Hong Kong’s First Blockchain Hackathon: What to Expect at HackCoin 2015


Hong Kong’s startup scene is still very young and too few computer science graduates decide to build something of their own or join a small young team that truly wants to change the world. However, one amazing thing about Bitcoin is that it is permission-less. Anyone can build applications the way they are used to by downloading the necessary code and running it on their own machine; not by filling out application forms and waiting for approval. While Bitcoin and encryption at large is perceived to be complicated, many frameworks already exist that make developing on top of it easy and safe. We need to create opportunities for young coders to build on top of this technology and show how quickly the applications for the next generation of financial services can be developed.  We need a blockchain 2.0 hackathon.

If you are wondering what is a hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest), it is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development and hardware development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. In the case of HackCoin 2015, the aim is to raise awareness of the power of the blockchain and explore different use-cases. HackCoin organizers invite entrepreneurs and developers “to come and test out their most creative ideas on the blockchain using different blockchain protocols including bitcoin, NXT, Eris or others. The possible applications are far wider than digital currency, what can you achieve with blockchain technology beyond fintech? Transferring real property, gaming, immutable and transparent records, and anything else you can imagine are fair game.”

The Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong is proud to co-organize Hong Kong’s first blockchain hackathon with Diacle on May 23 at Paperclip Startup Campus in Sheung Wan. Within a time-frame of about six hours, 20 individuals can work in small teams on anything related to blockchains–be it currency, identity, digital rights or assets, messaging or contracts. Participants stay in control over their own work and do not have to sign over any rights to the organizers. The winning team will be awared with 1 BTC worth of NXT, who are co-sponsors of the hackathon. Gatecoin and Bitmain will provide light refreshments. Bitmain will also supply bitcoin miners for participants to play with.

If this is going to be your first hackathon, here are some good tips from those who have been through it before:

  • Never be late at a hackathon. The breakfast before start of a hackathon is the most important time where you can find and talk to people. Believe it or not, most people at hackathon do not have teams. They search around. So don’t feel shy. That way you will talk to people and form teams.
  • There are people at hackathons who do not know how to code at all. They just came up with idea and others joined that idea. You cannot let anyone down, because its assumed at hackathon that others might not code at all, as long as they are helping in some way or other.
  • Have someone ready to organize the group. You may get pretty anti-social when you’re programming. If that’s you, make sure you partner up with someone that makes sure that everyone is working together to reduce redundancy and keep focus.
  • Bring/find a designer to your team. At the end of a hackathon, aesthetics matter quite a bit regardless of how functional the hack is.
  • Bring business cards, if possible. It’s a very quick way to exchange information. You might never know, whom you meet, or who might help you land the next dream job.
  • Go through all API you are planning to use before hackathon. Even try out few.
  • Do not drink up beers. Yes, it’s very tempting, but it will decrease your efficiency.
  • Be respectful to others’ ideas no matter how lame they are.

Participation in HackCoin is free and we invite all those interested in going to register here.

If you have any questions, please do not refrain from contacting us at [email protected]

Inggrid Yonata (@iyonata) is Manager of Gatecoin – see her profile on Startbase.hk

Editor’s note: This month’s column on all-things Bitcoin is co-written by Leonhard Weese, President of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong. Leo is a Hong Konger by choice where he moved to study statistics. Ever since then he has been promoting Bitcoin to Hong Kong, and promoting Hong Kong to the world. 

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