What you missed at the first ever Blockchain for Peace hackathon

When was the last time you heard of average people taking time out of their weekend to talk about Peace and blockchain? NEVER! This weekend’s Blockchain for Peace hackathon was a revolutionary turning point in the adoption of blockchain in the Bushwick community of Brooklyn, NY.

The first ever Blockchain for Peace hackathon was focused on “Law & Governance” and the extreme implications that blockchain will have on traditional social constructs. More specifically we wanted to focus on the question “How can we design hyper-local communities to have better governance, civic participation, and circular economies using blockchain technology?”

People came from all different backgrounds to join the conversation, most weren’t familiar with blockchain at all, some were native New Yorkers, and some were just visiting the country for work. The idea that we can create new forms of legal, government, and social frameworks that empower local communities to create new types of societal and economic structures speaks to everyone, not just BloqPunks. There were over 70 people who came to our Peace talks the first day (~50% were females which is huuuge in the blockchain space.)

Friday — Peace Talks

Before we sent the coders off and running we needed to provide context and guidance on what Peace means, how blockchain can actualize it in the real world, and why they should focus their projects on the United Nation’s SDGs. Solving Peace is a complex challenge so we wanted to focus our hackers on solving the local problems facing the Bushwick community as a testbed for scaling their ideas to the global level. We are grateful to our five amazing speakers for the talks they gave:

Julian from IXO Foundation explaning how environmental impact affects world Peace
Emerick talking about local communities and urban innovation

Saturday — Hackathon & Workshops

This is when the hacking truly began. They came in at 10am to start building out the plans they had discussed for hours the night before. We wanted the best projects possible so we encouraged larger teams, some as big as 7 people. Blockchain for Peace also provided workshops on React, ETH development suite, and a one hour Holochain tutorial to make sure the projects were top quality.

Newcomers came in throughout the day and continued joining teams, bringing fresh perspectives, and adding skills to the creative pot. We planned on closing the venue early at 8pm but the hackers were so excited to keep building they convinced us to stay until midnight! (we split the hack into three days trying to be ethical/sustainable with people’s time and energy. We had a significantly higher retention rate over the weekend than most hackathons)

It’s not a surprise that the team pushing us to let them keep hacking also won 2/3 of all the sponsor prizes 💪 🎉

Sunday — The final countdown!

Teams were starting to put together the pieces of their code into a functional prototype. We decided to have two judging rounds, the first as an initial feedback session early in the day, the second was for the final decision. Of everything we did to try and augment the traditional hackathon model this was the most beneficial for the hackers from the feedback we got from them.

The Big Finalé — Project Presentations

The first ever Blockchain for Peace hackathon was an outstanding success! We had five impressive projects built for a set of prizes by our amazing sponsors. Two of the winners will continue to on with their projects and be incubated by Future of Humanity and Bushwick Generator as part of our global Peace campaign.

Action Auction — Imagine if every time you donated money to charity you were entered into a lottery to win back some money, would you donate more? In Action Auctions you donate money to charity and after a certain amount of donations have been made, all the money is split 50/50 between the charity and the biggest donor. Aaron, the team lead, has been doing “Action Auctions” for a few months using Venmo and has raised $25k for Malaria! Over the course of this hackathon This team won 1st place for two different categories— For “Community Design” they get a one month incubation at Bushwick Generator and for “Best SDG Project” they will be featured on the SDG tv series being produced by Future of Humanity.

Operation Coop — They won Native Token’s prize for addressing problems in corruption and efficiency in collective governance models. Using a crediting system tenants can vote, pay for, and validate maintenance and renovation projects in their building. Gustavo came up with the idea from witnessing stealing politicians in parents home country and his recent introduction to blockchain.

Team “Show Me Your Money” and “Operation Co-op” working upstairs in the art gallery at Bushwick Generator

YumToken — How to trick the US gov into funding a local currency” YumToken is a local economy loyalty points based on government food stamp programs (a.k.a SNAP) incentivizing welfare recipients to use them at local farmers markets. Why? $1 in SNAP = $1.7 boost to the GDP so they are an economic stimulus not a charity service. So instead of boosting the profit margins of Walmarts and megacorps where SNAP is mostly spent, YumToken gives you extra rewards for supporting local produce and urban markets.

Show me Your Money — Team lead Emilie used to work in the Attorney General’s office investigating campaign finances. Her team built a TCR that let voters manage a whitelist of donors for political campaigns. They didn’t quite figure out the tokenomics which prevented them from winning the Bushwick Generator prize. This hackathon was the whole team’s first blockchain experience so we commended their interesting concept of using TCRs to control political processes.

DPDPID — How do you identify yourself? Today you don’t have a choice - your identity is tied to the government that you pay taxes to. What makes you, you is your DNA. Decentralized Private Digital Planetary Identity is a blockchain identity plugin based on the 0.001% of your genotype that makes you a unique homosapien.

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Blockchain for Peace Founding Partners

Peace Accelerators is a NYC based non-profit and 21st century peace movement using data and time to co-create a peaceful future for our planet as effectively as possible.

Stanford’s Peace Innovation Lab is a global community consisting of thought leaders from the fields of behavior design, innovation, persuasive and social technologies and finance increasing positive peace via real world interventions as well as urban-scale innovations.

Bushwick Generator is a creative blockchain and tech accelerator in the heart of Bushwick. They are a living laboratory that deals with the physical and social constructs of blockchain in urban neighborhoods, as a proof of concept that can be modeled around the world.

UPDATE : Much love to my homies ConsenSys for shouting out this article ❤ It has been a blast interning for you guys this summer!