Top talents tackle the toughest global challenges with blockchain

Sponsored by HSBC, the College of Business, partnered with the Hong Kong Blockchain Society to host the 2020 edition of the International Blockchain Olympiad (IBCOL) in early July. Anticipating our decentralised future and in keeping with the times, IBCOL 2020 was an entirely online event, involving hundreds of participants in 57 teams.

In his welcoming remarks, Dean Frank Chen expressed his gratitude to the Hong Kong Blockchain Society for its dedication in training and inspiring students in blockchain learning, and to HSBC for its generous sponsorship.

"IBCOL has been a great success, not only because it can stimulate students’ creativity in the technology, but also being able to gather all the subject experts and future talents together, to share their true passion for blockchain and cryptography developments, and to make a change in the world with secure, private, decentralised solutions," Professor Chen added.

Mr Zhang Huifeng, Head of Corporate Sustainability Asia Pacific at HSBC said, "HSBC supports the IBCOL to enable students to learn blockchain and also to inspire them to use technology to meet social and business needs. These are valuable future skills that will help you fly in your career and also enable you to make a positive difference to society."

Dr Lawrence Ma, President of the Hong Kong Blockchain Society and convenor of the jury said, "We were impressed with the diversity of teams and projects this year. The high calibre of projects added to the difficulty in evaluating them. We hope to see some of these projects come to life, and we are excited to support the IBCOL to facilitate cooperation between projects of different schools around the world."

The third edition of IBCOL was more global than ever, expanding to 15 locations around the world including Bangladesh, Canada, Mainland China, Mongolia, Philippines, Poland, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, The United States, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

The International Blockchain Olympiad embodies the characteristics of a business case competition, an academic whitepaper conference, and a "hackathon." All contestants draft a whitepaper to address a global challenge and proffer a complete solution, whilst finalists are required to create a poster board and a pitch presentation. This year’s topics covered various real-world scenarios and ranged from supply chain, finance, health, insurance, land and real estate, to government, education, and construction.

Team PChain, comprising students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, won the gold medal, while the silver and bronze medalists hailed from Bangladesh and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Microcent team from the College of Engineering and Blockio from the College of Business of CityU won the Best Fintech Award and People’s Choice Award respectively.

In addition to HSBC’s sponsorship, IBCOL 2020 was supported by Julia Computing, Kaplan, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data of Hong Kong.

HSBC has kindly pledged to continue supporting this event, enabling the sustainable growth of education in blockchain, helping to equip students with "future-proof" skills, and developing a new type of business leader. We look forward to the 2021 edition of the Olympiad!