Odyssey announces Dutch government supported blockchain and AI hackathon

Odyssey, an Open Innovation Program by DutchChain which connects innovative ideas with governmental, corporate, and non-profit partners to address complex societal challenges using emerging technologies, has announced the third edition of the world’s biggest blockchain and AI hackathon.

Rutger van Zuidam, Founder and CEO of DutchChain and Odyssey, commented: “There has been a lot of talk about the blockchain bubble bursting, but we prefer to look at what has been learned and focus on the real potential, which is the possibility to ‘commonize’ important parts of the digital infrastructure.”

The Odyssey Hackathon, which was previously known as the Dutch Blockchain Hackathon and Blockchaingers, will take place from April 11 to 15 and will see some of the brightest developers, creatives, and entrepreneurs from all over the world descend on Groningen, the Netherlands, to build collaborative solutions for global issues.

“Odyssey will bring together a unique international community of key stakeholders, from startups to big corporates, to creatives, regulators, developers, as well as legal experts, in order to utilize emerging technologies for a new way of organizing our society and facilitating the transformation of the world for the better,” Zuidam continued.

This year’s hackathon will see 100 teams building prototypes to address 20 complex, societal challenges, with 1,500 people expected to attend the hackathon. These challenges cover a multitude of areas, including energy transition, public utility networks, (self-) governance, self-owned digital identity, biometric data communication, financial inclusion and security, cargo insurance, digital nation infrastructure, wildlife, and biodiversity restoration, food value chain sustainability, and open crisis and disaster management.

Prince Constantijn Van Oranje-Naussau, Special Envoy of StartupDelta and an advisor at the European Commission, said: “We are looking forward to all of the brilliant minds convening at the Odyssey Hackathon, working on groundbreaking solutions for complex challenges. Odyssey is Europe’s leading hackathon for blockchain and AI and provides the teams with the best possible support to deliver their ideas at scale to make a real and lasting impact.”

With support from partners including the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands, De Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch Central Bank), the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), the European Union Regional Development Fund, Deloitte, and KLM, the top 20 teams will present their solutions to industry stakeholders and investors prepared to accelerate their prototypes, as well as receive a cash prize of €200,000. These 20 teams will then progress to the Odyssey Incubation Programme, where they will launch, test, develop and scale their solutions together with their consortium within 100 days.

Raymond Knops, State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands, said: “The Odyssey hackathon goes beyond exploring the potential for blockchain and AI; it showcases the real-world capabilities of these technologies through economically viable solutions and unlocks new markets for businesses to provide products and services. The Dutch government wants to be a partner for everyone who can co-create the digital public infrastructure that is needed to take society forward in the 21st century.”

Previous hackathon winners include an open protocol for hivemind swarm robotics who have recently written a paper with the MIT Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is set to be published next month (GREX by Kryha), a medical supply chain tracking system preventing the US$30.5 billion fraud concerning the distribution of substandard and falsified medical products (by Unchain.io), a solution enabling healthcare professionals from different organisations to share patient data and collaborate on treatments (by Lemon), as well as a way to crowdfund innovative infrastructures of the future (by Nestegg.eu).

Optimized for newly formed teams, pre-existing start-ups, corporates, and SMEs, applications are now open with teams encouraged to register before the February 25th deadline.