Future of Blockchain Finale 2019: A summary

Our finalists (with Queen playing in the background)

On Tuesday 19th March 2019 at Bush House, Kings College London, Future of Blockchain’s first cohort came to a close with a finale pitch event.

Twelve finalists pitched for a £20,000 cash prize in front of a packed audience of esteemed judges, investors, developers and other competitors.

We were delighted to share the evening with the project demonstrations of Patrick McCorry’s Cryptocurrency Class which has been running over the last 10 weeks. The class, run with support from Antonio Sabado’s Work on Blockchain, has attracted over 400 developers and enthusiasts to attend on a weekly basis.

A packed house of 200 for the event

The Concept

Future of Blockchain is a 3 month competition to build something amazing involving blockchain. It is aimed at researchers, students and alumni from the leading universities in the UK. For this iteration, we worked with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, UCL, KCL and Queen Mary’s.

FoB is an initiative of StakeZero Ventures, a European VC investing in blockchain. We run FoB to add value to our network and investments, to access projects coming out of the top UK universities and access an untapped market for blockchain developers: university researchers and students.

Participants could choose between building a Partner Challenge or doing their own idea (Creator Challenge).

For the Partner Challenge, participants could build on one of eight platforms who kindly supported this cohort: Gnosis, Kyber, Liquidity Network, MakerDao, Nucypher, Santiment, Thunder, Zilliqa. More details on the challenges they offered are available via this link.

Our Challenge platforms
Our challenge platforms at the Launch Event

For the Creator Challenge, participants could build anything they liked, be it a startup, a tech project or research.

Over the 3 months, we ran meet-ups and workshops in each city on a bi-weekly basis. We also touched base with every applicant who wanted feedback or advice via 1–1 meetings and calls on a regular basis.

By the end of the competition, we asked participants to demo what they build and send in their codebase for assessment. In all, we had 160 teams and over 600 students participant from across the seven partner universities. These teams were made up of alumni, post-docs, PhDs, Masters students, MBAs, undergraduates and much more.

The Judges

We were delighted to be joined on the night by four fantastic judges:

Lee Pickavance, Managing Director at Consensys.

James Devlin, Associate at Eight Roads.

Patrick McCorry, Assistant Professor at Kings College London.

Lyuben Belov, Partner at Stake Zero Ventures.

Lee Pickavance of Consensys
James Devlin of Eight Roads
Patrick McCorry of KCL
Lyuben Belov of StakeZero

The Winner: Block Scholes [Creator Challenge]

(Presentations and links to the participant’s LinkedIn profiles are available via the links within the description)

View presentation

Built by a team of four from Imperial with a trading background, Block Scholes offers on-chain derivatives for individuals to hedge their digital assets to eliminate counterparty risk.

Team:

Alfonso Delgado [PhD, Computer Science, Imperial]

Eamonn Gashier [Finance Researcher]

Darren O’Rourke [MSc Graduate, Finance, Imperial]

Dallas Johnston [CEO, Credify.one]

Finalists

Representing MakerDao: Commit-Me

View Presentation

Built by a team of six, Commit-Me was formed when the group met at an Alan Turing Institute workshop. It is a platform for tracking social impact commitments and is currently being piloted at Oxford University. The platform uses Dai for funding pledges.

Team:

Eli Mitchell-Larson [MsC, Environmental Change and Management, Oxford],

Matthew Linares [Technical Manager, opendemocracy.net]

Alistair Blackwell [Lead Lecturer, National College for Digital Skills]

Ophelia Cai [Blackrock, FBG, BA Graduate, Economics and Management, Oxford]

Odysseas Sclavounis [PhD, Internet Institute, Oxford]

Lewis Gudgeon [PhD, Computing, Imperial]

Representing Santiment: Comparethemarketcap

View the presentation

Built by an individual, Comparethemarketcap uses Santiment’s data for an interactive web application that lets you compare metrics of a large selection of digital assets.

Team: Amin Ahmed [BSc Graduate, Physics, Queen Mary’s]

Representing Zilliqa: dMapp

View the presentation

Built by one of Professor Ross Anderson’s PhD candidates, dMapp is a privacy respecting, decentralised, incentivised navigation and mapping service. It is especially aimed at the thirdworld where routing in slums, favelas and small villages is rudimentary. DMapp uses Zilliqa for micropayments and as a trusted store for integrity checks.

Team: Mansoor Ahmed [PhD, Security, Cambridge]

Representing Gnosis: DxInteracts

View the presentation

Built by a team of three KCL Computer Scientists, DxInteracts is an open-source layer running on top of Gnosis’ DutchX decentralised exchange, easing user interaction.

Team: Frederico Lacs,[Undergraduate, Computer Science, KCL], Jardin Omidvaran [Undergraduate, Computer Science, KCL], Sebastian-Stefan Raba [Graduate, Computer Science, KCL]

Representing Nucypher: Hypervault

View the presentation

Built by a team of three from Cambridge, Hypervault is a flexible, decentralised, platform-agnostic file access-control system powered by a permissioned blockchain. The platform uses Nucypher as the fundamental cryptographic scheme to encrypt private keys.

Team: Li Xi [Undergraduate, Maths, Cambridge], Robert Martin [Undergraduate, Natural Sciences, Cambridge], Andrew Ramsay [MBA, Cambridge]

Representing Liquidity Network: Liquidity Stream

View the presentation

Built by a team of four from Imperial, Liquidity Stream uses Liquidity Network’s NOCUST protocol for pay-as-you-watch-video-on-demand.

Team: Lawrence Tse [Postdoc, Mechnical Engineering, Imperial], David Wong [Software Developer], Alexander Mason [PhD, Mechnical Engineering, Imperial], Ryan Lee [Software developer]

Representing Kyber: Mimicstream

View the presentation

Built by a team of two from Oxford who met at one of the FoB Launch events, Mimicstream is a ‘decentralised Twitch’ that uses the Kyber Network to allow users to tip content creators and live stream directly without any centralised service fees.

Team: Min Yao [DPhil, Thermofluids, Oxford], Nick Ruck [MA, Finance, Peking University Business School]

Creator Challenge Representative: ParityGame

View the presentation

Built by a team of two from Cambridge, ParityGame is a game studio and platform for buying NFT accessory items for games. Through a Thundercore integration, the platform provides game users with a more efficient game asset trading.

Team: Fredrik Liu [PhD, Theoretical Physics, Cambridge]

Creator Challenge Representative: TrustlessBank

View the presentation

Built by a team of two from Oxford and Thailand respectively, Trustless Bank is a Lightning Network and Ethereum Plasma wallet for multiple coins allowing coins to be swapped with other users via atomic or cross-chain swaps.

Team: Edward Fricker [MBA, Oxford], Charkid Thanhachartyothin [Experienced Software Developer]

Representing Thunder: Trusource

View the presentation

Built by a team of two from Imperial, Trusource is an oracle platform enabling data providers to operate their own oracle on numerous blockchains using ThunderCore to speed up transaction times. The team have been accepted into Boost VC’s Tribe 12

Team: Bastien Moyroud [MSc Graduate, Computer Science, Imperial], Mohammed Hussan [MSc Graduate, Computer Science, Imperial]

Creator Challenge Representative: DConsent

View the presentation

Built by a team of four from Oxford including a cancer doctor, Dconsent uses Thundercore to manage individual’s consent to the use of their data online on the blockchain in real-time.

Team: Paolo Polzella [Medical Doctor, DPhil Graduate, Clinical Medicine and Academic Clinical Fellow in Haematology, Oxford], Cristiano Padovani [MBA, Oxford and PhD, Materials, Birmingham], Cristian Chirivi [Full Stack Developer], Francesco Polzella [Senior Software Engineer]

The Future

FoB 2 will start in September bigger and better. We hope to be expanding to Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol and more universities.

We will be also running a Career Fair as well as number of developer workshops and events across the UK.

Contact Us

If you want to reach out to us, email Anthony Beaumont on anthony@stakezero.com

Thank You

First, thank you to Patrick McCorry, Antonio Sabado, Work on Blockchain and the whole Cryptocurrency Class team for sharing the evening (and venue) with us. We are indebted.

Thank you also to our wonderful partners: Gnosis, Kyber, Liquidity Network, MakerDao, Nucypher, Santiment, Thunder and Zilliqa

Throughout the competition, we were helped by many societies or academic institutions. We’d like to say a big thank you to:

Oxford Blockchain Society, Oxford Foundry, Oxford Entrepreneurship Society, Oxford Women in Computing Society, Enterprising Oxford, Oxford University Innovation, Oxford Maths Institute, Oxford Fintech and SmartLaw Society, Cambridge Blockchain Society, Cambridge University Entrepreneurship Society, Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club, Cambridge University Computer Labs, Cambridge Blockchain Network, Hackbridge, Imperial Entrepreneurship Society, Imperial Computing Society, Imperial Blockchain Society, Imperial Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering, UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies, UCL Entrepreneurship Society, KCL Blockchain Society, LSE Entrepreneurs Society, Queen Mary Blockchain Society

Thank you from all the StakeZero team…roll on FoB 2!