Asia-Pacific Innovation Challenge

As part of the fifth edition of Blockchain Workshops in Sydney Australia, sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, held at the Powerhouse Museum and University of Technology Sydney on 10-11 December, COALA is organizing a 27-hour Innovation Challenge in Sydney from Wednesday, 9 December at 9:00 am AEDT to Thursday, 10 December at 12:00 pm AEDT.  We are accepting rolling submissions so please submit your materials as soon as possible, and no later than 25 November at midnight AEDT.

Important Dates:

  • Submit application by 25 November at midnight AEDT
  • Receive notification of acceptance by 27 November at midnight AEDT
  • Innovation Challenge will run from Wednesday 9 December at 9:00am AEDT toThursday 10 December at 12:00 pm AEDT


  • Sydney – CBA Innovation Lab
  • Melbourne – Telstra Gurrowa Innovation Lab
  • Singapore – muru-D Accelerator
  • Other Asia locations TBC
  • Remote participation

The Innovation Challenge is Asia-Pacific-wide and we will hold off-site locations. Remote participants are encouraged to apply — the only caveat is that one of the teammates must be available to participate in person to coordinate the remote team’s contributions during the 27-hour InnovationChallenge.

This Innovation Challenge differs from the usual “hackathon” approach, in that it does not expect participants to compete against each other towards the sole obtainment of a prize, but ratherchallenges them to do something radically new: participants are asked to compete, in order to cooperate.

We believe that cooperation can yield much better results than competition, especially in a context where the need of interoperability is becoming increasingly apparent. Yet, competition can be useful to encourage people to come up with the best idea, that they will subsequently cooperatively implement.

The goal of the Innovation Challenge is to identify skilled and motivated people, bringing them together to design a blockchain-based prototype that can be implemented within 3-6 months across institutions.

Prize includes up to six months of seed funding (~$50K) and partners for reference implementation, including potential access to participating banks’ customers for product validation and release.


We include some examples for guidance; however they are not exhaustive and we highly encourage new ideas.

  • Blockchain-based technology applications for social or environmental good.  
    • Applications that provide financial services for the unbanked
    • Applications that reduce the friction of access to capital for marginalized communities
    • Applications that track provenance of natural resources, animals or animal goods
    • Applications that optimize supply chain management
    • Applications that enable reduction of carbon emissions or trash
  • Blockchain-based applications for optimization of financial institutions or data networks
    • Applications that can enable a smart contract ecosystem e.g. smart oracles
    • Applications that can enable integrity of software updates
    • Applications that can enable integrity of web certificates
  • Blockchain-based applications for identity
  • Blockchain-based applications for institutional integrity, resiliency and transparency
    • Smart contract applications for internal governance
    • DAO implementation for management of intangible goods


  • Up to six months of seed funding (~$50K) and partners for reference implementation
  • Access to sponsors’ state of the art innovation labs, including CBA’s Sydney Innovation Lab and Telstra’s Gurrowa Innovation Lab in Melbourne, Australia
  • Potential access to participating banks’ customers for product validation and release


We are accepting rolling submissions so please submit your materials as soon as possible, and no later than 25 November at midnight AEDT. In order to apply, fill out this form and submit the following to

  • Bios for each team member (note, while at least one representative from each team must come to one of the Innovation Challenge locations, other teammates can participate remotely during the Challenge);
  • Detailed description of the core idea that constitutes the submission; and
  • Description of the idea’s key contribution to the blockchain ecosystem.



By 27 November, we will select a few interesting ideas and teams and reach out to them regarding acceptance and next steps to the Sydney challenge.

Remote participants are encouraged to apply as long as one of the teammates is available to coordinate the team’s contributions in person in Sydney or one of the other Asia-Pacific off-site locations.

Team members can share their ideas, and ideally merge, remix or create new ideas together. Each team can contribute to multiple projects or ideas. However, only one idea can win, so it is up to each team member to decide which and how many projects to join. You must compete to contribute as much as you can. You must compete to cooperate, and ultimately, cooperate to win.

The challenge: Design a prototype for a blockchain-based application that (with seed funding and 3-6 months’ time) can be ripe for implementation with COALA’s partners with potential access to sponsors facilities and customer bases.

The Innovation Challenge will run from Wednesday, 9 December at 9:00am AEDT to Thursday, 10 December at 12:00pm AEDT. At the end of these 27 hours, each project must submit:

  • design specification
  • white paper
  • percentage of contribution of each team during the Innovation Challenge, and anticipated contributions of each team in the 3-6 months to follow, based on project specs

The Innovation Challenge judges will include members of COALA’s Scientific Committee. The teams must be ready to present their prototypes to the judges on Thursday, 10 December at 12:00 PM (Sydney time). The presentations will occur in person for teams represented in Sydney and via video conferencing for teams represented at the Asia locations. Judges will deliberate in the afternoon will announce the winning team during the public conference at 4:30 pm (Sydney time).

The prize funds will only be disbursed as teams develop their prototypes for implementation.  In order words, if teams stop in their effort to implement the prototype after the challenge, they will not be entitled to some or all of the prize funds. The prize will be disbursed to all teams contributing to the winning project. Allocation of the funds will be done according to each team’s individual contribution to the overall project, in terms of both concept design and technical implementation.

Rules and Selection Criteria:

  • blockchain-based and responsive to topics
  • open source
  • likelihood of widest adoption and impact
  • core contribution to the ecosystem
  • practicality, usability
  • solution to a fundamental problem