Frequently Asked Questions



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


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.



  • 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, a blockchain solutions exists looking for problems. Sometimes, a blockchain solution is overkill for a type of challenge.

    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, but at minimum, the follow three P’s are required: (white) paper, poster (board), and pitch (deck). We highly recommend creating an elevator pitch and a recording of your pitch presentation. A prototype would be helpful: a low-fidelity (diagrams or mockups), high-fidelity (simulated application), or a functional prototype (with code).

  • 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.

    Definitions:
    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.



  • 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.

  • Yes. Some NC and NN may not work together. If such is the case, NN nominees must have a valid reason for not taking part in the NC processes, and will go through secondary screening. Generally, NN are encouraged to work with NC.

  • There is no limit to the number of nominations.

  • Saturday 3 September 2022 at 23:59 GMT+2

  • Teams from countries or territories without an NC or NN that have eligible individuals may directly submit their proposal to the Ersatz Blockchain Olympiad Committee and proceed to secondary screening.

  • No, unless the NC has rules stating otherwise.

  • A list of NC and NN are updated on our website. You may reach them at their official emails which is the two-letter ISO abbreviation of your country or territory. For example, [email protected] (not [email protected]) is the British Blockchain Olympiad, representing the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

  • Saturday 17 September 2022 at 23:59 GMT+2

  • Extensions must be requested at least 7 days before a deadline and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Some valid reasons include but not limited to: war, civil unrest, natural disasters, and other force majeures.

  • The Ersatz Blockchain Olympiad Committee takes the role of a NC to evaluate nominees from countries or territories without an NC and to evaluate some nominees that were passed by NN under special circumstances. The evaluation is conducted with the standard evaluation criteria by a jury panel selected from a pool of jurors from around the world. If the nominee passes the evaluation, they are allowed to proceed.

  • A nominee becomes a finalist when IBCOL 2022 Competitions Committee officially recognizes that team and is entered into the registry for IBCOL’22.

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



  • Registration

  • Individuals must first activate their IBCOL Passport (passport.ibcol.org) and prepare their necessary credentials, teams are then registered by the national blockchain olympiad committee or national-level nominator. Any questions or enquiries arising from registration may be directed to [email protected] or to your national blockchain olympiad committee or national-level nominator.

  • The IBCOL Passport is a user-centric verifiable digital credentials system that aids IBCOL 2022 to ensure compliance to rules and regulations of the competition. Get your passport at passport.ibcol.org and register before the deadline.

  • For national-level nominations, please refer to the deadlines set by your national blockchain olympiad committee or national-level nominator. For self-nominations, the deadline to submit is Saturday 27 August 2022 at 23:59 GMT+8. 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 acts of god.



  • Submission

  • For national-level nominations, please refer to the deadlines set by your national blockchain olympiad committee or national-level nominator.
    For self-nominations, the deadline to submit is Saturday 17 September 2022 at 23:59 GMT+8. 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.

  • The submission requirements are set by your national blockchain olympiad committee or national-level nominator — there may be some differences in their requirements and that of the IBCOL 2022 International Finals. The following submission requirements are for the IBCOL 2022 International Finals.

    Materials Requirement Description
    Team Member Profile Mandatory 3-4 sentences and photo for each team member
    Team Member CV Recommended PDF files
    Poster (big one-pager) Mandatory (for Finalists only) PDF or Figma, landscape, dimensions 36’’ x 48’’ at 300 dpi or equivalent (14400 x 10800 pixels)
    1-min Elevator Pitch Recommended (for Finalists only) MP4 file or Youtube unlisted URL, 1-minute limit
    10-min Presentation Mandatory (for Finalists only) MP4 file or Youtube URL, 10-minute limit
    Pitch Deck Mandatory (for Finalists only) PDF or .pptx file, no slide limit
    Whitepaper Mandatory PDF file, 10-page limit excluding references and appendices; recommend IEEE conference manuscript templates
    Demo Video Optional No limit but recommended to not exceed 10 minutes
    Prototype Link or Executable Optional URL of demo

  • The submission evaluation criteria are set by your national blockchain olympiad committee or national-level nominator — there may be some differences in their criteria and that of the IBCOL 2022 International Finals. The following submission requires are for the IBCOL 2022 International Finals.


    CRITERION GUIDELINES EVALUATION
    CHALLENGE Is it appropriate to use blockchain to address the problem or challenge? Does blockchain add value to the overall solution design? Pass/Fail
    IDENTITY Does the proposal handle digital identity? How is the legal and compliance aspect? Pass/Fail
    PRIVACY How is data privacy handled? How is consent handled? What are some privacy-related risks and how are they handled? 20%
    SECURITY How is data access, availability, and authentication handled? What are some security-related risks and how are they handled? 20%
    TRUST How is data integrity handled? What are some trust-related risks and how are they handled? 20%
    PRESENTATION Does the team present their solution in a clear and concise manner? Does the team competently address all enquiries about their solution? 40%

    1. CHALLENGE (pass/fail)
    Is it appropriate to use blockchain to address the problem or challenge? Does blockchain add value to the overall solution design?
    2.IDENTITY (pass/fail)
    Does the proposal handle digital identity? How is the legal and compliance aspect?
    3. PRIVACY (20%)
    How is data privacy handled? How is consent handled? What are some privacy-related risks and how are they handled?
    4. SECURITY (20%)
    How is data access, availability, and authentication handled? What are some security-related risks and how are they handled?
    5. TRUST (20%)
    How is data integrity handled? What are some trust-related risks and how are they handled?
    6. PRESENTATION (40%)
    Does the team present their solution in a clear and concise manner? Does the team competently address all enquiries about their solution?



  • Competition

  • The second week of October 2022. It will be multiple days, from October 11th (Tuesday) to October 15th (Saturday).

  • It will be online-only, due to pandemic-induced travel restrictions and uneven re-opening of the world. It will be hosted on Gather.Town or a similar “metaverse” platform. Important events will be streamed on YouTube. There is no host city, but the team is based in Eastern European (GMT+2) and East Asian (GMT+8) timezones.

  • Students, educators, and members of the media have free admission. Other attendees may purchase tickets.

  • 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 live pitching 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.



  • Exhibition

  • Eligible individuals, who want to showcase their blockchain solutions or their understanding in blockchain but do not want to participate in the competition, can submit an essay in 5 pages or less. The essays will be displayed in the exhibition, and will not be involved in the competition.

  • Eligible individuals, who want to showcase their blockchain solutions or their understanding in blockchain but do not want to participate in the competition, can submit an explainer video in 90 seconds or less. The videos will be displayed in the exhibition, and will not be involved in the competition.

  • Teams with more than one proposal may exhibit their other proposals at the exhibition, and will not be involved in the competition.