Polaris Launchpad Hackathon Judging Has Begun

Neo Smart Economy


Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to plan, develop, and submit your projects to the Polaris Launchpad Hackathon. Neo’s first Launchpad Hackathon event of 2022 saw more than 600 registrants from 69 countries and has received more than 50 project submissions.

Final submissions for the Hackathon came in on May 9, and the Hackathon Phase has moved to the judging stage. Our esteemed judges are now assessing the concept and feasibility, design, and implementation of each project entry.

This article introduces you to the judges, a team of high-profile industry leaders in diverse roles such as company founder, entrepreneur, core developer, academic researcher, product manager, and more. Taken together, this team’s diverse set of perspectives from the blockchain world will provide a well-rounded and holistic approach to the judging process.

Read on to learn more about the judging team and learn what to expect next.

Meet the judges

Da Hongfei, Founder of Neo

Neo founder and a core leader within China’s blockchain industry, Da Hongfei is a serial entrepreneur who has provided invaluable advisory expertise on blockchain technology to many banks, stockbrokers, and bill exchanges.

In 2011, he began to explore blockchain technology applications. He became a well-known columnist in mainstream blockchain media such as 8BTC and served as one of the sector’s earliest advocates. He went on to found Neo in 2014. In 2016, Da also founded the Onchain brand, a company dedicated to exploring and developing blockchain’s underlying technology.

He also became involved in helping to develop blockchain standards within China and contributing to the international ISO-TC307 blockchain standard.

Through his years of experience and forward-looking vision, Da has become a leader within the blockchain sector who leads application trends and serves as a role model within the industry.

Erik Zhang, Founder of Neo

Before joining Neo, Erik worked for Shanda Games Limited, where he was dedicated to security systems for games and platforms. He then worked for another tech giant company in Beijing, where he mainly focused on information security.

In 2014, Erik met and worked alongside Hongfei Da to build on the Antshares concept that was later rebranded as Neo. Erik recently led the Neo core developer team effort to implement the migration from the Neo Legacy blockchain to the Neo N3 blockchain.

As the creator of a new consensus protocol, the Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT) consensus mechanism, Erik distinguished himself in the crypto community and opened the possibility of virtually unlimited scalability with no need for paying large security fees. Erik now focuses on bringing more applications to Neo N3 and working on Onegate, a gateway to the blockchain world for normal internet users, as well as Galaxz, a sci-fi space adventure MMORPG.

John deVadoss, President / NGD Enterprise

John leads NGD Enterprise in Seattle, WA, where he focuses on the developer experience and tools. Previously he built and successfully launched two Machine Learning start-ups. Earlier in his career at Microsoft, John incubated and built Microsoft Digital from zero to $0.5B in revenue, and he led architecture, product, and developer engagement for the .NET platform. He has published several books on management and software architecture topics. Currently, he is working on a book on decentralized systems.

John serves on the board of the Global Blockchain Business Council and co-chairs the IEEE Blockchain Initiative.

Steven Liu, Head of Development / NGD

A graduate of Zhejiang University and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Steven has participated in several early-stage blockchain projects and has worked for several tech giant companies.

Steven joined Neo in 2018. Initially, he was responsible for collaborations between Neo Foundation and the technical teams of external new projects as a Neo Foundation Technologist. He also supported the development and collaboration of the Neo Foundation and Neo global technical communities. Steven later took on the role of Technical Lead of Flamingo Finance (a full-stack decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol including multiple products) and led the team to develop Neo’s largest DeFi protocol to date.

Steven now leads the NGD Technical Team. Here he leads the technical output and development of Neo protocols, infrastructure, tools, and ecological projects. He also is responsible for exploring and researching new directions for blockchain applications.

Tyler Adams, Founder of COZ

Tyler is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and of Arizona State University. He serves as Chief Executive Officer of COZ, a global developer community in the Neo ecosystem that was established in 2017. The COZ team developed and maintains a number of great Neo N3 developer tools (including the neo-python suite and the Neon.js Javascript SDK); a collection of wallet utilities including Neon Wallet (desktop and mobile) and the WalletConnect SDK; the Dora blockchain explorer; and the PROPS developer framework. COZ also hosts Neo-oriented developer events and offers technical assistance for hackathons.

John Wang, Head of Neo Ecosystem Growth

John is a graduate of Monash University in Australia. Before joining Neo, John built up many years of expertise in strategic management consulting, including during his work for Accenture, and he played a role in numerous successful entrepreneurial experiences.

John joined Neo in 2017. He now serves both as the head of Neo Ecosystem Growth and as the Managing Director of Neo Ecofund. He holds responsibility for Neo global ecosystem development and investment across multiple regions and continents. In this role, John has led his team to invest in more than 100 Neo ecosystem projects and has provided full-spectrum strategic and branding support for core projects in this ecosystem.

Odd Jørgen Røland, Developer at Flamingo Finance

In 2016, Odd co-founded Adapted, a Norwegian software company. There he worked as a manager and created several different SaaS products that are used by some of the largest companies in Norway, such as Burger King, Starbucks, and DNB (Scandinavia’s biggest bank). He got into the crypto space in 2011. He is familiar with most languages but prefers Python for the backend and Vue/Html/Scss for the frontend. He has significant SysOp experience and is familiar with running load-balanced, cluster, or shared servers.

Vincent Geneste, CEO of GhostMarket

Vincent worked as a network architect for 15 years. During this time, he was involved in many different blockchain-related projects as a side hobby before going full-time into blockchain and starting GhostMarket, the first cross-chain NFT Marketplace.

Stanislav Bogatyrev, NeoFS Architect. CIO of Neo SPCC

Stanislav is a PhD Candidate in Reliability of Distributed Computer Systems at ITMO University. He holds a Diploma of Engineer in Embedded Systems from ITMO University and a Master of Innovation Management from St. Petersburg State University of Service and Economics. Previously, he has worked as a senior software engineer at Samsung Electronics, a system architect at Clodo Cloud Hosting, a senior software engineer at Dell-EMC, and an engineer at Mashtab Research Institute.

Guil. Sperb Machado, Builder & Founder of AxLabs

Guil is a researcher, entrepreneur, and software engineer. He is a serial open-source contributor and brings 20+ years of experience in the software industry. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Zürich, where he also contributed to his first blockchain project in 2013. Together with AxLabs, he joined Neo in late 2018. Since then, he has been building various tools to make the developer experience on Neo as smooth and intuitive as possible. Guil brings his passion to his work and is constantly on the hunt to materialize the next big thing in the blockchain space.

Dean Jeffs, Founder of Neo News Today

Dean is the founder of Neo News Today. He cut his teeth in the burgeoning world of e-commerce in the mid-’00s, before moving onto broader digital project management in the 10s. Dean’s interest in future trend technologies was what drew him into blockchain in 2013. Since discovering Antshares in 2017, Dean has worked to make positive contributions to the Neo community in whatever way he can be useful, primarily manifesting in the creation and management of Neo News Today.

Navin Reddy, CEO of Telusko Edutech Pvt Ltd

Navin is an educator and software developer. His YouTube channel, “Telusko,” has more than 1.6M subscribers. Navin provides online as well as corporate training to multiple IT companies and banks.

Matthew Broadhurst, Product Manager of Poplar Protocol

Matthew has been working as a researcher and developer in the blockchain industry for three years and has a solid knowledge of both DeFi and Web 3. Before entering the Web 3 world, he worked for eight years in architecture and development in the gaming industry.

Hong Wan, Associate Professor of NC State University

Hong Wan is an associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on the areas of experimental design and data analysis of complex simulation models and blockchain.

She is the director of the ISE blockchain lab and serves as the editor in chief of the Journal of Blockchain Research and as the associate editor of ACM TOMACS. Her website is https://www.ise.ncsu.edu/people/hwan4.

What’s next

We applaud the creativity and hard work that has gone into the projects submitted to the Polaris Launchpad Hackathon. We look forward to announcing the winners of this phase of the Polaris Launchpad event on May 30. Following the conclusion of the Hackathon, we will hold a bonus Polaris Plus round, in which the Neo community gets to decide the winners. We will invite the best Hackathon submissions (whether or not they receive an award in the Hackathon phase) to join us on DoraHacks for a round of community voting. In this special event, GAS token holders will be able to use their funds to vote for their favorite projects, and Neo will match these votes with a minimum of $57,500 through quadratic means.

Learn more

Neo official website: https://neo.org

Follow Neo on Twitter: @Neo_Blockchain

Join the Neo community: Discord / Telegram