Last weekend, a hackathon was conducted in Tokyo at Hash Hub, which is also the co-working space of Tokyo University. The competition was held between 11 teams having 3 to 4 participants each. In order to claim the winning prize that was 1 BCH, the competing teams had to come up with an innovative mobile App prototype fully designed and implemented. There were second and third places prizes too. The event went on for two days and was organized and sponsored by Crypto Age, Yenom and Bitcoin.com.
People from all over Japan came to participate in the hackathon. They belong to places as far as Osaka in southern japan as well as from Iwate in the North. All the participants were highly motivated, as they resorted to staying in the HashHub for the whole time. They had provided two couches and a bed where the participants could rest. However, most of them just passed out on their work desks. The hackathon also enabled a lot of individuals to learn a new thing or two about Bitcoin apps and their development. Akifumi Fujita, a reporter told,
It was great because the goal for us organizing this hackathon was to give a chance to as many people in Japan to gather and develop apps for Bitcoin and I’m happy to say we did it, many people said the event allowed them to learn new stuff on Bitcoin apps, and that they are even more excited to keep working on new ideas.
The participants were mostly IT students in their 20s, however there were some older individuals in the mix too. Some of them were professional developers, whereas a few were hobbyist Bitcoin app developers. They were only two foreigners among the 32 Japanese competitors and only two females.
The mobile app that succeeded in claiming the first prize is called “Clock wallet”. The idea was that the user of the wallet can set up transactions that would transfer their funds if they fail to login to their accounts for a certain amount of time. Shiho Takeuchi who was a part of the winning team told,
It works like this, every month, you log-in and confirm that you’re still alive, and if you die or if you’re inactive for a certain period of time, your funds can be transferred to someone you have preselected beforehand. You set the trigger period, it can be anytime, like 6 months or 10 years, you can just choose,” Shiho Takeuchi explained, “you see, if I die and cannot access my wallet, then after the time is expired, the funds can be transferred with the app we have come up with.
The dead man’s switch carries an extremely important utility. In case someone dies and they possess a certain amount of bitcoin, it could easily be transferred to another account without any additionally required in a conventional banking system. Takeuchi also told,
With traditional banks when someone dies, it’s extremely complicated for the remaining family to easily access the dead persons’ assets.
The judging team comprised of a number of representatives from the sponsoring companies. Gerald Fabrot and Paul Bergamo, (jointly representing one seat) from Bitcoin.com’s business and web development teams, Mr. Jo Miyamoto from Campfire, and Mr. Shigeyuki Azuchi, co-author of a Japanese book on Blockchain programming. The applications were going to be assessed on the kind of utility they would have and whether or not the judges would personally ever consider using it. Fabrot emphasized that the winning team had catered to a real world use case saying,
If a user stops accessing his phone for ‘x’ amount of months or years, the app aims at releasing the funds to a specific person. Team D’s idea is not entirely new, yet it has never been implemented, and people will increasingly need to deal with the inevitable issues of death/impairment and transmission of assets.
He added on,
We need more projects implementing functionalities that solve real-world use cases. I would use it. The use of time-lock is simple but elegant, and while time-lock transactions need to be re-created several times a year, the predictably low transaction fees of BCH makes it possible to implement for, perhaps, 10 JPY (0.09$) a year.
The winning team won 1 BCH, whereas the second and third team earned 0.5 and 0.25 BCH respectively. With such incentives being provided to students and developers with such events, it spreads a positive wave. Competitions like these should be hosted for the sole reason of innovation and promotion of blockchain technology into the mainstream, as the ‘future’ of technology shouldn’t be confined to a set of individuals as it is to date.