Ideas. Coding. Burning the midnight oil. Chocopies.
Hackathons are the endurance sport of the information technology world. And “2018 Unlimited ICON: Show me the passion on ICON,” held last Thursday and Friday at the WeWork Building in Euljiro, was no different, testing the creativity, ingenuity and stamina of its participants.
This hackathon, however, was about more than building DApps. It also a company-wide team building exercise, bringing together members of far-flung corners of the ICON world together to work as one for a common purpose.
Two days. Two goals.
“2018 Unlimited ICON: Show me the passion on ICON” sought to achieve two goals.
The first was to promote a deeper understanding of ICON from the perspective of the “consumer” by giving participants a chance to experience ICON’s MainNet in a direct, hands-on way.
The second was to strengthen communication between the various constituents of the ICON family, providing an opportunity for members of different organizations to work together.
Though blockchain ecosystem builder De:Nexo (whose head of strategy and development, Lena Kim, we interviewed here) was the primary organizer, a task force composed of members of Ad4th Insight, Deblock, De:Nexo, Nomad Connection and, of course, ICON spent several days planning the event.
The two-day hackathon was open to all from not only ICON, but also from ICON’s partner companies.
The participants formed seven teams of two to five members each. The teams were highly heterogeneous, each one boasting representatives from the many partner companies that make up the ICON ecosystem. The teams went into battle with names like “Team Contact,” “Rala-land,” “Team Grandpa” and “Show Me the Money.”
At stake – a first place prize of KRW 5 million in ICX, with smaller but still significant purses given to the second and third place winners, too.
32 ramyeon and Chocopie-fueled hours
Following introductory remarks by JH Kim and an orientation by De:Nexo manager Mincheol Jeon in which the participants learned how the event would proceed, from start to deployment of team SCOREs to ICON’s MainNet, the hackathon kicked off at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
The teams had 32 hours to create feasible service models using ICON’s developer tools.
Along the way, the teams received feedback and other assistance from a mentoring team composed of members from De:Nexo, ICON, Deblock, Nomad Connection and Signal9. The mentoring not only helped move projects along, but also strengthened communication between the mentors and mentored.
The teams underwent three interim evaluations as well.
Sleep was a luxury few teams could afford. Fueling their efforts were an unlimited supply of snacks and caffeinated beverages, including Chocopies, Coca Cola and, of course, ramyeon.
At 6:00 p.m. Friday, the teams, ICON officials and other members of the ICON family gathered in the lounge on the eighth floor of the WeWork Euljiro Building to share the fruits of their prodigious labors.
Each team had 10 minutes to give their presentations, including a video demonstration of their services in action.
Judging the presentations was a panel composed of members of the ICON Council, including JH Kim himself. The judges evaluated the teams based on four criteria: whether their ideas sprang from a “key problem” felt by DApp users or SCORE Developers; whether they came up with fresh ideas to resolve said “key problem”; whether their services were balanced in terms of business concept, design and development; and whether their solutions contributed to valuable transactions.
The first team, DPES, came up with what it called “the universe’s first completely decentralized performance evaluation system,” bringing the power of the blockchain to your peer reviews.
Team 2, AZUGame, went the casino route, proposing a blockchain-based dice game for ICON.
Team 3, Team Contact, came up with a prediction game in which players had to guess how the majority of other players would answer questions.
Team 4, Role Changing, created an easy-to-use smart wallet as a way to popularize the use of blockchain technology.
Team 5, Rala-land, tried to rectify a perceived deficiency in educational materials for blockchain by creating Crypto-Bears, a game-like environment for users to learn blockchain development.
Team 6, Show Me the Money, aimed to make wedding season a little bit easier with ICONWITHU, a blockchain-based service that lets users give “congratulatory money,” or chuguigeum, the money gifts traditionally given at Korean weddings. It even arranged meal tickets for the reception, too.
Team 7, Team Grandpa, also went the dice rout, basing their game on a random algorithm.
Show me the money, indeed
After the presentations – and copious amounts of pizza for dinner – it was time for the voting.
Scores were based on the average score of the three interim evaluations (30 percent), the judges’ evaluation (40 percent), and an audience vote (30 percent). To do their part, the audience used the easy-to-use ICON-based voting app, Devote.
Following a surprisingly loud and well-coordinated faux drum-roll by the audience, the winners were announced.
Third prize, KRW 500,000 of ICX, went to Team Grandpa for its random algorithm-based ICON DICE game.
Team Contact, the blockchain-based prediction game, took home second prize, a purse of KRW 1 million of ICX.
There was also an idea prize, KRW 500,000 in ICX, given to the team which presented a particularly fresh idea. This went to Role Changing for its smart wallet concept.
The stars of the night, however, were Show Me the Money, whose congratulatory money DApp earned them first prize, a cool KRW 5 million in ICX. Not a bad take home for 32 hour’s work.
Kwak Minyoung, the team leader of Show Me the Money and a part of ICONLOOP’s business planning department, said of her experience at the Hackathon, “It was really worth participating in this competition because I’d never had the opportunity to gather with members of other departments.”
“Today, I slept just one hour, but I did it to deploy our DApp to MainNet. I was moved just by the fact that our DApp worked without error. And I think the fact that we could learn SCORE in just two days showed that the technology ICON already has is practical and worthy.”
For De:Nexo manager Mincheol Jeon, the evening was the conclusion of a job well done. “It wasn’t very easy to get various partners to get involved in this hackathon because it was kind of a turbulent period,” he said. “There were lots of sudden changes in the last two or three weeks, and every ICON member was busy responding,”
“I really want to give thanks to all the members who participated in the Hackathon,” he added. “I was really surprised by the results of each team. It was way over my expectations and just like Soohwan Park, one of the judges, said, I don’t know why but I was also touched by the presentation of each team. I should have given more snacks to them.“