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ETHDenver 2021 Judging Guidelines



ETHDenver 2021 is one of the largest BUIDLathons in the world with over $250,000 in bounties, prizes and investments. Hundreds of teams will be competing for 20 open track finalist spots! On top of that there will be over 100 other prizes including ColoradoJam challenges, Impact challenges, sponsor bounties, and more. We designed the judging process to be as fair and efficient as possible, given the enormous variety of BUIDLer skill sets, Judge backgrounds, and project types we’ll see. If you’re a team looking to win, you’ll need to follow the next few sections carefully to ensure your project is on point. We’ll of course remind you during the event of the details and have lots of mentors and stewards available for questions. We hope having this handy guide will ensure a smooth, fun, and exciting experience. 


BUIDLing Your Team

If you don’t have a team yet, don’t stress! There are several ways you can connect with other BUIDLers right now. Join our Discord and start chatting with others looking for projects in the #find-a-team channel, hop in our Telegram group, or meet people at one of the three Team Formation Icebreaker Sessions in the Virtual Castle Welcome Zone (first room upon entry):

  • Thursday, February 4th 10:00am MST (1 hr)

  • Thursday, February 4th 8:00pm MST (1 hr)

  • Friday, February 5th 7:00pm MST (1 hr)


If you haven’t found a team by the time ETHDenver begins at 9:00am on Feb 5th, you can continue to post in the “find-a-team” channel on Discord and be sure to join our final "icebreaker" session at 7:00pm (MST). We highly suggest not missing the two Icebreaker sessions being held on February 4th, the day prior to ETHDenver, at 10am and 8pm MST. 


Roughly half the people who participate are solo BUIDLers looking to partner up, so don’t be shy. Also think of a few ideas for projects to bring along. You’ll have the opportunity to share as well as hear other people’s ideas. 


Team Guidelines

  1. You need at least two people to form a team. ETHDenver is not a solo sport; collaboration is key. The max for any one team is four people. Any mix works, but a sample team might have: back end coder, front end coder, UI/UX designer and business/project manager.

  2. We believe in a level playing field. As such, pre-existing projects are not allowed if you wish to be considered for prizes. You may, however, build a new feature for an existing project that is unique and standalone. Judges will make the final decision on whether a project will qualify for prize consideration.

  3. Unlike previous years, ETHDenver 2021 is a virtual event. Anyone from anywhere in the world is able to join the festivities and help shape the future of decentralized technology.


Judging Process: Same, Same... But Different

Our goal is to keep and embrace the “science fair” feel of the BUILDathon even though we can’t meet face-to-face this time around.


What will remain the same:

  • Judging duration will run for 3 hours (between 10am-1pm on Friday, February 12th).

  • Judges will be batched into small groups (of four), which will allow each group to see multiple teams.


What changes have been made:

  • Judges will visit teams using Veertly, where each team will have a virtual booth set up to pitch their project. Open track judges will receive one “floor” of projects to evaluate.

  • Quadratic funding for the second round of judging will allow some judges to give real prize money to the finalist of their choice. There’s a chance every finalist can receive a reward, not just the top five.

[NEW!] Quadratic Funding for Finalists

A first for ETHDenver, the Open Track prizes will be distributed by a quadratic funding system. Judges will allocate $DAI to their favorite projects with a pool of matching funds being contributed by ETHDenver. For the top 20 teams (those receiving the most voting signal from the initial round of judging), will present on the mainstage livestream in front of a panel of 5 celebrity judges to compete for the Judge’s Choice Awards. Volunteer judges will also participate in the quadratic funding. A total of $15,000 will be allocated to the Open Track competitors. 


This year, each team who submits a project for the ETHDenver BUILDathon will automatically be entered into one main competition track: the Open Track (historically you had to decide if you wanted to compete in the Open or Impact Tracks). Every team will compete for the chance to make it as one of the top 20 finalists, where teams will present on the mainstage livestream to a group of celebrity judges and to the world.



In addition to competing in the Open Track, all BUIDLer teams will also be able to simultaneously submit their projects to three additional areas for opportunities to secure bounties for sponsoring projects. (Note that these bounties are judged by the projects issuing the bounty, not by ETHDenver Open Track judges):


  • ColoradoJam - If your project addresses an issue laid out by the State of Colorado your team is eligible to compete for bounties listed in the ColoradoJam bounties roster. Judging will be completed by state representatives with expertise in the specific bounty to which you submitted. Bounties range from $250-$1500 and total approximately $25,000 in bounty opportunities. Teams who win ColoradoJam bounties are also qualified to accept Convertible Seed Grants to continue their work through the ColoradoJam incubator program detailed below. [READ ColoradoJam Bounties Here]


  • Impact Bounties - If your project addresses a specific UN Sustainability Goal (SDG) your team is eligible for Impact Bounties in addition to being qualified to compete in the Open Track. When submitting for an Impact Bounty, you must specifically call out the SDG you are addressing and how your project lends value to the SDG. Impact Judges are specifically qualified to evaluate projects submitted for Impact bounties.  $3000 will be awarded to the top 5 scoring projects in the Impact category with a total of $15,000 in total bounties being allocated. 


  • Sponsor Bounties - Similar to the Impact and ColoradoJam categories, sponsor bounties are judged by the issuing project, not by the Open Track judges. Each ETHDenver sponsor has a different set of bounties with varying rewards, and each BUILDathon team can submit their project to up to ten sponsor bounties. Sponsors will issue rewards based on closely a project meets the bounty criteria. Sponsors will announce bounty winners during the Closing Ceremony on Friday, February 12th. There are over $160,000 in project bounties available for which #BUIDLers to compete. See a full list of the sponsor bounties and associated prizes here.


Convertible Seed Grants

As part of the evolution of ETHDenver from a private organization to a tokenized, community owned cooperative & event DAO, we are thrilled to announce the launch of the ColoradoJam Incubator and Bufficorn Ventures, a pre-seed/seed investment organization. As a result, these organizations will be making convertible seed grants to qualifying teams to continue their work. Convertible seed grants are instruments that act as grants, without investment terms, yet convert to the terms of future capital formation efforts at a TGE, angel or venture round with a pro-rata share allocated to the ETHDenver grant amount.  Up to $70,000 is available to be awarded to Open Track Finalists, ColoradoJam Bounties and Impact Bounties winners who demonstrate the most promise to advancing the ColoradoJam initiative and the decentralized future in general.

Judging Criteria

All projects will belong to the Open track. In addition to this core track, projects can also submit to any of the bounties. Similar to last year, we are strongly promoting diversity and impact projects, but that doesn’t mean you can’t snag a sweet prize with some sick engineering or user experience. We designed the following criteria to reward strong projects without favoring any specific type (e.g., dApps vs developer tools). 


All projects in the Open Track will be judged by the following criteria:


Judging Categories for the Open Track

Best for CryptoHow much does this project improve the Crypto ecosystem? (e.g., giving developers better tools, driving adoption, improving architecture, etc.)

Best User ExperienceHow easy is it for experts and amateurs alike to use this product/service?

Best EngineeringHow impressive is the technical implementation? How well is it engineered?

Highest "WOW" FactorDid this project get you excited? Are you impressed?

Most InnovativeHow original, creative, novel, and useful is this project?


The Impact bounties will be evaluated by volunteer judges. Judging groups can use the criteria listed above as a guide, but they can also refer to the following additional categories:


Judging Categories for Impact Bounties

Most ImpactfulHow much of a difference does this project make in terms of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals?

Most SustainableIs it a practical solution? How easy is it to keep this initiative going? Is this a one-and-done or can it keep giving?

Best Use of Crypto/Blockchain TechDoes crypto/blockchain tech add significant value to this solution over centralized alternatives?

Judging Schedule on Friday, February 12th

9:00amAll teams must submit their projects through Devfolio (link to apply is available HERE). When submitting, there will be an option to select any other bounties (Impact, ColoradoJam, or Sponsor bounties) teams would like to solve. If you have questions, ask no later than 8:00am so that we have time to help you submit your project!

9:30amJudges briefing and team assignments.

10:00am All teams must be set up at their assigned Veertly room.

10:00am - 1:00pmJudging Round 1: Open track judges will evaluate all of their assigned team, selecting their top two projects. The projects that receive the most signal from this initial round of voting will move onto the final round.

Community members and BUIDLers can also visit project submissions as part of our virtual science fair. Impact, ColoradoJam, and Bounty Judges will also evaluate projects during this time.

1:00pm - 1:30pmBuffer! If any team hasn’t been seen by any judging group, they must notify us at 1:00pm and we’ll deploy emergency judges.

1:30pm - 2:00pm Projects will be notified if they are a Top 20 project and instructed to prepare their presentation for the mainstage livestream.

3:00pm - 5:00pmJudging Round 2: The Top 20 projects will present on the mainstage livestream to be judged by a panel of 5 Celebrity Judges and other volunteer judges. Presentations will all be recorded.

5:00pm - 5:30pmCelebrity Judges and other volunteer judges will allocate xDAI to their favorite projects with a pool of matching $DAI funds being contributed by ETHDenver. All finalists will be competing. A Selection of Winning ColoradoJam projects will present their solutions on the livestream.

5:30pm - 6:00pmThe full list of Open, Impact, ColoradoJam and Sponsor bounty awards will be announced during the Closing Ceremony.

6:00pm - 8:00pmClosing Party and Virtual Concert in the Virtual Castle + Mainstage Livestream


Submitting Your Project

All hackers will form teams and submit their projects through Devfolio, while judging and project presentations will be streamed through Veertly. Once BUILDathon participants apply to ETHDenver on Devfolio and create or join a team, you will be assigned a Veertly room number. 


Details on how to sign up, create a project, and submit a project for judgings are as follows:


  1. Assemble your team via Devfolio (REQUIRED) - This is important to complete as soon as possible. This is how we’ll know you’re participating on a team and how we’ll know you need a team room created in Veertly. Devfolio is also how you’ll submit your team’s final project.

    1. Every BUIDLer must register for ETHDenver on the ETHDenver & ColoradoJam 2021 Devfolio Landing Page. You will only be asked a limited amount of information, much less than in the general application. 

    2. Once signed up, participants can create and name their team within the Devfolio Hackathon Dashboard.

    3. Each team has a special Team Code (think of it as a private key!) that can be sent to other hackers so that they can join a team.

    4. Your team’s room will be created within 24 hours of creating your team in Veertly. The Veertly platform will be open starting at 2:00pm (MT) Thursday, Feb 4th through the end of the event.


  1. Create your team project: The features to create a team project will become available once the BUILDathon begins at 9:00am on Friday, February 5th. Within the Hackathon Dashboard, participants can begin entering project details to the site by selecting Add Project (It’s possible only the team’s creator or admin will have this privilege). Teams should add details like:

    1. Project name

    2. Problem being solved

    3. Challenges encountered along the way

    4. Technologies used (important for bounties!!!)

    5. Any relevant public links to source code, visuals, or presentations

    6. Video demo (all teams must submit a 3-5 minute video demo of their project)

    7. Pictures (if applicable)

    8. Applicable tracks - All teams a part of the Open track, but they can also select to enter the Impact, Colorado Jam, or Sponsor bounties


Note: Submitting and saving these details will automatically create a project page that showcases it up to that point. Teams can edit their project page as many times as they’d like before the BUILDathon ends (hard deadline at 9:00am on Friday, February 12th).


Submit your project for Judging: Teams can submit their projects for judging using the “Submit Project for Judging” button at any point before the BUILDathon ends. Once a team submits their project for judging, they will no longer be able to edit its contents. Hackers should only hit the final submit button when their project is complete, but make sure to do so before 9:00am (Mountain Time) on Friday, February 12th. This time will be a hard deadline to maintain an even playing field. If you have any questions on how to submit, please ask no later than 8:00am so that we have time to help you!


How Teams Win

Judging will be broken up into two rounds. In the first round, Open track judges will review their assigned projects and vote for 2 projects to advance to the final round. Although each judging group will consist of 4 judges, each judge can vote independently. The top 20 teams that receive the most signal from the initial round of judging will become finalists and present on the mainstage livestream in front of a panel of 5 celebrity judges to compete for the Judge’s Choice Awards. During the first round of judging, all ETHDenver community members can also visit team submissions and learn about the project, although they will not be part of the judging process.


Impact Bounty judges will also evaluate team submissions while Open track judges make their rounds. Projects that qualify for the Impact Bounty must specifically call out the SDG they are addressing and how the project lends value to the SDG when submitting the project for judging. Impact judges will collectively select the top 5 scoring projects in this category. Each winning team will receive an equal share of the total reward.


Bounty sponsors will have their own Bounty Judges reviewing projects that have completed their bounties and will circulate independently of Open and Impact judging groups. The same applies to Advance Colorado Track Judges.


Projects that advance to the final round will present on the mainstage livestream in front of a panel of 5 celebrity judges to compete for the Judge’s Choice Awards. Judges will allocate $DAI to their favorite projects using the new quadratic voting system with a pool of matching funds being contributed by ETHDenver. A total of $15,000 will be allocated to the Open Track competitors.  


Please Review the Full Details Below:


First Round - Team Guidelines

  1. Projects must be submitted by 9:00am on Friday, February 12th

    1. Please note: You must submit your project through Devfolio before the deadline. We will have a hard stop at 9:00am to help maintain an even playing field. If you have any questions, please ask before 8:00am so that we can help you.

    2. Also note: You must select the different bounties you would like to compete in when creating or submitting your project. For the Impact Bounty, teams must specifically call out the SDG they are addressing and how the project lends value to the SDG. Team can also compete in up to 10 Sponsor Bounties.

  2. At least one team member must be present and set up at the team’s assigned Veertly room (accessible February 12th with room assignments posted at Other team members are welcome to visit other team submissions during the science fair.

  3. When the Open/Impact Judges arrive at your table, you have six minutes to greet them, present your project, and answer any questions. Judges will time the interaction to help you pace your presentation. No additional conversation regarding your project can take place once these six minutes are up. This hard stop is for the sake of fairness and timeliness, as there will be a lot of submissions to evaluate. For example: Greeting (1 min), Presentation (3 min), Questions (2 min).

  4. The top 20 Open projects will be notified between 1:00-1:30pm, and will be invited to present their project on the main stage starting at 2:00pm in the final round.


First Round - Community Voting and Judge Guidelines

  1. All Judges will be assigned to four-person judging groups by 9:30am based on: 

  • Their self-identification as “Business/Operations/Investing/Design” vs “Technologist/Engineer/Developer” (to keep the same proportions between each group) and

  • Preference for Open Track or Impact Bounty (Judges are not guaranteed to judge their preferred track, as it will depend on received submissions)

  1. At 9:30am on Friday, February 12th, Judges will be assigned their teams, and obtain their judging materials from the organizers.

  2. Starting at 10:00am Judges will see up to 15 teams, spending a maximum of six minutes per team. For example: Greeting (1 min), Presentation (3 min), Questions (2 min).


Final Round:

  1. The Top 20 teams will be notified of their presenting order and must be ready when they are one of the next three teams to present. Teams will again have six minutes to provide their full presentation.

  2. Celebrity Judges will be present for the final round and will each award their own Judge’s Choice award for their favorite project, which carries its own award and monetary prize.

Bounties - How to Win

During the first round of judging, Bounty Judges will circulate separately to projects that have fulfilled their Bounty. If you completed a Bounty, please do not vacate your Veertly room until you are seen by the Bounty Judges.


Bounty Guidelines

  1. If no one is present at your room when the Bounty Judges arrive, your submission will be forfeit from Bounty Judging. We cannot predict how long it will take for Bounty Judges to get to your room, as it depends on how many entries each Bounty receives, so please be patient and take turns keeping at least one person present.

  2. Bounty Judges will have a variable amount of time depending on how many submissions their Bounty received. If Judges of any Bounty have fewer than six minutes per round, there will be an announcement.


Bounty Judge Guidelines

  1. Bounty Judges will either utilize the Open/Impact judging criteria or deploy their own to judge their Bounty submissions. Bounty judging criteria are listed in each bounty.

  2. After receiving the list of submissions, including project locations, at least one dedicated Bounty Judge will be deployed to visit all submitting teams within the 3 hour judging block.

  3. Sponsors are responsible for ensuring all submitting teams are reviewed. Please notify us at if you need an emergency additional Judge to assist due to heavier than expected submission volume.

  4. When you are done, submit your bounty winner(s) to We’ll put them in a presentation and present the winners during the Closing Ceremonies.



The ETHDenver team has been incredibly impressed with the quality of projects we’ve seen before, and picking a “winner” quickly becomes a game of inches and preferences. This is why we opted to use a quadratic funding system to let Celebrity Judges (and others) send $DAI directly to their favorite projects. The allocation per team is at their discretion, which means every finalist has an opportunity to receive a piece of the Open Track prize pool.

We have also chosen to split the Impact Bounty equally among the Top 5 teams selected by Impact judges.

The ColoradoJam judges will review projects and select winners similar to bounties. Select top projects will present on stage during the closing Ceremony. 


Bounties will have a huge variety of prizes including swag, tokens, cash, and more, and will give you the opportunity to be announced on the main stage! 

Virtual Closing Party & Concert

Whether your team wins an award or not, we want to recognize every team’s efforts. At 6:00pm, immediately following the closing ceremony, we will host an after party and Virtual Concert! Stick around on the mainstream or join us in the Virtual Castle. Everyone is welcome, and we hope to see you there!


Our continued experimentation and evolving judging methodology is an integral part of making ETHDenver 2021 the best out there. We sought to set fair judging criteria, recruit a diverse set of talented Judges, and establish clear guidelines to get the very best projects discovered and rewarded. We’re confident you’ll have a great time and look forward to seeing your creativity and hard work in action!


If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to our Judging and Bounties Steward, Wilson Withiam, at And if you still haven’t applied to ETHDenver 2021, join us by APPLYING today. Applications are still being accepted based on availability.  

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