Standouts and Highlights from the ETH San Francisco Hackathon
The ETH San Francisco hackathon took place in the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, close to San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate park.
It all started on Friday afternoon at 4 o’clock. More and more hackers arrived to register, but the lines were short and effective. Volunteers quickly registered everyone and explained the surroundings. The handouts with the map of the large and gorgeous venue was very useful for orientation.
After a hearty dinner provided by ETH Hackathon, hackers started to take the tables and get to know each other. People came from around the world including: Canada, Russia, UK, Germany, SAR, China, Australia, New Zealand, and of course all over the United States! In total there was 1000 hackers from every corner of the globe.
At 8 PM the event kicked off with a round table featuring Balaji Srinivasan and Vitalik Buterin. The round table covered the short history of blockchain technology and perspectives of where we are going to in near future. The talk was inspiring, and hackers were pumped to start coding.
At 10 PM the teams formed and started hacking vigorously! There was a great vibe in the air. People were coding everywhere: at the team tables, both on and under sofas, in comfort bean bags in chill out zones, and on benches outside of the Palace of Fine Arts, enjoying warm and sunny San Francisco weather.
While teams were creating their product, the first tech talks kicked off. The first topic was Smart Contracts 101 by Dan Nolan, followed by Your First dApp on Ethereum by Matt Condon, that helped non-blockchain developers align with Solidity developers in their hacking teams. Workshops and topics after midnight were more advanced and attracted smaller but more savvy crowds. Ethan Bennett had a great overview of using Dai.js for building dApps. Juan Mendez held a workshop on API for RCN, a peer-to-peer credit network protocol based on co-signed smart contracts. Alejo Salles, core developer at Zeppelin, shared great hints for improving smart contract security in dApps.
While talks went on, teams hacked all night and networked near stations with water, energy drinks and snacks. Although teams were focused on building their products, the networking opportunity on ETH San Francisco were amazing. Where else could you meet the veterans from ETH Waterloo and ETH Berlin? Among the 1000 developers present, some built their custom solutions on Ethereum, but others opted to build production live solutions with Hyperledger family networks, Corda and AION.
On Saturday after a high energy breakfast, teams continued hacking, while talks started with a deep conversation on the panel about building a blockchain-based open financial system. Representatives of Coinbase, 0x, MakerDAO, Compound Finances and Dharma talked about limitations and opportunities in an open finance world.
The panel lasted until lunch. After a filling lunch, teams returned back to hacking, while a small group of attendees wandered between two halls for tech talks. These tech talks were more detailed and advanced. Rafael Cosman and Terry Li shared boilerplate code and hints regarding how to build upgrade-able smart contracts. While Agustin Aguilar explained what means to build a truly decentralized application, and how upgrade-able smart contracts do not help the app become decentralized. Topics covered everything from tools to APIs, from overview of Ethereum clients to inter-connectivity techniques and protocols. Liam Horne hosted a detailed workshop on state channels later in the evening. The workshop transformed into a long lasting and in depth Q&A session.
Although there wasn’t a lot of time to socialize, social time happened everywhere. People talked in lines for the breakfast, food and dinner, self-organized for happy hours and even participated in midnight karaoke right on the hackathon location.
Hackers that didn’t want to go back to their hotels and homes, took power naps in lounge zones with bean bags and inflatable mattresses.
On Sunday the Palace of Fine Arts was full of exhausted and sleep deprived developers. The submission deadline was 10 AM, and several groups of judges examined team’s products closely and assessed their innovative input.
We want to thank ETH San Francisco for hosting this fun and inspiring event! We can’t wait for the next one!
You can check out ChainStats the dApp the Northern Block team made here: https://devpost.com/software/chain-stats
To learn more about Northern Block check out our website at: https://northernblock.ca/