Blockchain, Smart Contracts, and tokenization are terms everyone is discussing. In practice, most companies have little experience in this field. In the Blockchain Challenge, students worked together closely with project partners from the corporate world and designed innovative concepts based on blockchain technology.

With the Challenge, the Center for Innovative Finance at the University of Basel overcame the gap between theory and practice and thus offered a unique opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in practical cases. The event created a win-win situation where students and project partners could benefit incredibly.

After a highly successful launch in 2018, the Blockchain Challenge took place annually until 2023. The general reception was great, but we are always trying to find ways to innovate and improve. Hence, the concept will be slightly revised and the course offered in a 2 week block seminar, taking place before the start of the fall semester 2024.

Blockchain Challenge


The Blockchain Challenge was an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience during their studies and work on a larger project with a company.

The student teams designed a solution based on a practice-oriented problem description. Accompanied by coaches and experts, they went through the most important steps in creating a concept, including prototypes. This strengthened their teamwork, organizational, and presentation skills and promoted time management and problem-solving competence. Furthermore, the Challenge offered a unique opportunity to network with renowned companies and experts as well as students interested in the topic.


  • Development of a blockchain concept for a specific problem
  • Creation of a visual mock-up and a technical prototype
  • Writing a concept paper
  • Presentation of your progress at interim presentations
  • Final presentation at the gala event in front of a larger audience


  • Practical application of the knowledge acquired in university lectures
  • Practical experience with real-world problem descriptions of the project partners
  • Valuable contacts in the corporate world
  • Prize money and 6 ECTS


  • Students of all disciplines were welcome
  • Short application via a form
  • Various skills were required, such as: Project management, presentation, design, marketing
  • Motivation and interest in the topic
Stages of blockchain challenge: Application, Selection and Team Formation, Kick-off Event, Interim Presentations, Paper Submission and Gala-Eventstairs




Project Partners


The Blockchain Challenge was a unique opportunity for companies to get in contact with students directly. The main task of the project partners was to present a blockchain problem description, which the students then elaborated on. Project partners benefitted directly from the students' knowledge and received a finished blockchain concept paper for their case at the end of the semester. The Blockchain Challenge also offered the partners the opportunity to present themselves as an attractive employer at the university and to establish contact with interesting personalities in the blockchain area. Their support for the Challenge was publicly communicated and advertised at the big gala event.


  • Provision of a problem description related to blockchain technology, which was then elaborated on by the students
  • Case Presentation at the Kick-off Event
  • Sponsorship of the event with a one-time payment. This money was used for the organization of the event.


  • Direct benefit from the know-how and knowledge of the students
  • A blockchain concept paper for your question
  • Contact with interested students and an opportunity to present yourself as an attractive employer
  • Invitation to the gala event with large networking apero
  • Public communication of the sponsorship
Project Partner Illustrations: Kick-Off Event, Interim Presentations, Gala-Event

Past Events



The Blockchain Challenge is a prime example of promoting young talent and innovation within a close partnership between university and industry. We are proud to be part of this project and impressed by the quality of what was achieved.

Matthias Röser, Partner at BearingPoint, Project Partner 2019

We at EY were honored to act as a projectpartner. Big thanks to Prof. Dr. Fabian Schär.

EY, Project Partner 2018

It was a pleasure to develop and validate product innovation on the Blockchain with you guys... This journey has hopefully just begun...

SBB, Project Partner 2018

What a great event through the past three months! Congrats to the winning team. Thanks for hosting the Blockchain Challenge at Center for Innovative Finance

Markant, Project Partner 2018

Network Partners

Arbeitgeberverband beider Basel
Vereinigung Basler Ökonomen
WWZ forum
Kanton Basel-Stadt

Project Partners

burckhardt law
Ernst & Young
Luzerner Kantonalbank
Bearing Point
Bank Cler
Blackhawk Network
Credit Suisse
Verein Vorsorge Schweiz