Dutch Blockchain Hackathon Draws Over 500 Worldwide Participants

Journalist:
February 21, 2017

More than 500 people from around the world converged in Groningen, the Netherlands, to compete in the world’s largest industry hackathon, the Dutch Blockchain Hackahon. Fifty-five teams vied in the 48-hour event to find solutions to problems in five tracks: the future of pensions, digital identity, energy transition, reinventing government, and international trade and business.

Teams worked day and night to come up with solutions that often met social goals such as an identification app to find refugees and ways to enhance democracy.

Rutger van Zuidam, the founder of DutchChain, the event organizer, said the participants will change society.

ING Lends Support

ING, a Dutch bank that has conducted blockchain proofs of concept and served as one of the hackathon’s strategic partners, had experts on hand that roamed the floor and offered blockchain expertise to the teams.

ING’s “Cash me if you can” game challenged participants to identify a vulnerability ING installed in a blockchain. The winning team, B9 Labs, was the first to find the vulnerability and earned a workshop with ING’s innovation coaches at its Amsterdam customer experience center.

The “Cash me if you can” game looks like a smart contract for a regular bank. A customer can make deposits and withdrawals. Only the rightful owner of the Ether deposited should be able to withdraw their money, but the contract had a vulnerability. By hacking the contract, B9 Labs was able to steal all the Ether. B9 Labs hacked the smart contract within an hour.

Blue balloons were given out throughout the competiion to indicate a team’s idea could proceed to the next round.

Observers Impressed

“Clearly, the sky is the limit,” said Professor Alexander Rinnooov Kan, a member of the Senate in the Dutch Parliament, who attended the event.

“They all want to change the world. That’s amazing,” said Joost Van Keulen, vice mayor of Groningen, who also was in attendance.

Team ToBlockchain, which won 15 bitcoins for winning the energy stream track, built an app running on a blockchain, according to the hackathon’s website. The app controls who has access to the data. It lets users make decisions on sharing their energy data and gain insights on their energy use. Users can decide to use, share or store their energy.

Team SocialFabric, the winner of the identity track, won 20 bitcoins. The winning concept helps refugees, governments and non-government organizations. The solution the team came up with provides a platform that empowers refugees. Instead of going to an office, refugees use their digital identity to be tracked. They can also upload information about their skills onto the platform.

Also read: Dutch banking giant ING conducts 27 block chain proof of concepts

Team Zissou won the international trade and entrepreneurship track. Their solution solves the trust issue between freelancers and clients, which is often complicated by regulations. The user gets an app with which contracts can be set up. The app makes freelance contracts indisputable and easily auditable by the government, thereby preventing fines from the Dutch IRS.

Image from YouTube/DutchChain.

Tags: ING
Lester Coleman

Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.