By Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU. Interesting interview with Ian Simpson, Project Coordinator of the BlockChain Competition. An event ending the 22 November 2017 with the award show.

Link to website here.

When is it on?

 The call for applications is currently still open – with a deadline of 30 July. We have had some indications from several teams that because of holidays/university work etc they would like to have more time – so we are considering extending the deadline.
It is on in the Crypto valley, what and where is it?
The competition is being held in Zug, Switzerland – in the very heart of Crypto Valley. There is a ton happening on the blockchain/crypto scene here – Zug recently announced that it will create an Ethereum-based e-identity for residents. Many of the foundations raising huge amounts of money with ICOs are here (Bancor, Tezos etc.) In general “Crypto Valley” geographically stretches from Zurich to Lichtenstein, but we see a lot of the focus right here. The monthly Crypto Valley Forum Meetup regularly attracts around 100 attendees – most of the top blockchain startups come to pitch in front of the group and the discussions are always very in-depth. The Crypto Valley Association (www.cryptovalley.swiss) was formed in March of this year – it is a broad coalition of individuals, startups, universities and corporations. The first General Assembly was held in June and more large events are planned in the near future.
What was the inspiration to start this event?
It is a combination of things. 1) There are a large number of startups who come through Crypto Valley but never settle here. They do an ICO here, but keep their teams somewhere else. By offering free office space for a year, the idea is to give teams a chance to actually settle here. 2) The initiators of the Competition (inacta AG / Lakeside Partners) are very much dedicated to the idea of supporting the ecosystem and helping it grow. 3) inacta has worked for many of the largest insurance companies in Switzerland – and has the connections to give insurtech/blockchain startups the access they need to industry players, so they can get traction here.
Who are you expecting to come to this event?
We are seeing startups from all around the world apply. So far from Japan, USA, UK, Argentina, UAE, Singapore. The Final Event (22 Nov) will no doubt attract a majority of the startup scene, including many of the foundations that have a presence here. Industry partners are also expected as well as other insurance companies – Generali and Zurich have expressed interest in attending.
What exciting things can people look forward to during this event?
The final event will feature a line-up of speakers – both from the local community (CVA) and several international speakers from the blockchain scene. There will be a live pitching session and voting session with audience participation.
What opportunities are on offer to startups attending?
In general, the Blockchain Competition offers teams the chance to win $100 000 (no strings attached) (1st place) plus free office space for one year (top 3 teams). All top ten teams will have the chance to present during the final event. This will be a chance to connect with insurance industry players – and the top 3 teams will have a chance for coaching from a team of entrepreneurs and industry experts.
What tips could you give to people attending to get the most out of it?
Be willing to learn!
How can people buy tickets? When does it usually sell out?
Tickets for the Final Event have not gone on sale yet. They will be available in the next month or so.

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