Consensus 2018 Hackathon


The consensus from the 2018 hackathon was:

  • there are a number of emerging blockchain technology platforms
  • that are focused not on the protocol level but on creating additions to the base protocols
  • these are workbenches, platform tooling, application environments

There was a number of different hacks that were built over the weekend focusing on supply chain and food with GrowNYC. The stack used by most teams was Hyperleger and Chainpoint.

There was also the emergence of protocols such as Interbit and Nebulas.

Trading infrastructure and technology provided by Alpha Point, there were a few Ethereum dapps focused on ERC721 token standard but not as many as would have expected.

This is the fourth year I have attended this Hackathon. Two years ago it was in the same room at the Microsoft Center and I pitched MicroSaas, an application I built using BlockApps on Azure. Last Year at Deloitte the Hacakthon project I used the IBM Blockchain stack (Fabric and Composer). This year I worked on Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Composer and Chainpoint to build out the growNYC challenge. I embedded UUIDs from Chainpoint into Hyperledger Transactions and then surfaced these in Salesforce as an external object. This combined this security of the public bitcoin blockchain by providing an immutable proof and hash of the data that is mapped to a business network of known participants and assets. I linked specifically a UUID, Proof with a Hyperledger transaction and eventId.

Hyperledger Transaction JSON à


Hash →                      .submitHashes()

←- UUID                     /hashes

~ 15 Seconds

UUID →                      .getProofs()

← CAL Proof              /proofs

~ 90 Minutes

UUID →                      .getProofs()

← BTC                        Proof


Proof →                       .verifyProofs()

← Verify                      /verify

I believe that hashes of telematics can be embedded into the Bitcoin blockchain and in response a proof could be used to validate the transactional data at the time of creation. There is an interesting concept. However it will always be what is the trusted data source in that sense even though the Blockchain is immutable and in a sense secure by both the Bitcoin and Hyperledger hashes, the data in that is used in the hash will need to be trusted. This is the crux is that the data cannot be / is impossible to change later on. It is petrified, as is the hash of the data, as is the proof, and the link to a specific transaction Id.

I believe that there was not as much of a focus on Ethereum app development as there has been in past years. This could have also been because Ethereum developers were at the Ethereal Summit over the weekend. It seems as if the hackathon has moved away from the decentralization movement of using technology combinations of Ethereum and IPFS. It could also be that there were prize and incentives more aligned with supplychain and permissioned blockchain network.

In seeing this evolve over the past few years I have some thoughts.

The first year everyone, was building on Bitcoin there was maybe 15 teams an two of the teams built on Ethereum back then. The year after the majority of the projects focused on Ethereum development, last year there was a good balance of Ethereum and Hyperledger and this year it was mostly Hyperledger.

I think reasoning about the blockchain use cases as participants, assets, and transactions is a much different view and style towards blockchain development that contract oriented programming on the EVM.

It is a much different set of tooling and workflows as well.

One of the interesting things that was launched was the Azure Blockchain Workbench. Though I have not had a chance to work with it yet, it seems to be a way that Microsoft is moving up from just providing the nodes as a services for various protocols.

I was surprised there was not as much focus on new types of ERC standards. There is a ton of innovation happening right now with the Token standards and the Ethereum network. My overall sentiment is that Ethereum has captured the ground swell across the board for development and is creating things that have truly never been able to be done before on the web.

A part of me though I like using the Hyperledger stack to model out the business networks finds myself trying to rationalize things like being able to upsert existing records that have been written to the chain and build smart contracts when it is really not a contract oriented network.

Ethereum has been created out of this need and digitally enforceable agreements are now the foundation of the most innovative, cutting edge, and well funded projects in the world. Some other notes were platforms like EOS, Lisk, Cardano were not actively used at the Hackathon.

I think that the ease of use Hyperledger Composer for the modeling language schema and the use of javascript for transactions has served as a solid toolkit especially when used with events and websockets. I want to see more decentralize application development happening on platforms that are cutting edge an are enabling things that were never possible before.

The hackathon developer versus the protocol developer is also a very distinct difference.

In that there are engineers working to make these networks scale and work in the future while there are application developers hoping that they figure it out soon.One project I wish that I had worked on over the weekend was Quorum. I want to get a better understanding of how to setup Quorum nodes an integrate them into Salesforce.

The next two protocols that I am going to develop applications on will be Quorum and R3 Corda.

The emergence of multiple protocols that enable decentralized application development has accelerated. Regardless of the protocol, there still will nee to be core programming of the contract logic, transaction logic, figuring out things such as certificate and key management, data persistence, authorization.

I think the most innovative project was tinder for cryptokitties, swipe left or right for the cryptokitties, and you can chat to bid and negotiate.

Until next year.



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