Portugal’s GovTech uses blockchain to select 6 projects in contest for UN sustainability goals

govtech humanity blockchain Portugal’s Secretary of State for Administrative Modernization, Graça Fonseca

Through its GovTech initiative, the Government of Portugal selects six projects aligned with the UN’s sustainability goals, by voting on the blockchain and through a selection committee.

This is the first government contest that used blockchain technology to choose the winners of a contest. Applications started in early May for all startups with projects fitting into the 17 sustainable development goals set by the United Nations for 2030, according to Portugal Startups.

To see the complete list of projects and finalists, you may visit Portugal Startups or the GovTech website.

Three startups winning the first edition of GovTech will be announced today in Lisbon. The number of investors using the blockchain platform was higher than expected by the government and GovTech anticipates a second edition.

In addition to the €30,000, each winner will receive a collaboration protocol with the State to develop and test their product or service, a space in a national incubator, support for internationalization, and access to the Alpha package for Web Summit.

Read More: Web Summit will remain in Lisbon for another 10 years

“Of the 113 projects that responded to the challenge, six finalists were selected by a 45-member jury, but also by the public through a blockchain platform,” Portugal’s Secretary of State for Administrative Modernization, Graça Fonseca, told Jornal Economico.

“Through this voting system, 4,959,400 crypto coins were issued and 4,559,312 were used by 1,734 investors, a number that ‘exceeded expectations,’” added Fonseca.

Each project registered earned “GovTechs,” which are virtual voting units that they could use to “invest” in the projects they like best.

The virtual voting units — the GovTechs — act like a cryptocurrency and are powered by blockchain technology.

govtech humanity blockchain

The goals of sustainable development, set at a UN summit, aim to move towards the eradication of poverty and to economic, social and environmental development on a global scale.

The GovTech initiative is aimed at solving the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which outlines 17 goals.

“GovTech wants to respond to the 17 sustainable development goals defined by the UN, with which the Portuguese State has committed itself. We are looking for products or services that present solutions to the problems,” said Fonseca.

Those 17 goals include:

  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
  • Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Life on land
  • Peace, justice, and strong institutions
  • Partnerships for the goals

“The truth is that in three weeks, we received more than one hundred applications and we reached this stage of selection of the six finalists with a final number of 113 candidates. It was in a relatively short time to submit applications,” said Fonseca.

“It’s funny that some of them did not know they were contributing to one of the goals of the 2020 agenda and that’s a positive first step. There was the objective of taking this agenda of sustainable goals to more people in Portugal and it is a positive balance that I make, not only by the number of applications, but also by the number of people who registered on the platform to invest in the candidates,” she added.

The jury will choose, this Thursday, the three winners of the contest, from a group of six startups.

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