This post is from my time at the Consensus 2016 Hackathon a few months ago.
The consensus from the 2016 Hackathon was that smart contracts and decentralized applications will drive blockchain innovation and businesses into the future.
This year’s hackathon was held in the heart of Times Square at Microsoft’s Technology Center. I would say the event had about 4x as many devs compared to the hackathon last September. Out of the 25 different teams that presented on Sunday, about 15-20 were built on Ethereum; a huge increase from the 3 of 15 teams at last year’s hackathon. A few of the applications including the winning one, Decentralized Energy Utility, were built using Hyperledger on IBM’s Cloud and Tierion was used by several teams as well to embed data at scale into the blockchain.
Though the majority of the focus from a development standpoint was not focused on the Bitcoin blockchain, there were exciting announcements by 21 around the Machine-Payable web and Bitcoin as the 3rd layer to the Internet. They have now open sourced the 21 libraries which effectively could make any computer a Bitcoin computer. This could spur a whole new set of financial innovation webs with different P2P escrow and lending models, micropayments and connected blockchain technology stacks.
Another huge launch was the Bitcoin Market Open Bazaar. This is a next generation open market built on Bitcoin. This is the first of many of these types of markets and platforms or even business models that will be completely recreated using blockchain technology. In order to support these types of new business there needs to be a scalable backend .
One of the biggest takeaways from the hackathon was that Cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and AWS are partnering with various Smart Contract and blockchain companies to build consortiums and spark blockchain innovation. This could be by listing the app on the platform, running POCs or sponsoring / hosting hackathons.
These huge cloud companies have started a chains race to attract the best developers and the newest most innovation companies in an effort to “make blockchain real”. By leveraging the cloud infrastructure of these different platforms, blockchain applications can be rapidly deployed and scale. With this notion in mind, I knew going into the Hackathon the I wanted to build using the Azure platform.
We built MicroSaas using Blockapps, the best-in-class blockchain application platform that enables developers to quickly build and scale applications on Microsoft Azure.
So what is MicroSaas?
MicroSaas is a enterprise software platform and marketplace to aggregate micro-consumable APIs across multiple cloud software vendors and service providers. Through Ethereum Smart Contracts, we enable vendors to be paid on a per transaction basis in real time as API calls are made by users. As the calls are made by the user, ether is deducted from the smart contract and paid to the vendor. If the user wants to switch vendors or do some other business function, they can buy a different contract from the market.
This new model frees users from the Per-User-Per-Month SaaS model, provides a verifiable proof of vendor service level, and it enables early stage startups in developing markets to access these critical SaaS functions. The platform also allows users to switch vendors on the fly depending on the use case, performance demands, or cost.
MicroSaaS is the name of new age of enterprise computing; it enables Business-to-Business micropayments on a global decentralized network facilitating value transfer and state transition for SMBs. Businesses around the globe will grow on the MicroSaaS platform. The traditional model for enterprise SaaS software will continue to thrive at the commercial and enterprise level but MicroSaas enables new markets and businesses where a per user per month model is not feasible to grow the business.
MicroSaas was the winner of the Microsoft’s hackathon award; 3 years of full access to software, services, support and $750 a month of credits to build on the Azure platform via the Micosoft Bizspark program.
This is the beginning of entire new business platform built on the world’s first decentralized virtual machine. We use Smart Contracts in Solidity to store the variable state and functions of traditional objects or entities in cloud business platforms such as Account’s, Opportunities, etc. This completely new transaction and payment model also enables other software vendors to build their businesses with Ethereum smart contracts creating an entirely new range of decentralized software applications.
It enables new forms of data verification and automation using cryptographic hash functions at each stage of the revenue driving business process.
Companies can now operate under the assumption that both parties have cryptographic representation of every deterministic property of a process. The price of the API, the outcomes of the transaction, are completely based on met or unmet inputs that are cryptographically locked into smart contracts and active on the Ethereum blockchain. The amount of ether it is going to cost to deploy the contract plus the charge for using the SaaS application can be set in the properties and shared as fact in the state of the abstract virtual computer.
This is a revolutionary concept. Shared state, distributed consensus, validity; all properties derived from Bitcoin now applied to the enterprise software world.
Individual software vendors, system integrators, and partners will leverage this technology with their customers creating an immutable history of every transaction made between the service providers.