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South Carolina Blockchain Competition Advances State's Technology Ambitions

South Carolina Blockchain Competition Advances State's Technology Ambitions


Technology Challenge, Cash Prizes, World Class Judges and International Invitation to Kick Start Blockchain Innovation in South Carolina

Charleston SC - South Carolina Blockchain, PalmettoChain, Inc., and the McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at the University of South Carolina are co-sponsoring the inaugural South Carolina Blockchain Entrepreneurship Challenge.

“Our goal is to inspire entrepreneurs and innovators to apply blockchain technology to industries like supply chain, agriculture, real estate, transportation, law, and many more,” said Dr. Dirk Brown, Faculty Director, McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise.

“We want to encourage all South Carolinians, University of South Carolina students, and teams worldwide to develop and propose next generation solutions to present-day problems,” said Dennis Fassuliotis, PalmettoChain, Inc., Executive Director and co-founder of South Carolina Blockchain, Inc. “This is a world-class competition intended to focus on our state’s emerging tech industry and also encourage introductions and partnerships with teams from other states and around the world.”

Up to $6,000 in prize money is available, including a special bracket for University of South Carolina student-driven entries. Ideas will be developed online in StartupWind, using an idea concept card, a business model canvas, a proof-of-concept submission, and a budget.

Idea canvases will be judged by blockchain industry leaders, including W. Scott Stornetta, indisputably, one of the founding fathers of blockchain technology, and Shawnna Hoffman, Global Blockchain Offering Leader for IBM Watson Health. Other judges include Gerald Gallagher, Dr. Gerald Dwyer, Francoise Birnholz, Patrick Hidalgo, Eric Thome, Kim Christ, Jacob Hall, Audra Hall and other seasoned investors and entrepreneurs. Submissions will be evaluated on (1) how compelling the idea is; (2) presentation of blockchain use-cases with South Carolinians in mind; and (3) how realistic the solution is to implement.

The competition was formally announced at the Resilience SC 2020 Virtual Blockchain Conference hosted by South Carolina Blockchain, Inc. on July 15, 2020. Details of the competition can be found at A complete record of the live conference can be found on the South Carolina Blockchain YouTube Channel here:

A separate student bracket of the competition is open to University of South Carolina students, including all campuses and the Palmetto College. Individuals and teams of any size may submit idea canvases and proofs-of-concept utilizing a blockchain platform of their choice. A dedicated portion of the award money is reserved for UofSC students and student teams will also be eligible for the public bracket prizes. Please read the eligibility, entry, judging and additional terms before submitting your idea canvas and proof-of-concept.

The competition is open to teams worldwide, however, to inspire its economic development initiative, one member of the team must be a SC resident.

Entries are due Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 11 p.m. EST.

Winners will be announced August 19, 2020.

Visit their webpage to get started on your application.

For more information, contact Katherine Swartz Hilton at,

803.777.1717 or Mark Driver at, 478.607.9173.

About South Carolina Blockchain, Inc. and Palmetto Chain, Inc.:

South Carolina Blockchain, Inc. is a Public-benefit corporation (B-Corp) focused on educating South Carolinians and others about practical applications, use-cases and opportunities for blockchain technology in the Palmetto State. By highlighting projects, partnering with educators, fostering a blockchain community and evangelizing on blockchain-related emerging technologies; South Carolina Blockchain, Inc. seeks to promote economic development in the state through evolutionary and revolutionary innovation and entrepreneurism.

Separately, Palmetto Chain continues to focus on advocacy and legislative initiatives to promote a conducive regulatory framework for blockchain-enabled technologies, primarily cryptocurrencies and coin offerings, which represent a critically important foundation and functionality underpinning future blockchain business solutions. PalmettoChain, Inc., was founded in 2018, and is a SC non-profit association also supporting the development of the State’s own blockchain utility to serve the governments, businesses and citizens of South Carolina.

Media Contact: Dennis Fassuliotis, Executive Director, Palmetto Chain, Inc., Co-founder of South Carolina Blockchain, Inc. 843.270.1016

About the McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at the University of South Carolina

The McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at the University of South Carolina promotes scholarly activity, educates students about the role of free enterprise and entrepreneurship in enhancing economic growth, and encourages students to contribute and participate through entrepreneurship in creating a better America.

The Institute is funded through the generosity of Robert and Janice McNair Foundation which also funds centers at multiple other universities across the nation supporting entrepreneurship and free enterprise education. Under the guiding vision of Robert and Janice McNair, the foundation is committed to developing a new generation of entrepreneurial leaders who have both the technical skills and the philosophical understanding of how the free enterprise system forms the basis of economic opportunity and prosperity for individuals in our country.


Public Bracket

    • Individuals or teams must have one resident of South Carolina or must have at least one eligible UofSC student (who is not necessarily a South Carolina resident).
    • Teams must include a basic demonstration proof of concept utilizing either:
      • blockchain development tools introduced by competition organizers; or
      • b) any other recognized blockchain platform of the team’s choice

UofSC Student Bracket

    • Any teams comprised exclusively of enrolled undergraduate and graduate University of South Carolina students in good academic and judicial standing on all UofSC campuses are eligible.
    • UofSC teams are also eligible for awards in the public bracket.

The competition is open to individuals and teams of any size.


    • The deadline for entry is Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 11 pm EST.
    • Entries will be made through the Startup Wind platform in a private and secure cohort.
    • Entry includes five required parts: Team member(s’) contact information (and academic information if competing in student bracket), an idea concept card, a business model canvas, a proof-of-concept demonstration, and a budget. A template will be provided for the budget.
    • Multiple entries per individual or team are allowed.
    • There is no entry fee.
    • Terms are posted in the competition.

Selection of Winners:

    • Entries will be judged by a panel of experts including seasoned entrepreneurs, blockchain enthusiasts, investors, and staff from South Carolina Blockchain and the McNair Institute.
    • Idea canvases and demos will be judged based on (1) how compelling the idea is; (2) the return on investment or impact per dollar; (3) how realistic the solution is to implement and scale, and (4) the level of detail and sophistication of the demonstration proof-of-concept
    • Winners will be announced on August 19, 2020.

Additional Terms:

    • Submissions will only be visible to judges, South Carolina Blockchain and McNair Institute staff, and Startup Wind staff during the entry and selection phases of the competition.
    • Winners agree to allow South Carolina Blockchain, Inc., Palmetto Chain, Inc. and the McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at the University of South Carolina to publicize winners’ idea summary statements, photographs, and project results beginning with the announcement of winners.
    • All winners must abide by all federal, state, local, and University of South Carolina mandates.
    • Prize money up to $6,000 will be awarded. The amount of each prize to be determined by South Carolina Blockchain, Palmetto Chain, Inc., and McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at the University of South Carolina. Awards will be based on several factors including an estimate of total funds needed to complete the project, feasibility, scalability, return on investment, type of mitigation to be made, and the amount allocated toward personal expenditures. The size of the team is not a factor in determining the amount of prize money awarded.
    • Payment of prize money will be issued in the form of a check or direct deposit after a W-9 is received. Payment will be made as quickly as possible, but due to limitations placed on staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not possible to predict when payment will be issued.
    • Prizes of $600.00 or more are taxable, and it is the winner’s responsibility to pay taxes on winnings received. An IRS Form 1099 will be sent to each winner as applicable.
    • If a winning team has formed a legally recognized business, payment of prize money will be made to the business. The IRS Form 1099 will be sent to the business for payment of taxes as applicable. If the winning team has not formed a business, the team leader designated in the competition entry information will be sent the prize money and IRS Form 1099 as applicable.
    • Student bracket winners will be required to provide an interim or final report to the McNair Institute by February 15, 2021, including action taken, impact made, use of funds, engagement with advisors, testimonials from winners and those impacted by the project, and photographs of the project. A report template will be provided. 

Legal and Marketing Releases:

    • By participating in this Blockchain Entrepreneurship Challenge co-hosted by South Carolina Blockchain, Inc. (“SCB”), each Participant grants SCB and its licensees, successors and assigns a non-exclusive, perpetual, non-cancelable, royalty free, fully paid up, worldwide right and license to edit, modify, adapt, translate, exhibit, publish, transmit, participate in the transfer of, reproduce, copy, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, display and otherwise use all and/or any part of such Participant’s names, likenesses, photographs, voices and images of all persons referenced and/or appearing in materials generated at the event, without limitation, anywhere in the world in any form (tangible or intangible, permanent or ephemeral, including, without limitation, audio, video, print, electronic, written, and photographic) and via any transmission medium (including, without limitation, television, radio, Internet, and print) now existing or that may exist in the future for advertising, trade, promotion, publicity and other related purposes without compensation and without notice to or consideration, review or approval from Participant.
    • Each Participant further agrees to:
      • (i) be questioned or interviewed (whether in person or by other means such as email or phone), filmed and/or photographed and available for interviewing, filming, photography and for other public relations, marketing and promotional activities associated with the Blockchain Entrepreneurship Challenge, as reasonably requested and directed by SCB;
      • (ii) allow SCB to make contact with the Participant (whether in person, by phone, email or otherwise) to request further information from the Participants concerning their participation or for any other purpose related to the Blockchain Entrepreneurship Challenge. Each Participant represents and warrants that neither its participation, nor SCB’s exercise of any of the rights granted to it under these Additional Terms will:
        • (a) infringe or violate any rights of any third party or entity, including, without limitation, those relating to patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, moral rights, mask works, defamation, privacy, publicity, false light, misappropriation, confidentiality, and/or any contractual or other rights recognizable under any applicable law, rule, regulation, ordinance, judgment or decree (collectively, “Law”), or
        • (b) otherwise violate any applicable Law.

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