Business leaders explore new digital economic systems that incentivize decarbonization and plastic waste reduction, the role of blockchain, AI and other emerging technologies in enabling the shift

Sanjay Poonen (VMware), Yuval Rooz (Digital Asset), Kavita Gupta (Katapult. AI), Rod Beckstrom (formerly ICANN; BECKSTROM), Rutger van Zuidam (Odyssey) discuss Outcompeting Destructive Systems on January 23 in Davos

DAVOS, Switzerland and GRONINGEN, the Netherlands, — Odyssey, the Netherlands-based open innovation program committed to solving complex 21st-century challenges through mass collaboration, will lead the conversation on outcompeting the destructive economic systems at Blockchain Central Davos. The conversation will be hosted by the Global Blockchain Business Council, in Blockchain Central, the premier venue for all things blockchain in Davos.

“We live in a world where it still pays financially to be part of a destructive system, so we need to outcompete this model. How do we do it? In Davos, we will be exploring the creation of a new system which would be better for people and nature, and at the same time actually generate more economic value for everyone,” commented Rutger van Zuidam, Founder and CEO of Odyssey.

The conversation will focus on new alternatives to current economic paradigms which prevent society from solving the challenges it currently faces, such as climate change and lack of economic inclusion. Attention will be paid to how technology such as blockchain and Artificial Intelligence can facilitate moving towards better economic conditions for future generations and environmental sustainability.

The panelists:

  • Sanjay Poonen, Chief Operating Officer, Customer Operations, VMware
  • Yuval Rooz, Co-Founder & CEO, Digital Asset
  • Kavita Gupta, Lecturer, Stanford University; Managing Partner, Katapult. AI
  • Rod Beckstrom, Former President & CEO, ICANN; Founder & CEO, BECKSTROM
  • Rutger van Zuidam, Founder & CEO,

Sanjay Poonen, COO VMware: “We aim to leave ahead a better future – to put back more than we take into the environment, society, and our global economy. It is important that we engineer new systems that provide better economic outcomes and are better for people and the planet. The Odyssey 2020 Track ‘Outcompeting Destructive Systems,’ that VMware is participating in with Digital Asset and DAML, will explore this challenge.”

“The conversation at Davos this week has centered around the need for open, collaborative ecosystems to truly affect change. Odyssey recognizes this, that to outcompete destructive systems we need the right incentives applied to the right technology. Smart contracts enable these collaborative processes to connect stakeholders across industries in ways which weren’t possible before. DAML and VMware Blockchain allow for the type of open collaboration needed to allow anyone to innovate for all of our benefit,” said Yuval Rooz, Co-Founder & CEO, Digital Asset.

“The GBBC welcomes Odyssey as a new member. We are proud to support Odyssey’s mission, focusing on disruptive systems and decentralized solutions for a better, more equitable society,” said Sandra Ro, CEO GBBC.

Rutger van Zuidam: “Driving sustainable growth in the 21st century will require the replacement of systems that have already contributed to so many contemporary civic and environmental concerns. Many different stakeholders will need to collaborate to enable the shift to a more profitable, transparent and inclusive society. Such a grassroots, cross-industry collaboration is at the very heart of the Odyssey Program and Hackathon.”

The VMware and DAML track of Odyssey Hackathon 2020 challenges teams to build new solutions for turning around two complex modern-day issues: plastic pollution and carbon emissions. Team applications for the hackathon are now open.

Applicants from all over the world are vying for the 105 available spots in the Odyssey Hackathon 2020. Selected ones will co-create new solutions to 21 complex global challenges together with corporate, governmental, and non-profit challenge lead partners and their stakeholders on April 3-5 in Groningen, the Netherlands.

About Odyssey (

Odyssey Open Innovation Program connects governments, corporations, and non-profits with innovative entrepreneurs from around the world to jointly tackle 21st-century challenges. Each season is a 10-month journey during which the challenges are identified, prototype solutions are built, and pilots are implemented. Since the initiation of the program, more than 230 prototypes have emerged from the program addressing the challenges of over 40 partners.

Odyssey Hackathon 2020 brings together 2,000 participants who will collaborate on new solutions for the 21 identified challenges. 105 selected teams will build prototypes together with the challenge leads, their stakeholders, and end-users. Besides being supported in scaling their solution, the best-performing teams will also get €200,000 in total cash rewards.

The 21 challenges of Odyssey 2020 were contributed by, among others: Vattenfall, VMware, City of The Hague, KLM Cargo, the Dutch National Police, Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Dutch Ministry of Defence, Grid Singularity, Engie, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the International Council for Environmental Law. All Odyssey 2020 challenges are tied directly to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About Global Blockchain Business Council (

The Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) is the leading industry association for the blockchain technology ecosystem. Conceived on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, the GBBC is a Swiss-based non-profit launched in 2017 in Davos, Switzerland. The organization brings together innovators and thought-leaders from over 50 countries to further adoption of blockchain technology by engaging and educating regulators, business leaders, and lawmakers on how to harness this groundbreaking technology to create more secure, equitable, and functional societies.

Note for the editors – not for publication

Panel date and time:
Thursday, January 23 (17:00-18:00)

GBBC Blockchain Central Lounge
(Level 2 Hotel Europe, Promenade 63 in Davos, Switzerland) 

SOURCE Odyssey; Dutch Blockchain Hackathon B.V.

CONTACT: Members of the media are welcome to contact Odyssey to attend: Mariia Stolyga, PR/Marketing Lead Odyssey, [email protected], +31611186495, @Mariia_Odyssey (Telegram)

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