[Klaytn Hackathon Winners] Interview #2 — TryCrypto
#Unlock your keyboard, and go hack.
Dear Klaytn readers,
The Klaytn Hackathon was Klaytn’s first blockchain hackathon, and developers were able to create BApps (Blockchain Applications) on Klaytn’s public testnet, Baobab. Klaytn allows developers to build service-centric, user-oriented BApps, and the Klaytn Hackathon was a virtual hackathon designed to allow global developers to unite and work together towards a common goal.
Passionate developers from all around the world joined together to commit and create BApps. During the 5 weeks of the hackathon, developers from across the world joined together virtually, and 4 winners were ultimately selected from the diverse, creative submissions.
The Klaytn Hackathon Winner Interview Series will feature the first and second place winners, BlockDevs Asia and TryCrypto, respectively. Through the series, Klaytn readers will be able to learn more about the winning teams, their projects, and their thought process behind and throughout the Klaytn Hackathon experience.
The previous article introduced BlockDevs Asia, the first place winners of the Klaytn Hackathon. In this article, we will introduce our second place winners, TryCrypto.
Hello TryCrypto! Congratulations on winning 1st place at the Klaytn Hackathon! Could you please introduce your team and team members? How does it feel to be the winners of the Klaytn Hackathon? :)
Thanks so much, it feels awesome. We’re really excited about Klaytn’s mission to make blockchain usable and we’re excited to be part of that mission.
Our team is TryCrypto, and we’re building the foundational building blocks for Web3.0. For the Klaytn Hackathon, we built SmartPage, a product that allows people to deploy a BApp without writing code.
Our team is three people: Nik Kalyani, Chase Chapman, and Niharika Singh.
- Nik is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about emerging technology trends and teaching about technology. Nik is a 12-time Microsoft MVP and the co-founder of TryCrypto as well as WhenHub, a blockchain-based startup. Previously, Nik co-founded DotNetNuke, a CMS in the Microsoft ecosystem (acquired in 2017).
- Chase is the co-founder of TryCrypto and she’s on a mission to make blockchain technology accessible. As a business student at the University of Michigan with no technical background, Chase saw the need for empathy in the space and began working with Nik on what is now TryCrypto.
- Niharika is a masters student studying Management, Technology, and Economics at ETH Zurich. Niharika’s insatiable desire to learn and help others learn drove her to begin writing Medium posts. Now, she is a top writer on Medium in Bitcoin with about 3,000 followers.
#2. The Remote Collaboration Experience & Blockchain
Your team, TryCrypto, is currently based in Mountain View, California, but it seems like some of you are located elsewhere. How did all of you come together to form a team? What piqued your interest in blockchain?
We are definitely spread geographically! We’re based out of Mountain View, California, where Nik lives, but Chase lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Niharika recently moved to Zurich for graduate school. We were already working together on projects for TryCrypto when we came across the hackathon, which was aligned with our overall vision for TryCrypto. We were very excited to see a project that focuses on usability, so we knew we had to participate in the hackathon.
As for how we became interested in blockchain:
Nik Kaylani: Nik has been developing software since he was a teenager, constantly looking for innovative new technologies to explore and use. Nik first got into blockchain mining Bitcoin and became excited about the technology when he discovered the ability to program blockchains with smart contracts on Ethereum.
Chase Chapman: Chase became interested in blockchain while working in marketing, specifically looking at the potential for blockchain to track rights to personal data. After exploring more, Chase realized blockchain could impact almost every industry and became very excited about the potential for the technology.
Niharika Singh: Niharika began her journey into software development during her bachelors. Niharika explored many technologies until she resonated with blockchain. Eventually, she started documenting her learnings in Medium posts which connected her with the blockchain community. On learning about blockchain at a deeper level, Niharika loved the underlying philosophy of blockchain: self-sovereignty.
Wow, what a dynamic journey! In that case, how would you describe the blockchain community and ecosystem in the U.S.? Would you say that the U.S. is a blockchain-friendly environment?
The U.S. is blockchain-friendly — there’s a lot going on here and some exciting projects coming out of the U.S. The blockchain communities here are strong, and there’s a lot of diversity of thought when it comes to the approach. People are taking mass adoption of blockchain technology and applications. That being said, we’re really excited to get more involved in the blockchain scene in Asia, specifically Korea.
#3. Klaytn Hackathon & SmartPage
Why did your team decide to participate in the Klaytn Hackathon? How was the experience? What challenges, if any, did your team overcome and was your team able to grow from the experience?
We first learned about Klaytn through Nik, who saw a post about the Klaytn hackathon, and we thought that this would be an awesome opportunity to support the usability movement in blockchain.
We were very excited about Klaytn’s focus on user-friendly blockchain experiences. At TryCrypto, we are very focused on usability, so the goals of Klaytn were aligned with our own. Ultimately, we believe that decentralized technology does nothing if no one can use it. We decided to participate in the hackathon to help further that shared mission of providing user-friendly experiences for the decentralized web.
From a technical perspective, the ability to generate a JSON Schema on the fly to create HTML elements that users can instantly grab for interacting with a smart contract was a challenge. On the business side of things, our challenge was thinking through ways to support both marketplaces that SmartPage creates. SmartPage allows users to pay to deploy smart contracts from a template, but it also requires developers who contribute to that library of smart contracts, which effectively creates two different marketplaces.
We worked remotely across three different time zones, so that always requires extra coordination. Using UTC is certainly one of the best ways to coordinate work in that situation. We didn’t have too many issues, but we had been working together remotely as a team for a couple of months prior, so we worked well together for the hackathon.
Looking back, would you participate in the Klaytn Hackathon again? Why or why not?
Yes! The Klaytn Hackathon was a fantastic experience and we are so grateful for the opportunity. The team was communicative and helpful, and the hackathon was a great opportunity to get acquainted with the Klaytn ecosystem.
We learned a lot and improved our dynamic as a team. One of the best parts about having such a diverse set of perspectives and experiences on our team is that we always learn from one another, sometimes when we least expect it. SmartPage was a new and interesting challenge both technically and in terms of telling a story.
Ultimately, the hackathon was a learning experience for the entire team and we are so glad we participated.
Do you have plans to continue and develop your project, SmartPage? What additions could you make to SmartPage to improve it even more?
We are continuing to develop SmartPage and expect to launch in early November. At launch, the focus will be in the gaming industry, but we expect to expand beyond gaming after the initial launch.
As far as improvements, we are working to make the experience of selecting a smart contract and customizing that contract very intuitive. We’re also considering partnerships with firms focused on design — we want to make sure SmartPage users have the best web design tools they need to build beautiful decentralized apps. Ultimately, our goal is to make SmartPage the go-to for anyone building a decentralized application.
#4. Klaytn from a Developer’s Perspective
Having experienced Klaytn first-hand, are you continuing to use Klaytn? How has Klaytn helped you and your team?
The Klaytn team was helpful and knowledgeable, answering questions and ensuring we had the resources we needed for a successful submission. We will continue to use Klaytn and hope to partner with Klaytn in the future to provide support for new applications as we continue to build SmartPage.
For our last question, we would like to ask if you would recommend Klaytn to other developers. How is Klaytn different or better from a developer’s perspective?
From a technical perspective, Klaytn provides unique flexibility that makes developing new solutions or integrating blockchain technology into existing systems simple. Klaytn also provides a unique benefit to developers in terms of enterprise backing — the hybrid model and corporate partnerships make it a reliable business platform. Their emphasis on usability is really an important part of building on Klaytn and the developer tools reflect that focus.
Klaytn’s positioning as South Korea’s representative blockchain is beneficial to developers who want to get involved in that ecosystem. We are excited to see the future of Klaytn open up opportunities for developers hoping to get involved in the South Korean blockchain ecosystem (and beyond) and we hope to get more involved in that ecosystem as well.
Once again, congratulations! We look forward to inviting your team to our all-expenses paid, TXGX conference in November!
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This is the final article in the Klaytn Hackathon Winner Interview Series. We hope that readers enjoyed the content and learned more about Klaytn and the Klaytn Hackathon.
As always, subscribe and stay tuned for more exciting updates from the Klaytn team!