EBC Startup Battle 2023: Applications Are Now Open

Startup battle 2023

The European Blockchain Convention is organizing the EBC Startup Battle in Barcelona this October, and we want YOU to be part of it. We’re on the hunt for the best 50 early-stage founders to take the stage at our Startup Battle.

This is where innovation meets opportunity.

What is the EBC Startup Battle?

The EBC Startup Battle is the startup competition, part of the 9th European Blockchain Convention, that will take place on October 24-26 in Barcelona.

Drawing from 6 years of experience in bringing together blockchain and Web3 enthusiasts across Europe, we hope to give early-stage startups more opportunities to shine and expand their business while forging connections with our network of investor partners.

The 50 startup finalists will pitch their game-changing ideas to a crowd of investors and 5,000 attendees. Each team will receive 4 FREE General Passes to join the event. The company’s logo and information will also be listed on the EBC website for some killer exposure.

The jury members will select one winning startup, who will walk away with some seriously sweet sponsor perks and diverse marketing opportunities.

Prizes for the Top 50 Startups and Startup Battle Winner!

How to join the EBC Startup Battle?

The process is simple. Just apply here.

Companies that fit our Startup Battle profile should:

  • Startups must not have raised Series A funding
  • Total funding raised must be less than €8M
  • Startups must be founded in 2018 and onwards
  • Startups must have at least an MVP (minimal viable product)
  • Startups must be related to the Blockchain, crypto, Web3, NFTs, or Metaverse industry
  • Startups must be based in Europe
  • Startups must be a game changer in their vertical

💡 Make sure to include your previous pitch video to increase your chance of being selected 💡

It can be you this year to win the prizes and the confetti!

Is it Free to Apply?

It’s 100% free to apply and participate. EBC does NOT require any equity from any contestants or the winner. 

Important Dates


So, if you’re ready to seize the stage, get your game-changing ideas out there, and make connections that could change your business trajectory, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for.

Join the EBC Startup battle today!

Solarpunk and Web3: Envisioning a Sustainable, Collaborative Future

Solarpunk and Web3

Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?”

Jay Springett, Co-administrator of solarpunks.net

What is Solarpunk?

Solarpunk is a visionary movement that emerged as an antidote to the dystopian themes of Cyberpunk and the nostalgia and aesthetics of Steampunk. It offers an optimistic outlook on the future amidst the climate crisis, envisioning a society in perfect harmony with nature and equally shared with everyone on the planet. A Solarpunk future is one that is sustainable at a not-just-for-rich-people level but a human-friendly future that can scale.

In the Solarpunk world, technology is developed in tandem with nature, and clean energy sources like solar and wind power entirely sustain cities. There are no existential threats like the climate crisis looming over society. The focus is on regenerative and sustainable practices, with a circular economy at its core

Olivia Louise shared her aesthetic vision of Solarpunk on Tumblr in 2014.

The Solarpunk Manifesto

“Solarpunk” was coined in 2008 in a blog post from the Republic of the Bees. Over the years, Solarpunk has evolved from a small online community to a promising speculative subgenre. In 2014, Adam Flynn penned down his notes toward the Solarpunk manifesto, while an ultimate Solarpunk reference guide was created by Jay Springett in 2017. The Solarpunk movement has evolved with its distinct aesthetic and an emerging manifesto.

Solarpunk is about finding ways to make life more wonderful for us right now, and more importantly for the generations that follow us… Our futurism is not nihilistic like cyberpunk and it avoids steampunk’s potentially quasi-reactionary tendencies: it is about ingenuity, generativity, independence, and community.

Adam Flynn, “Solarpunk: Notes toward a manifesto

To grasp some main ideas of Solarpunk, you can read this interesting Tumblr post explaining why solarpunk is the most important speculative fiction movement in the last 20 years.

Solarpunk artwork Sun City created by Nusa Stiglitz.

Essential Elements of Solarpunk

Decentralization

Decentralization is a fundamental element of the Solarpunk movement. Unlike Cyberpunks who envision a world controlled by oppressive corporations, Solarpunks envision a future where power is distributed among individuals and communities, fostering a sense of autonomy and empowerment. Instead of centralizing authority in the hands of a few, decisions are made collectively, with a focus on sustainability and environmental harmony. By embracing open-source technologies, information is freely accessible to all, driving innovation and progress for the betterment of society.

Lush Nature

The core idea of Solarpunk is to create a world where lush natural landscapes abound, as we see in the Studio Ghibli films, and human activities coexist peacefully with the environment.

Lush nature is an essential feature in the films from the Gibili Studio. Source: Howl’s Moving Castle from Intofilm.org.

Renewable and Sustainable Technologies

Renewable energy, especially solar power and its representation are the foundation of the Solarpunk ideology, which characterizes “gentle, non-centralized, and non-mediated”, the Solarpunks envision a world with collaboration and communities, in which no one is left behind. 

Solarpunk emphasizes the use of green energy, such as wind, water, and solar power. Source: The Future Is Bright by Jessica Woulfe.

Solarpunk Aesthetics and Art

Solarpunk’s visual aesthetics embrace an ever-changing fusion of influences. It weaves together the charm of 1800s age-of-sail/frontier living, now enhanced by the eco-friendly elements of nature and the modern touch of technology. The landscapes showcase the creative reuse of existing infrastructure, offering glimpses of both post-apocalyptic and present-weird worlds.

In 2014, Olivia Louise’s Tumblr post went viral. She integrated the art nouveau elements and gave the concept of Solarpunk a visual language. The work of Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan’s greatest animation directors, is also considered a representation of the Solarpunk art style.

For more Solarpunk art, check out the Solarpunk Magazine, concept artist Jessica Woulfe (Solarpunk Art Contest Winner in 2019), graphic designer Nusa Stiglitz (who did the Solarpunk city design for Fuzzy Binary Games), Elijah Johnson (Solarpunk Art Contest winner in 2021).

Artwork Solar Ascension created by Astral-Requin for the Atomhawk Solarpunk art contest.

Solarpunk Movies, Fictions, and Architectures

The animated commercial by the Yogurt company Chobani in 2021 made Solarpunk concepts and aesthetics reach a greater audience. Solarpunk futurist Stephen Magee also posted the video to Twitter, claiming that the lifestyle in the video is the Solarpunk future that he’s fighting for.

The animated Yogurt commercial released in 2021 aligns with the Solarpunk ideology.

Books

  • Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation (2017)
  • Wings of Renewal: A Solarpunk Dragon Anthology (2015)
  • Chameleon Moon (RoAnna Sylver, 2014)
  • Solarpunk: Ecological and Fantastic Stories in a Sustainable World (2013)
  • Parable of the Sower (Octavia E. Butler, 1993)
  • Mars trilogy (Kim Stanley Robinson, 1992)
  • The Dispossessed (Ursula K LeGuin’s, 1974)
  • Looking Backwards (Edward Bellamy, 1888)
Books that align with the Solarpunk values. Source: FreedomNews.org.

Movies

  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
  • Princess Mononoke (1997)
  • Castle In The Sky (1989)
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1987)
Hayao Miyazaki’s films often explore the themes of humanity and nature. Source: Princess Mononoke, Queensland Art Gallery.

Architecture

Architecturally, Solarpunk is characterized by buildings adorned with vegetation, including rooftop gardens and vertical forests. The aim is to integrate nature into urban spaces and create a more harmonious coexistence between humanity and the natural world.

  • Architect Vincent Callebaut (Belgium)
  • Architect Francis Kere (Burkina Faso)
  • Gardens by the Bay (Singapore)
  • Jewel Changi Airport Waterfall (Singapore)
  • Golden Bridge (Vietnam) 
  • Bosco Verticale (Italy)
Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. Source: Official Site.

Solarpunk and Web3

In a world with constant tensions between different groups and the environment, Solarpunk is our alternative for doomerism in a world of rising coordination failure. With Web3, the transparent, immutable, programmable, and global structure that can unlock better coordination, we can leverage collective intelligence to make the world better.

Solarpunk in Web3 highlights cooperativism, coordination, cooperation, communities, and collective benefits. Scott Moore, Co-Founder of Gitcoin, highlighted how Web3 reimagines public goods, emphasizing the positive externalities on society.

Kevin Owocki, CEO of Gitcoin, also tweeted that Web3 builders are creating economic systems with various mechanisms like NFTs, Quadratic Funding, and Retro Public Goods Funding, aiming to generate a positive impact. 

Unlike Web2, Web3 developers are incentivized to construct transparent infrastructure for public goods. Examples like open-source software and Decentralized Science, as highlighted by Kevin Owocki, demonstrate their commitment to providing public access to a decentralized and transparent financial system. Their ultimate goal is to foster a world with increased fairness and justice. 

Web3 is Solarpunk reimagining public goods – Scott Moore (at ETH Barcelona 2023).

Sustainability is a vital element in Web3, aligning closely with Solarpunk principles. Increasing discussions arise around mining crypto with a green footprint, leveraging blockchain to improve the circular economy, or building projects for human rights and social equality. The emergence of Regenerative Finance (ReFi) protocols in the Web3 space further demonstrates the commitment to effectively address sustainability challenges.

Web3 is not just some sort of a speculative game. It’s actually building new kinds of regenerative ecosystems, and ReGen is fundamentally Solarpunk.

Scott Moore, Co-Founder of Gitcoin

Lunarpunk and Privacy

Lunarpunk originated as a subset of Solarpunk, sharing the values of decentralization, diversity, and inclusivity. However, it has diverged from Solarpunk’s optimistic outlook. While Solarpunk focuses on transparency and openness, Lunarpunk emphasizes sovereignty and privacy. 

Lunarpunks argue that optimism leaves Solarpunks unprepared for potential challenges, giving rise to what they call “Solarpunk Fragility.” In response, Lunarpunks advocate for robust defense and the use of cryptography to safeguard user identities. They believe in the inherent conflict between cryptocurrencies and existing institutions, fearing that regulators will ban cryptocurrencies while using anonymity as an excuse to extend control.

The video from Rekt clearly explains the concepts of Lunarpunk and its distinctions from Solarpunk.

The development of zero-knowledge technology, self-sovereign identities, and decentralized IDs reflects the LunarPunk value of privacy preservation in the Web3 space. Privacy will be the future of Web3 and how to balance privacy and surveillance will be an important question to consider.

Read more about privacy and trust in Web3:

Metaverse 2.0: AI, Interoperability, and the Path Ahead

Metaverse 2.0: AI, Interoperability, and the Path Ahead

The panel is moderated by David Palmer, Blockchain Lead at Vodafone. Leon Lanen, COO of Bit Hotel – Blockchain Game, Lukasz Plewa, Head of Blockchain and Economy at DRKVRS, and Nicolas Benhamou Lacalle, Founder & CCO of Algoritcom provide insights from their experiences working on metaverse in gaming and business retail.

What Is the Metaverse?

Both Nicolas and Leon mention that the metaverse is a virtual space where people can work, socialize, interact, and basically do anything that we normally do in our daily lives. It’s important to point out that people are able to participate in the metaverse from different mediums, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), or even mobile phones. Lukasz concludes by saying that people often portray the metaverse as the movie “Ready Player One,” but he thinks the metaverse is simply another medium that allows people to interact with one another.

What Impact Will Metaverse Have?

David shares that McKinsey’s report, released in January 2023, stated that the Metaverse has the potential to become an over $5 trillion economy by 2030. Leon believes that the gaming industry will be the main driver that attracts users to socialize in the virtual worlds, while Lukasz envisions an interoperable digital world in which people can exchange assets and play different games seamlessly. 

From the retail perspective, Nicolas shares that the metaverse will give businesses new opportunities to build communities around their brands, and they can even integrate gaming into their business to create an innovative experience.

Participants tried out the VR device at the Algoritcom stand at EBC23.

What Needs To Be Improved?

Lukasz thinks that it’s important for users to be able to access the metaverse from different devices despite the slightly different user experiences. Leon agrees with that, saying that the VR or AR devices on the market now are expensive, and thus are not really helping with mass adoption. He believes that there will be new gadgets, such as Neuralink chips, coming out and making the immersive experience more accessible. 

Apart from improving access to the metaverse, Nicolas also acknowledges the importance of education. He thinks people nowadays are intimidated by the word “Metaverse,” and thus helping people understand the virtual world is essential.

What is the Future of Metaverse?

Leon and Lukasz both believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will play a significant role in the metaverse, particularly in creating generative art, storylines for the games, or non-player characters (NPCs) that can engage with users, and provide compelling instructions or conversations. They predict that AI will be used to create more natural and dynamic responses than the current decision-tree-based answers used in existing games.

We will have different interoperable metaverses. Lukasz states that users should be able to participate in the metaverse that they are interested in, no matter whether it’s a virtual shopping center, a game, or a fantasy world, and they should be able to seamlessly jump from one to another. Leon believes that having interoperable decentralized digital identities will thus be critical.

Panelists Lukasz and Nicolas shared their insights on metaverse adoption and education.

Leon and Lukasz both believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will play a significant role in the metaverse, particularly in creating generative art, storylines for the games, or non-player characters (NPCs) that can engage with users, and provide compelling instructions or conversations. They predict that AI will be used to create more natural and dynamic responses than the current decision-tree-based answers used in existing games.

In the coming months, Lukasz expects that companies working on metaverses will learn from their previous projects and create better products with different approaches. Leon thinks that there will be many new releases of metaverse worlds, games, and upgrades in technology. While he doesn’t expect a fully-fledged metaverse reality, he does believe that we will be inching closer to it, and the exact expression of it will become clearer over the next two years.

We are on an evolutionary journey, not a revolutionary journey, in my view. I’m just excited to see each aspect of that evolution!

David Palmer, Blockchain Lead at Vodafone

Watch the full panel to learn about the future of metaverse!

Is Web3 Privacy a Myth? Discover the Truth and Protect Yourself

Is Web3 Privacy a Myth

Coming from a professional background in computer science and security, Marta Piekarska, Director of DAO and Web3 Strategy at ConsenSys host a fireside chat with Nanak Nihal Khalsa, Co-Founder of Holonym Foundation, to discuss the current state of privacy in Web3 and how individuals can protect their privacy in the crypto space.

Nanak emphasizes the need for privacy protection, even though individuals may initially think they have nothing to hide. He highlights the risks associated with freely giving away personal data and the potential for abuse and breaches.

He explains that while Web3 is often associated with enhanced privacy, it primarily offers pseudonymity rather than anonymity. There is also a dilemma for individual users to balance privacy and government support. He highlights the potential of zero-knowledge technology to introduce new privacy primitives and enable private transactions while still complying with regulations.

Experts of privacy and security shared how users can protect themselves in Web3.

According to Nanak, the movement advocating better privacy adoption in Web3 still appears mainly decentralized and lacks a cohesive push. Holonym Foundation has also been working with Lobby3DAO, a Web3 community aiming to provide people with voices in public policy in the United States, to explore confluences with government, regulations, and lobbying.

To protect their privacy, EBC speakers suggest users be cautious about logging in to websites with their wallets, as this can potentially expose their wallet addresses and transaction history. Taking steps to secure personal information and utilizing privacy-enhancing tools are crucial for safeguarding privacy in Web3.


More EBC insights on trust and privacy:


Watch the full panel to learn from EBC experts about privacy in Web3!

Custody, Wallets & Exchanges: Keeping Your Crypto Safe

Custody, Wallets & Exchanges Keeping Your Crypto Safe

A very enlightening discussion took place during the 8th European Blockchain Convention with Maria Apogeni, CEO of BITMarkets, Serra Wei, Founder & CEO of Aegis Custody, and Clarisse Hagège, Founder & CEO of DFNS to discuss wallets, exchanges, and custody.

Not Your Keys, Not Your Crypto

Clarisse believes that owning your private keys is important for crypto ownership, but contrary to what people think, she argues that physical ownership is not necessary to keep assets secure.

In her opinion, key management is difficult and can easily lead to loss of funds, not to mention that many users still record their private keys on cloud service after purchasing a hardware device. With the advancement of technology, Clarisse envisions decentralized custody with a focus on recoverable proof of user signing power.

The audience listening to the panel discussing custody and wallets at EBC23.

Segregation of Funds Is Important

Serra points out that qualified custodians in the United States now have to demonstrate that they hold private keys to customer funds while proving customers’ funds are segregated. Clarisse thinks that centralized exchanges were a response to the difficulty of interacting with blockchain technology, but technological advancements, such as multi-party computation (MPC), can help rebuild trust and increase security. She suggests that segregated wallet infrastructure is crucial to guarantee the safety of user funds in case of bankruptcy.

The panelists discuss the importance of custody, wallets, and exchanges at EBC23.

The Future of the Crypto Space

Serra thinks that the collapse of FTX highlights the need for better risk management and infrastructure in the crypto space. Companies are now focusing on differentiating themselves by providing institutional-level solutions and complying with regulations. In the long run, this will set a new standard for sustainability and growth in the industry.

Clarisse expresses optimism in the future of the crypto space despite the fact that the institutional U.S. market is currently facing regulatory uncertainty. She believes that decentralized finance (DeFi) will come up with new solutions to deal with the situation.


More EBC insights on crypto, regulations, and privacy:


Watch the full panel to learn how to keep your crypto wallet safe!