Blockchain technology is disrupting how people can use and transfer their money (amongst other applications). By definition, a blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions; but virtually anything that can be digitised. Smart contracts built on top of blockchain systems can provide automation of processes and enforcement of agreed upon obligations. This technology heavily relies on various technologies, including cryptography, peer-to-peer networks, and distributed systems. The first proposed application of blockchain technology was that of enabling cryptocurrencies, with the most prominent being Bitcoin which you have probably heard of. Ethereum is another popular cryptocurrency which provided for the first smart contract system built on a distributed ledger technology. Since then, blockchain technologies have been shown to be useful in many other application domains.
At the end of this month, you can get first hand experience in familiarising yourself with such technology at our very own University of Malta! The Blockchain Research Group, based at University, are hosting the first Blockchain and Smart Contract Hackathon with the support of student organisation ICTSA, the Faculty of ICT, MITA, Cubits and the International Conference on Information Systems and Management Science 2018 (ISMS).
The event will take place over the course of three days, starting on February 23rd and finishing on February 25th, and it will be split into two parts; a hands on session and a hackathon. The hands on session is open to all and aims to give those taking part the jump-start that they need to get into programming smart contracts. It is divided into two sessions, taking place on Friday 23rd February between 6pm and 8pm, and the day after between 10am and 12pm. It is after this that the second part of the weekend will commence; the hackathon itself.
This is a competition wherein teams will be presented with a scenario based upon the hands on sessions that they would have just attended, and have 30 hours to solve this scenario. The teams themselves can only be made up of a maximum of 5 University students and/or staff members, and team-members would have to have attended both hands-on sessions as well. Once those 30 hours are up; the teams will each present their work to a team of judges with the top three being recognised through a selection of great prizes.
Cubits have sponsored 4 Trezor Hardware Wallets for the teams that finish in 3rd, 2nd and 1st place; whilst the winners and runners-up will also receive four coupons for an online training course specialising in blockchain technology, to build upon what they’d have already learnt throughout the course of the weekend. Last but not least, the runners-up will be rewarded in the form of half a unit of Ethereum – one of the most prominent cryptocurrencies today – whilst the eventual winners will come away with double that amount; taking home 1 Ethereum between them.
The best part? You’ve still got chance to take part! The event itself costs only €4 per person and applications close on Monday 19th February. There are however limited places available; so apply quickly! In it just for the hands-on session? Just send an email along to Dr. Joshua Ellul at firstname.lastname@example.org or Professor Gordon Pace at email@example.com to apply. Think you’ve got what it takes to bring home the big Hackathon prize? Apply –> HERE!