Crypto risk and intel platform Merkle Science wins FT x Cardano Blockchain Challenge


Crypto risk and intel platform Merkle Science wins FT x Cardano Blockchain Challenge

Seedstars Global

JUNE 27, 2022

June 22, 2022 - Crypto risk and intelligence platform Merkle Science emerges as the global winner of the FT x Cardano Blockchain Challenge. The 3-day finale brought together 52 blockchain startups in an online boot camp where only 5 were selected to continue on to the pitching competition. Merkle Science was proclaimed the winner and will be short-tracked to the Seedstars International Investor Fund. To rewatch the finale, visit the page here:



Through Cardano, the FT x Cardano Blockchain Challenge is using its flexible, sustainable, and scalable blockchain platform to open opportunities for startups to build and iterate their ventures. With the blockchain’s ability to run smart contracts, entrepreneurs can develop a wide range of decentralized apps and find more ways to build blockchain-specific solutions.

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Since 2013, Seedstars has been running the Seedstars World Competition, which has grown to be the largest startup competition in emerging markets. Due to the pandemic, the competition was shifted entirely online, with the group holding online editions with media partners such as TNW and Financial Times. This year, as the importance of Web3 continues to emerge, the FT x Cardano Blockchain Challenge was organized to support promising blockchain startups.

“Every year we hold our competition and every year I continue to be amazed at all the promising startups we come across. We believe Web3 is the future and that this year’s global winner Merkle Science is helping keep the blockchain community safe and secure,” shares Pierre-Alain Masson, Seedstars Co-CEO.

In association with Project Catalyst, Seedstars, and FT Talent by Financial Times, The FT x Cardano Blockchain Challenge brought in more than 200 startups from over 54 countries across the globe to apply to the challenge, pitching their solutions involving: financial services, health, ecosystem/community building, education, agriculture, and many more.

Virginia Stagni, Head of Business Development of Financial Times comments, ”It was an amazing opportunity for FT to co-organize this event and to be championing so many brilliant startups from around the world. This second collaboration with Seedstars really helped us further the mission of FT Talent to empower bright minds from all around the world and helped us focus this mission on emerging markets, which has been really valuable to us.”

The FT x Cardano Blockchain Challenge held a 3-day bootcamp featuring workshops, mentoring sessions, networking, and investor introductions with 52 participating startups that were then narrowed down into 5 startups for the pitching competition. There were also 24 startups selected to participate in a 3-month accelerator program with Seedstars beginning in August.

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The finalists and Seedstars team apploauding the announcement of Merkle Science’s win

The top 5 companies that made it to the last round were:

  • MEDSAF (Nigeria) - Connects high-quality pharmaceutical manufacturers with the African medical industry. The company provides easy access to affordable medications through its technology platform.
  • Merkle Science (Singapore) - Provides next-generation blockchain transaction monitoring and intelligence for digital asset service providers, financial institutions, and law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate, and prevent the illicit use of cryptocurrencies.
  • Hashstack (India)- Helps borrowers secure under-collateralized loans for personal needs, & trading capital.
  • Fresh Afrika (France) - Offers baskets of tropical fruits and vegetables fairly sourced from small farms in Sub-Saharan Africa practicing sustainable agriculture.
  • Snapbrillia (USA) - Provides an inclusive hiring system that creates fair opportunities and empowers your teams to hire the best people faster regardless of who they are.

Before the global winner was announced, experts in the blockchain industry held a panel discussion on the power of blockchain in emerging markets. The speakers were Dr. Mihaela Ulieru, IOHK Strategic Impact Officer; Michael Yagi, Ikigai Technologies CEO, Scott Chipolina, Financial Times Digital Assets Correspondent; and Pierre-Alain Masson, Seedstars Co-CEO.

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Panel discussion on the power of blockchain in emerging markets led by Scott Chipolina (Financial Times), Pierre Alain Masson (Seedstars), Michael Yagi (Ikigai Technologies), and Dr. Mihaela Ulieru (IOHK)

Helping determine the FT x Cardano Blockchain global winner were: Seedstars CIO Charlie Graham-Brown; Blockchain Founders Fund Principal Tobias Bauer; IOHK Chief Product Officer Dynal Patel; and, Launchpool Labs Managing Director Roxana Nasoi.

Taking home the victory was the Merkle Science team who are building the technology that will set the standard for the next generation of financial safeguards and criminal detection.

“I am delighted that Merkle Science has been named the winner of the FT x Cardano Blockchain Challenge. At Merkle Science we know that Web 3, and its underlying blockchain technology, is unlocking new and greater possibilities for our world and for consumers of financial products and services around the globe. And we need only look to our fellow competitors and finalists for evidence of that”. "We look forward to bringing next-generation crypto threat detection, risk mitigation, investigations, and compliance to more crypto businesses, financial institutions, and government agencies in partnership with Speedster’s International Ventures Fund”, Mriganka Pattnaik, CEO, Merkle Science

To rewatch the finale, visit the page here:



"They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds." - Mexican proverb

Seedstars is a Swiss-based private company with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. The group’s activities cover over 90 emerging ecosystems through a variety of initiatives such as the FTxSDG Challenge, previously known as the Seedstars World Competition, which is the largest entrepreneurship competition in emerging markets; Seedstars Programs that are designed to support entrepreneurs in varying stages of growth via training, education, mentoring, and access to resources; and Seedstars International, a global venture capital fund for seed-stage startups. For more information, visit


Cardano is a proof-of-stake blockchain platform: the first to be founded on peer-reviewed research and developed through evidence-based methods. It combines pioneering technologies to provide unparalleled security and sustainability to decentralized applications, systems, and societies. With a leading team of engineers, Cardano exists to redistribute power from unaccountable structures to the margins – to individuals – and be an enabling force for positive change and progress. For more information, visit


Project Catalyst is a series of experiments that seeks to generate the highest levels of community innovation. Catalyst is bringing on-chain governance to the Cardano blockchain by allowing the community to self-determine priorities for growth. It also lets participants deploy funding to proposals that tackle challenges and capitalize on opportunities that arise in the life cycle of Cardano. For more information, visit


The FT Talent Challenge is a series of international events. FT Talent selects the most innovative and diverse individuals from thousands of international applicants for a multiple-day challenge experience, giving them a chance to understand and challenge the existing ecosystem and benefit from FT and partner expert insights alongside invited guests. The challenge helps foster new creative thinking, develop potential solutions to strategic business issues and stimulate disruption within the business ecosystem.


The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organizations, recognized internationally for its authority, integrity, and accuracy. The FT has a record-paying readership of more than one million, three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news, and services for the global business community.



Daria Khlopova

Program Manager

[email protected]


Michaela Villaroman
Media Relations

[email protected].

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