This was one piece of news I wasn’t quite expecting. According to Peter Diamandis, the Chairman of the X-prize foundation, the incentive prize was cancelled because innovation outpaced the prize.
He says in his column explaining the move:
At XPRIZE, failure is not a bad thing; it is part of the process. We expect most of our competing teams to fail as they attempt to achieve audacious goals. And sometimes, if we are doing our job right, an XPRIZE will fail as well. When we launch an XPRIZE, we do so with the understanding that it may not achieve its objectives – either because we made the finish line too difficult, or sometimes because we did not make it hard enough.
He goes on to say that:
What we realized is that genome sequencing technology is plummeting in cost and increasing in speed independent of our competition. Today, companies can do this for less than $5,000 per genome, in a few days or less – and are moving quickly towards the goals we set for the prize. For this reason, we have decided to cancel an XPRIZE for the first time ever.