T Skevington and M Bacina
European Innovation Council awards €5 million prize on Blockchains for Social Good
The European Innovation Council (EIC) has awarded €5 million to six high-impact blockchain solutions designed with a social innovation focus.
While only 5 winners were anticipated, the strength of the winning applications led to 6 overall winners as follows:
WordProof (by Dutch SME WordProof B.V.) developed the WordProof Timestamp Ecosystem, a technology able to prove authenticity and to make information verifiable, which ultimately would be leading to more trust in internet content. With the timestamps, content owners can show that they did not tamper with their content, and the history of changes becomes verifiable for both humans and machines. It is proposed as a free browser plugin.
PPP (by UK social enterprise Project Provenance Ltd) developed Proof Points to allow businesses to prove their social impact across the supply chains behind their business and products.
GMeRitS (by Finnish university Aalto) is conducting wide scale experiments with alternative economic structures, to try and evaluate various anti-rival compensation and governance structures, contributing to financial inclusion.
OXBBU - the UnBlocked Cash Project (by Irish Oxfam and French startup Sempo) pioneers a decentralized model to address the global challenge of delivering international aid to disaster-affected women and men in ways that are more efficient, transparent and sustainable.
CKH2020 (by French cooperative Kleros) is a platform for resolving consumer disputes in e-commerce or collaborative economy. Blockchain guarantees that no party can tamper with the evidence nor manipulate jury selection and that rulings are automatically enforced by smart contracts.
PROSUME (by Italian Prosume srl) is a DLT-based platform providing a decentralized and autonomous digital marketplace for peer-to-peer energy trading. Its goal is to integrate prosumers – consumers who are also producers of renewable energy- in the so far highly monopolised and fossils-based energy sector.
Maria Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation Research, Culture, Education and Youth commended the projects, saying:
The proposed solutions show how blockchain can create positive social change by supporting fair trade, increasing transparency in production processes and e-commerce and contributing to financial inclusion by exploring decentralised economic structures. I hope that this award can help upscale these outstanding ideas and inspire many others innovators.
The call for the Prize opened on 16 May 2018 and closed on 3 September 2019. 176 applications were received from 43 countries (19 of which outside the EU), which addressed fairly well all the six areas indicated in the call, and 13 additional areas proposed by the applicants themselves (as allowed by the Rules of Contest). As for the categories of applicants, 10% of the proposals originated from individuals, 10% from public institutions (mostly universities, but also Red Cross, Oxfam, foundations) and nearly 80% from start-ups and SMEs.