A fintech-based solution that aims to restore Ukraine’s cultural monuments destroyed during the war has been voted winner of a European Union (EU)-supported hackathon.
The ‘Fintech Challenge for Ukraine’ launched in mid-May with to encourage the ‘deployment of digital and financial technologies to help Ukrainians withstand Russian aggression and rebuild the country’.
A hackathon is an event during which participants, typically coders and developers, design and present innovative solutions to a particular challenge. They have become increasingly popular ways for public authorities worldwide to engage with embryonic fintech solutions.
The Ukraine hackathon (which also carried the title ‘Coding Challenge for Ukraine’) ran from 17-26 June with a concluding event held in Brussels this week (29 June).
The ‘Restore Together’ project presented by the winning team, AtomicLab, aims to ‘bring together investors who can finance the reconstruction of the building / monument / cultural heritage and contractors who can fulfil the restoration order’.
The solution presented by AtomicLab, whose prize was EUR 10,000 (about £8,500), is based on non-fungible token (NFT) technology comprising an ‘NFT-funded investor attraction, NFT gallery with filters and artist rating — all on one platform’. NFTs are ‘one-of-a-kind’ digital assets that exist on a blockchain that have become an increasingly popular way to buy and sell digital art.
Ukraine’s EU candidate status
The Ukrainian Association of Fintech and Innovation Companies (UAFIC) organised the challenge alongside the European Digital Finance Association, with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG Fisma) providing finance. The event was partnered by a Ukraine-headquartered company, LeoGaming.
Five further finalists, selected from about 30 teams that entered, offered tech-based solutions to help refugees, internally displaced persons, war victims and small- and medium-sized businesses. The five further finalists were ATERMON, CodeDefenders, OffZmi, Sigma Software and SOS Civil Defense Headquarters.
As Russia’s attacks continue, Ukraine – which has a rich cultural history – and its significantly smaller neighbour Moldova were last week granted EU candidate status. Ukraine applied for EU membership days after the start of Russia’s invasion in February.
The EU’s financial services commissioner Mairead McGuinness spoke at this week’s concluding event, which was held at the ‘Sparks’ venue in central Brussels.
“I think the very idea and the reason we’re here today is manifold, but really to support Ukraine. I think this is a fantastic initiative,” said McGuinness, who also gave the opening remarks at an online event to kick off the hackathon. “Since 2014, Ukraine has made immense progress and last week’s announcement from the Council about candidate status is really a recognition of that progress. But, of course, everybody needs to do more, and we’re here to help.”
UAFIC chairman of the board Rostyslav Dyuk delivered a keynote address via video message during the inaugural Global Government Fintech Lab – which brought together senior public servants exploring the opportunities created by fintech – on 1 June in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia.
‘I hope that, after the war, Ukrainian fintechs will change the world’ – our news story on Rostyslav Dyuk delivering a keynote address during the inaugural Global Government Fintech Lab in Estonia (1 June 2022)
‘Fintech Challenge for Ukraine’ hackathon kicks off – our news story (16 May 2022) on the start of the hackathon