Time to Submit Applications for the Global University Pitch Competition!
Since launching the competition in January, we have seen a truly global response. There are 140+ registrants from every continent (outside of Antarctica) from 85+ schools. We thank all the Blockchain, Entrepreneurship, and FinTech clubs around the world that have helped to spread the good word. For those who missed the initial announcement, you can register your interest on the main pitch competition website here.
The inbound we have received has reinforced our belief that students genuinely care about thinking creatively about using blockchain technology to drive greater cross-firm and cross-industry efficiencies. They don’t buy that blockchains are magical things that can solve every problem. Nor do they want to raise a quick buck (read: scam fellow millennials) through ICOs with no business plan.
They care about the impact that blockchain technology can have on the way businesses interact in the long run, by using it in a way that aligns with the technology’s strengths. Of course, participants in the pitch competition also care about the shorter-term rewards ($15,000), exposure, and support (see official rules) from R3, as well.
After touring campuses and discussing specific use cases with interested students, we want to make sure the playing field is level, and that all teams have the same resources and opportunity to succeed in the competition. Below, we will provide a brief review of the webinar content that we held on February 21st and 28th for registrants across APAC, EMEA, and the Americas.
The first webinar was focused on providing background on R3 and Corda — we highlighted R3’s Primer Series and the Corda Platform whitepaper as good places to begin (out of our curated list of resources). Additionally, we reviewed the deck outlining the rules of the competition.
Highlights from the second webinar included the timeless advice from Richard Gendal Brown on things to consider when considering ideas for CorDapps:
“First write down what information synchronisation or inter-firm coordination problem you are trying to solve. Be really clear on who needs to be in sync about what. Who should receive what, when and for what purpose? Who should send it? What rules govern how updates are validated? Who signs the transactions? What is in them? What do they mean? And finally… make sure you have a killer answer to the question: why this simply could not be done with a database operated by a centralised controller?!”
Richard expands this point in his post on decentralized markets and software. Specifically, the distinction between centralized and decentralized approaches can sometimes be best appreciated by evaluating particular use cases. The R3 Research piece, “If at First you Don’t Succeed, Try a Decentralized KYC Platform,” provides good color on some of the differences between centralized and decentralized approaches for Corporate Know Your Customer (KYC).
An additional point stressed in the second webinar was that we are open to submissions across a wide range of use cases and industries: capital markets, insurance, trade, supply chain, healthcare, energy, telecommunications, and more.
Lastly, we discussed how successful blockchain initiatives must have three things: have the right network, address a genuine business problem, and use the right blockchain platform. Without an appropriate network of firms involved, blockchain initiatives might recreate the digital islands and data silos that exist today, instead of offering a holistic platform for a wide range of participants across an industry. Second, initiatives must have solid grounds for using blockchain technology. Third, for an enterprise blockchain system to go into production, the blockchain platform used should have an architecture that was built from the beginning with the requirements of end users in mind, instead of adapting or forking cryptocurrency architectures that were originally intended for a different purpose!
These resources and examples encompass ideas we have seen work in practice. We are excited to see how the next generation of entrepreneurs — students — are able to take these principles and apply them to problems they see in various industries and markets around the world.
Time to Submit for the Global University Pitch Competition! was originally published in R3 Publication on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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