Thomson Reuters, a multinational media and information corporation which employs 60,000 worldwide with a yearly revenue of more than $12 billion, is sponsoring a three day HackETHon to be held from the 9th to the 11th of September 2016.
The event is focused on Ethereum based smart contracts with challenges and prizes for data-driven smart contracts and for improving Ethereum smart contract security.
The impressive list of partners includes Barclays, one of the biggest global banks, Innovate UK, an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by UK’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Coinsilium, a blockchain tech investment and development company, as well as academic partners from two of UK’s and the world’s top universities of UCL and Imperial College.
On the judging panel are Prof. Will Knottenbelt, Head of Cryptocurrency Research Group at Imperial College and Prof. Tomaso Aste, Director of Centre of Blockchain Technologies at UCL together with Péter Szilágyi, Core Developer at Ethereum Foundation, who recently distinguished himself for his work on Ethereum’s successful hardfork, as well as Tim Baker, Global Head of Content Strategy and Innovation at Thomson Reuters and Thomas Bertani, Founder & CEO at Oraclize, a new company that enables smart contracts to access the internet by “provid[ing] them with an interface to any data-feed on the Internet.“
Connecting smart contracts to data science is one of the first steps towards opening up a new world of opportunities, especially for IoT, which, in connection with cloud computing, wireless sensors and physical objects such as small computer chips, promises to give inanimate objects a highly primitive level of intelligence.
In the shorter term, the addition of data analytics to smart contracts allows for self-enforcing financial contracts, such as futures or options agreements which self-execute without an intermediary. A farmer, for example, can hedge his produce by entering into a smart contract futures agreement dependent on x price taken from the smart contract’s underlying data analytics capabilities. If the conditions are met, payment would transfer automatically and since the farmer has a physical presence there would be readily available recourse through the legal system if the produce is not transferred.
Initially, however, such capabilities would probably find more use in transactions where goods or services are digital as both payment and transfer would be automatic. At scale and dependent on the nature of the agreement, such automatic activity could save billions in time and human resources,
How these new capabilities will be implemented in practice with an easy to use interface is yet to be seen, but the hackethon provides an opportunity for anyone who wants to try these and countless of other potential uses of data driven smart contracts.