The European Commission has launched a new Horizon Prize: 'Blockchains for Social Good'. 5 prizes of EUR 1 million each will be awarded to innovators that use Blockchain technology to develop decentralized solutions bringing about positive social change.

This EIC (European Innovation Council) Horizon Prize rewards the development of scalable, efficient and effective decentralised solutions to sustainability challenges which exploit the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) used in blockchains.It is funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.

An official launch event took place on 15 December 2017 in Turin to inform the potential applicants and stimulate an open public debate on this emerging topic, organized by the city of Turin and Nesta Italia.

The most known application of Blockchains is the controversial Bitcoin so far,  but this Prize will explore the unique potential of Blockchains for creating decentralised solutions to societal challenges which are more effective than traditional centralised approaches.

The objective is to stimulate the development of out-of-the-box multidisciplinary solutions to social challenges in areas such as support of fair trade, increasing transparency in production processes, decentralizing data governance and enhancing privacy, improving accountability and contributing to financial inclusion.

Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for Digital Economy and Society emphasized that

"Our society needs new solutions to sustainability challenges, which are more inclusive and effective than traditional approaches.This prize rewards the social innovators pioneering decentralised applications of the emerging blockchain technologies to create positive change in the society."

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:

"EIC Horizon Prizes, funded under the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, will reward the best outside-the-box ideas that can solve a major problem facing society. The blockchain technology is already transforming the world of finance, and I look forward to seeing revolutionary decentralised solutions to innovation challenges in many domains."

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted before the 25 June 2019. The proposals will be subject to public scrutiny and will eventually be evaluated by an independent jury. The detailed rules of contest will be available in February 2018.

Individuals, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, research centres from technological and social disciplines, creative industries, students, hackers, start-ups and SMEs are invited to apply . Tackling this challenge requires a multidisciplinary expertise.

The prize will be awarded  based on the Jury's decision after the contest ends, based on  criteria such as  social impact, decentralisation and governance, usability and inclusiveness, viability at large scale and a clear added value of the demonstrated implementation for European citizens, in terms of innovation, and other societal, economic or environmental aspects.  Read more details on the criteria


Distribute Ledger Technology(DLT), of which blockchain is a part of,  offers the possibility of creating new forms of human collaboration and processes. DLT in its public, open and permission-less forms is considered as a ground-breaking digital technology that supports decentralized methods for consensus reaching as well as sharing, storing and securing transactions and other data with fewer to no central intermediaries. It can change the way our society is organized by enabling decentralized education, decentralized data governance, open innovation, or privacy by design businesses.  

Although insofar this technology has mainly been used to develop financial applications  (such as the controversial Bitcoin), for the reasons above it has a strong potential for revolutionary innovations that can be beneficial for the society. 

Watch video on the blockchain prize

Refer to the infographic to get a quick overview