It’s no secret that the last two quarters were a difficult time for anyone invested in blockchain technology. I won’t pretend to know why markets rise and fall, but the big question many of us had after the crash was simply ‘What do we do next?’.
For the developers that learned to write smart contracts and distributed applications, this wasn’t too hard to answer. By 2019 we had more blockchains to choose from, they were much faster than Ethereum, and the price of deploying smart contracts had dropped significantly — both because these new blockchains intrinsically had lower gas costs and because of the lower prices of blockchain assets in general.
So when our partner TomoChain offered us the chance to train developers in Ho Chi Minh City to use their product for an upcoming hackathon, I jumped at the chance. We’ve been using TomoChain internally for our smart contracts, mainly ERC-721 tokens that certify students that pass our training courses. From a development standpoint, it was much faster and less expensive than Ethereum while remaining fully compatible with Solidity.
We held the training on April 6–7 at Intek Institute, a vocational training academy for aspiring software engineers. It was an intense two days, and we covered quite a bit of material! Many of the attendees were students there, and were already competent developers. Our partners at Kambria also made a good showing, and it was fantastic to have such a talented audience!
Besides Solidity development and token deployment, we talked about project architectures and preparation for the TomoChain hackathon on April 20–21, which I’ll be attending as a mentor. For any engineers looking to make a name for yourself, I can only encourage you to participate! It’s a great opportunity to show your talent, and a good addition to your resume (even if you don’t win). After all, the job of the hackathon organizers is to showcase your work and make your team look good!
If you’re planning to attend (you really should!), I have three tips for you. First, in the hackathons I’ve been to, often the projects that win are the ones with the best time management skills — so it’s helpful to have a general idea of what you want to do before showing up, and how much time you plan to spend on each task to build it. Second, always Google your project idea before committing to it — if it has been built a hundred times already, you’re not going to score many points for innovation! Finally, the best idea in the world will fail to win unless it is presented well, so be sure to allocate enough time to your presentation. Often it helps to identify the best public speaker in your group and have them handle this part.
Speaking of winning competition, I’ve heard that the grand prize will be the equivalent of USD 500 in TomoCoin, with two runners up receiving USD 300 and USD 200 worth. Of course, the biggest reward in a hackathon is the satisfaction of participating (and the boost that it gives to your career), but these prizes can be quite helpful in continuing to develop your idea!
I’d also like to take a moment to thank all the fine people that made this training course and hackathon possible: TomoChain for their blockchain and awesome technical support, and Intek for allowing us to use their venue. The code review and hackathon judging tool is generously provided by Kambria, and CoinGecko helped sponsor the prizes along with providing an API that was very handy during the class.
Update: We’ve created a tokenized certification system on TomoChain for our training courses and hackathons, and have already issued certificates for this course. It uses ERC-721 tokens to track what courses and hackathons you’ve participated in, as well as how well you did. You can call the smart contract to verify your certificate at any time, for no fee. Contract source code, ABI and a standalone certificate verifier are available on our GitHub here.
We’re working on a nicer looking frontend to make verification easier for you, but you can build your own as well with the supplied code! Here’s a peek at the backend for certificate creation in case you’re curious (names and addresses removed in this image):