For founders pursuing commercial opportunities that benefit from exploiting a combination of blockchain and machine learning technologies.


The Blockchain-AI Program at CDL-Toronto is an incubator where founding teams build startups that leverage the coevolution taking place between new technologies for prediction (AI) and verification (blockchain).


The program brings together experienced entrepreneurs, angel investors and a community of visionaries in the fields of blockchain and AI. Blockchain-AI Program startups work with these mentors to sharpen objectives, prioritize time and resources, raise capital, and engage with experts working on the frontiers of research. Participants also receive US$100k equity investment from investment partners, office space in downtown Toronto, and intensive technical training from industry and academic leaders in AI, blockchain, and crypto-economics.


Startups must attend a one-month technical bootcamp in Toronto in August 2018 and five in-person objective-setting sessions in Toronto between October 2018 and June 2019. Learn more about the CDL program.


“When there is a drastic technological shift, there are often co-evolving technologies at their heart. Just as electricity and machine tools diffused together in the late 19th century, today, we are at the cusp of a similar coevolution between machine learning and blockchain.”

Joshua Gans

Chief Economist, Creative Destruction Lab & Professor, University of Toronto


Who Should Apply?

The CDL Blockchain-AI Program is suited to creative, intelligent, and ambitious individuals and teams with strong backgrounds in machine learning, mathematics, statistics, cryptography, or blockchain. Those with expertise in AI, but little/no blockchain knowledge will be provided training. The program’s focus is on early-stage companies (pre-seed) or even projects (pre-incorporation). Applications focused purely on crypto-currencies will not be considered for this program. All crypto programming and training is conducted in English and takes place in Toronto, Canada.


Example Innovation Areas

  • intelligent smart-contract applications
  • data marketplaces on the blockchain to enable predictions
  • blockchain for data privacy and selective disclosure


The list above is not exhaustive.


Contact to discuss the program and your venture with someone from the Blockchain-AI Stream.


Representative CDL Alumni

Our Mentors

CDL mentors include accomplished entrepreneurs, experienced operators, and active angel and venture investors. Mentors meet every eight weeks in Toronto to help founders set objectives over the program’s nine-month duration.

Anthony Lacavera
Boris Wertz
Ted Livingston
Richard D. Titus

Full list of CDL-Toronto Fellows and Associates  

Our Scientists

Teams accepted to the CDL Blockchain-AI Program benefit from extensive advising sessions and regular office hours with AI and cryptography researchers and with economists who are experts in market-design. These experts help to evaluate approaches to building technology, suggest improvements, and to explore formal advising engagements.

Joshua Gans
Christian Catalini

Program Features

The Blockchain-AI Program offers a robust set of resources for new founders to use to launch and scale a startup.

  • Crypto-Marketplace Workshop – Workshops will focus on crypto-economics and innovations in market design by world renowned economists.
  • Business Guidance and Investor Access – Five objective-setting meetings with CDL Fellows and Associates, a group of highly successful entrepreneurs and investors with expertise in scaling high-tech startups.
  • Pre-seed Capital – Pre-seed investment from Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms.
  • Platform Support – Product development support from leading blockchain platform providers.
  • Access to Scientists – Technology development advice from leading AI, cryptocurrency, and blockchain scientists.
  • Business Support – Business development support from top ranked MBAs at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
  • Co-working Space – Access to space for business, product, and community development.



The Blockchain-AI Program operates one annual cohort at CDL-Toronto. Participating founders are strongly encouraged to re-locate to Toronto, Canada in order to take advantage of the program features.   For more information or to schedule an introduction meeting with the CDL team, email  




By 2023, the CDL will have produced more well-capitalized, revenue-generating intelligent-contract-based crypto companies than the rest of the world combined. The majority of these companies will be based in Canada.

Common Questions

What are the technical skills and knowledge prerequisites for the program?

Technical participants with a qualification in machine learning, math, statistics, and cryptography are preferred. Strong background in computer science with an expertise in languages such as C++, Javascript, Python, and Solidity is an asset.

Do participants need to be in Toronto for the duration of the program?

Participants must be in Toronto for the Crypto-Marketplace bootcamp in August 2018, and for the group sessions with CDL mentors in October 2018, December 2018, February 2019, April 2019 and June 2019. You are strongly encouraged to live in Toronto for the rest of the program to best make use of CDL resources, to work through problems with the technical team, and to have rich interactions with the city’s bubbling AI and blockchain ecosystems.

How does the investment work?

Companies receive US$100k in equity financing from investment partners. The $100k cash investment is split into two tranches. The first $50k is distributed in September 2018, after companies have incorporated and presented their initial plan, and the second $50k after companies successfully pass the fourth session in April 2019. Companies that do not pass the fourth session will receive $50k.

I have a background in machine learning, statistics, or cryptography, and an idea to build a blockchain and AI product but don’t have a startup or team. Can you introduce me to others in the program?

Yes, we will accept individuals with strong domain knowledge and business ideas. Submit an application, and a CDL team member will contact you.

I’m not Canadian. Can I still apply?

Yes. Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa. Once you are accepted, we will work with applicants to ensure they will be able to enter and build businesses in Canada. International candidates are strongly encouraged to apply early.