Frequently Asked Questions

In the case of contradictory information, this FAQ page take precedence.

A - General Questions

  • The International Blockchain Olympiad (IBCOL) is an annual global competition inviting current and recent students to propose solutions for real-world challenges with blockchain technology. IBCOL 2022 is the 5th International Blockchain Olympiad.

  • Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology — distributed meaning not kept by one bookkeeper; a ledger is a book of records — where tamperproof records are shared among a group, so that they can form a consensus about a single truth. This allows parties that don’t fully trust each other to work together without the need of trusting each other nor does it need to place their trust collectively upon a central authority. Hence, blockchain solutions are sometimes synonymous with the term “decentralised applications” even though decentralisation is not the only nor the key benefit.

  • An application is a specific implementation of a design, where craftsmanship quality is the emphasis.

    A system is a broader implementation of a design where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, where overall interplay of technical and complementary components is the key.

    A solution first and foremost addresses a challenge or solves a problem. A complete solution fulfils its purpose within the scope of a defined problem or challenge without creating new problems or challenges.

    With those three definitions, the blockchain incarnations are essentially as follows:
    - A blockchain application is “blockchain code”, such as smart contracts, chaincode, cordapp, etc.
    - A blockchain system is not only has “blockchain code” but also backend code, frontend code, user interfaces, access control, processes, etc.
    - A blockchain solution is not only a system but also the governance and frameworks where various levels of privacy, security, and trust are supported.

  • The mission of the International Blockchain Olympiad (IBCOL) is to support sustainability and maturity in blockchain by working with academic, industry, and government partners. Working with secondary and tertiary students, IBCOL provides education and training on designing complete blockchain solutions.

  • Participants of the International Blockchain Olympiad (IBCOL) are encouraged to be responsible contributors of our digital future:

    Promoting Awareness on Blockchain Technology & Applications: students from around the world will benefit from the experience of participating in the IBCOL program of activities, which includes seminar series, specialised training and workshops, mentoring, and networking events besides the actual competitions. This will cultivate a genuine interest in the area of innovation, originality, creativity and cutting-edge technology. It will also instil the right ethical values in the younger generation to pave the way for their further exploration of blockchain in the future.

    Enhancing Employability by Equipping Participants with helpful Skills: the prospective and actual participants will benefit tremendously from the IBCOL programme, as they learn practical skills and knowledge outside their disciplines and push the boundaries of their comfort zones. Students get a taste of the real world, and learn how to identify and overcome challenges in actually making something happen.

  • Yes! Blockchain is not only for “technology” students. In fact, if you’re from a tech background, we advise you to think beyond technology, and avoid the trap of creating a solution looking for a problem!

  • Yes! Blockchain is not only for tech or business students. Historically, students from a diverse range of majors or interests have competed on equal footing, as the solution design requires deep thinking into problem solving for specific domains and verticals.

  • Yes! There is no age limit. In fact, younger students have less “education” and bias to the current world of centralised infrastructure, which may be an advantage.

  • Yes, as long as you fulfil the eligibility for individual participants.

  • For the first time ever, the International Blockchain Olympiad is held over multiple weekdays rather than throughout a weekend. The opening ceremony is held on Monday 24 October followed by ice-breaking activities, so contestants can really get to know each other. The main exhibition with parallel pitch stages will run all day Tuesday and Wednesday 25-26 October where contestants, visitors, VIP, and adjudicators. Finally, the awards and closing ceremony is held on Thursday 27 October. The main timezone is GMT+8. See important dates on the homepage for more details, including submissions deadlines.

  • No, IBCOL 2022 is entirely an online event, organised by volunteers based in Guangzhou (Canton), Foshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. The events are held online via Gather Town (, so there is no travelling required. However, in the past, depending on local pandemic social distancing or shelter-in-place restrictions, some contestants have congregated and dialled in at one location, such as a classroom or meeting space.

  • The host timezone is GMT+8, which is coincidentally a timezone shared by 24% of the world population. The core events will be held between 20:00 and 22:00, plus-or-minus one hour, to accommodate most parts of the world.

  • The team who submits the project owns their own intellectual property (IP). The International Blockchain Olympiad, its organisers, its staff, and the adjudicators do not own any IP.

  • B - Request for Proposals

  • As always, the theme of the International Blockchain Olympiad is to invite students to propose their (realistic) vision of a blockchain future. This year, the IBCOL 2022 lets teams enter their proposals into one of the seventeen categories that correspond with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations (UN):

    1. No Poverty
    2. Zero Hunger
    3. Good Health and Well-being
    4. Quality Education
    5. Gender Equality
    6. Clean Water and Sanitation
    7. Affordable and Clean Energy
    8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
    9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
    10. Reduced Inequality
    11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
    12. Responsible Consumption and Production
    13. Climate Action
    14. Life Below Water
    15. Life on Land
    16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
    17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal

    A proposal may be categorised into up to three of these categories (order matters). The Competitions Committee reserves the right to recategorise any proposal.

  • Blockchain is thought to be a panacea for a myriad of problems or challenges facing our world today — socially, economically, etc. In some cases, blockchain solutions exist looking for problems. Sometimes, a blockchain solution is overkill for a type of challenge. So, just be mindful of your proposal. For this year, you must categorise your project according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG).

    Blockchain solutions are not simply slapping a smart contract or an application on a blockchain. Many so-called solutions are dead-on-arrival, due to the lack of consideration for security, trust, and privacy. Technology alone cannot be the solution. Completeness means accommodating various levels of security, trust, and privacy.

  • A team of students (up to six per team) describes the problem or challenge being addressed, an overview of the solution, details of the solution architecture, and demonstrate how the solution addresses the problem. Elements of a business plan like market analysis, competitive analysis, revenue model, distribution strategy, etc are optional — i.e. do it if it helps explain your solution design. Likewise, elements of a project plan like development plan, testing plan, financial plan, etc are optional.

  • Your proposal to a blockchain solution may be expressed with any myriad of tools, and we usually recommend the following three P’s are required: (white) paper, poster (board), and pitch (deck).

    This year, the whitepaper and the poster are required, while a deck is not. Teams will have 15 minutes of stage time, with complete freedom over how to use that time, whether to use a pitch deck or not, how much time to allocate for Q&A from the adjudicators, etc.

    We highly recommend creating an elevator pitch and a recording of your pitch presentation, both for your booth at the exhibition. A prototype would be helpful: a low-fidelity (diagrams or mockups), high-fidelity (simulated application), or a functional prototype (with code), again, for your booth.

  • The most important aspect of a blockchain solution is the design. A bad implementation with a good design succeeds eventually; a good implementation with a bad design fails immediately. Thus, it is not required to implement a prototype to demonstrate technical skills — so no coding expected, let alone smart contracts or chain code — although if a team decides that it is useful for explanatory purposes, go for it!

  • A solution — blockchain or not — needs to be only as complex as it has to be. Things that are complex are not useful; things that are useful are simple. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

  • Teams may pursue multiple project proposals, and may enter multiple proposals for the exhibition event, but may only compete with one proposal.

  • Teams may be composed of 1 to 6 eligible individuals. Each team has one team lead. Individuals may not be on more than one team.

  • Yes. And the representative school shall be the one of the team leader’s. If there is at least one tertiary-level individual in a mixed secondary- and tertiary-level team, then, that team is considered a tertiary-level team.

  • Current and recent students (without age limit) may register as a competitor. The Competitions Committee may request proof-of-enrollment or proof-of-graduation.

    Current Secondary-Level Students: Any current student studying at a secondary academic institution (ISCED 2011 level 2-4).
    Current Tertiary-Level Students: Any current student studying at a tertiary academic institution (ISCED 2011 level 5-8).
    Recent College or University Students: Any recent student of a tertiary academic institution within and including up to three (3) years since graduation or hiatus. The Competitions Committee may request an endorsement from academic or administrative staff from their institutions.

  • C - Nominations

  • There are three ways for a team to be nominated:
    - An officially-sanctioned national blockchain olympiad committee
    - An officially-sanctioned national-level nominating party
    - Self-nomination

    If a national blockchain olympiad is active this year in your country or territory, please refer to them directly for all details on their process. IBCOL 2022 receives competition and exhibition nominations from them directly, without additional secondary screening activities.

    If a national blockchain olympiad is not active this year in your country or territory, you may be nominated by an organisation within your country or territory. IBCOL 2022 receives competition and exhibition nominations from them directly, with possible secondary screening activities if deemed necessary by the Competitions Committee.

    If a team is self-nominated, and there are no national blockchain committee nor national-level nominator, the team shall be screened by the Ersatz Blockchain Olympiad Committee, with possible secondary screening activities if deemed necessary by the Competitions Committee.

  • There are three parties that can nominate:
    - National Committee (NC)
    - National Nominator (NN)
    - Self-Nomination (SN)

  • NN are authorized by IBCOL 2022 to nominate teams to compete. NN are required to inform the IBCOL’22 Competitions Committee of their nomination process.

    Secondary screening may be conducted for nominees from NN depending on the process and other factors for that country or territory.

  • NC are self-organised by 2 or more NN. NC are expected to host a competition for selection.
    NC delegates are directly submitted to IBCOL Secondary screening is not required.

  • D - Registration

  • After you enter your first submission, you will be given a Team ID to be included in future re-submissions and submission 2.

  • We are currently accepting the initial Submission 1 up till October 17th at 23:59 GMT+8, but we encourage you to enter your project as soon as you can to allow time for feedback from the screening committee.

    The deadline for Submission 2 is October 22nd at 23:59 GMT+8. Beyond this time, the Organising Committee cannot guarantee that your booth will be setup properly. Extensions may be granted on a case-by-case basis with sufficient explanation, such as but not limited to war, civil unrest, natural disasters, and force majeures.

  • E - Submission

  • We are currently accepting the initial Submission 1 up till October 17th at 23:59 GMT+8, but we encourage you to enter your project as soon as you can to allow time for feedback from the screening committee.

    The deadline for Submission 2 is October 22nd at 23:59 GMT+8. Beyond this time, the Organising Committee cannot guarantee that your booth will be setup properly. Extensions may be granted on a case-by-case basis with sufficient explanation, such as but not limited to war, civil unrest, natural disasters, and force majeures.

  • You may find a preview of the entire submission form here.

    Submission 1
    Please include the names and CV’s of all team members and the country the team is representing. The answers to the 8 questions in the Project Profile section will be how we determine whether a project is accepted or if it’ll be returned with feedback for re-submission. Additional supporting documents will be considered, but are not required.

    Submission 2
    Required entries for Submission 2 are the poster board and the whitepaper in IEEE format. The pitch deck, 10 minute presentation video, and demo/prototype video will be considered, but are not required. Posterboard specs: must be under 5 MB (smaller the better), orientation: LANDSCAPE (i.e. on the side, not standing up), ratio: 16:9, and resolution: your choice, as long as it is under 5 MB.

  • Submission 1 is evaluated on the several key aspects covered by the 8 different questions. Which 17 SDG categories does the project’s chosen challenge touch? How well does the solution address the challenge? How viable is the solution? How does the project differentiate itself from alternatives? Projects that provide creative and unique solutions to relevant and pressing problems will be ranked favourably.

  • F - Competition

  • The event runs from October 24 - October 27

  • It will be online-only, hosted on Gather.Town. Important events will be streamed on YouTube. The team is based in Eastern European (GMT+2) and East Asian (GMT+8) time zones and event times are in GMT+8.

  • Students, educators, and members of the media have free admission.

  • Saturday 1 October 2022 at 23:59 GMT+2 via website

  • Jurors are assigned proposals to evaluate against the evaluation guidelines. Jurors would receive whitepapers beforehand. There will be a live Q&A and judging session during the IBCOL finals.

  • There are a total of 60 medals to be won. Additionally, all teams may earn the prestigious Award of Merit or bounties from specific challenges.

    - Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes for finalists in each of the seventeen categories.
    - Gold, Silver, and Bronze prizes for the top three scoring secondary-tier teams.
    - Gold, Silver, and Bronze prizes for the top three scoring tertiary-tier teams.
    - Gold, Silver, and Bronze prizes for the top three scoring teams overall.
    - Award of Merit will be given to those who satisfy pass/fail criteria for complete solutions, regardless of score.
    - Bounties from sponsors and supporting organisations, i.e. separate recognition and prize money.

  • IBCOL 2022 International Blockchain Olympiad will not have any cash prizes. However, with some of our supporting organisations, we will arrange packages of support for mentorship, advisory, and technical support for some of the award winners, worth up to $100,000 USD each. This match-making will be done through into the next year.

  • IBCOL 2022 International Blockchain Olympiad is organised entirely at the grassroots level this year without any official sponsors, and thus there will not be any cash prizes. Additionally, in consideration to the difficulty of international money transfer demonstrated by last year’s event Dhaka 2021, the International Blockchain Olympiad has since considered very carefully how cash prizes are handled in all its affiliated events, not only the international finals.

  • H - Exhibition

  • All teams will be assigned a booth in on either Oct 25 or 26 during which they will display their poster board and be given the chance to present their project to interested parties.