum of six minutes per team. The designated timekeeper will help them stay on track. For example: Greeting (1 min), Presentation (3 min), Questions (2 min).
  5. Upon completion, judges will proceed to the judging area for deliberation and submit one team per judging group for the final round and one runner up.

Final Round:

  1. The top 20 teams will be notified of their presenting order and must be waiting at the registration/help desk when they are one of the next three teams to present. Teams will again have six minutes for the full presentation.
  2. A panel of Finalist Judges will review all projects and ask questions before adjourning to decide the winners.

Bounties — How to Win

During the first round of judging, Bounty Judges will circulate separately to projects that have fulfilled their Bounty. If you completed a Bounty, please do not vacate your table until you are seen by the Bounty Judges.

Bounty Guidelines

  1. If no one is present at your table when the Bounty Judges arrives, your submission will be forfeit from Bounty Judging. We cannot predict how long it will take for Bounty Judges to get to your table, as it depends on how many entries each Bounty receives, so please be patient.
  2. Bounty Judges will have a variable amount of time depending on how many submissions their Bounty received. If judges of any Bounty have fewer than six minutes per round, there will be an announcement.

Bounty Judge Guidelines

  1. Bounty Judges will either utilize the Open/Impact judging criteria or deploy their own to judge their Bounty submissions. Bounty judging criteria are listed in each bounty.
  2. After receiving the list of submissions, including table locations, deploy at least one dedicated Bounty Judge to visit all submitting teams within the two hour judging block.
  3. Sponsors are responsible for ensuring all submitting teams are reviewed. Please notify us at if you need an emergency additional judge to assist, due to heavier than expected submission volume.
  4. When you are done, proceed to the judging area for deliberation and submit your Bounty winner.
  5. Be ready to congratulate teams and take photos at the photo backdrop near the entrance, immediately following the awards ceremony, after bounty winners have been announced on the main stage.
ETHDenver 2018’s first place winners Elkrem. They’re returning in 2019 as mentors. Read their story here.



The ETHDenver team has been incredibly impressed with the quality of projects we’ve seen and picking a “winner” quickly becomes a game of inches and preferences. This is why this year, we have chosen to split each track’s prize pool equally among the top five teams in their track. For example, if there are 13 Open teams and seven Impact teams in the final round, the top five Open teams will split the Open Track prize and the top five Impact teams will split the Impact Track prize.


In addition to awarding monetary prizes to the top five teams in each track, the Finalist Judges will bestow the following recognition awards to eight of the 20 finalist projects. We know cash is exciting, but these are much more important honors to us, and, we hope, to you.


Bounties will have a huge variety of prizes including swag, tokens, cash, and more, and will give you the opportunity to be announced on the main stage! After the announcement, you will proceed to the designated Bounty Winner Area for pictures and congratulations with the sponsors.

Photos & After Party

Whether your team wins an award or not, we want to recognize every team’s efforts. At 5pm, immediately following the closing ceremony, music will start playing, food will be served and beer & wine will start flowing. It’s time to celebrate a weekend of making new friendships and BUIDLing. Be sure to get your team together with our photographer at the photo backdrop near the entrance anytime throughout the party (5–10pm), and we’ll add you to our event album.


Our judging methodology is an integral part of making ETHDenver 2019 the best out there. We sought to set fair judging criteria, recruit a diverse set of talented judges, and establish clear guidelines to get the very best projects discovered and rewarded. We’re confident you’ll have a great time and look forward to seeing you all next month!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to And if you still haven’t applied to ETHDenver, join us by APPLYING today.




#ETHDenver brings together diverse minds who are passionate about decentralization & the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem • Feb 11–20 2022 • Apply today at! #BufficornBUIDLBrigade #ColoradoJam #putasporkinit

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A community #BUIDLing the decentralized future • bufficorn.eth • Feb. 11–20, 2022 • Apply: • #ETHDenver #BufficornBUIDLBrigade #ColoradoJam

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