Unblock 2021 Celebration

Subtle Art of Sneaking into Blockchains

A foolproof approach to decentralized engagements

Anjum Rashid
TheLeanProgrammer
Published in
6 min readMar 21, 2021

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Over the last decade, as more and more sophisticated emerging techs are taking over cyberspace, frequent chit-chats over distributed ledger technology have become widespread. No need to get surprised if you stumble upon someone saying “Blockchains are tasty”, as they rightfully are!

Since the inception of Proof of Work based Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto, it has been a rollercoaster ride for worldwide adoption of cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and decentralized systems. Despite blockchain development being limited in the early days, Ethereum emerged as “The Next-Gen Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform”, extending blockchain’s capability as a versatile programmable weapon.

As a beginner, it feels overwhelming to peek into the rapid course of modifications that popular blockchains have gone through. So if you’re looking for quick heads-up, here I am with my box of technical chattering to present you the ultimate pathway to wisdom-

“Dive into blockchain hackathons!”

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

What is Octaloop?

Octaloop is an emerging inbound marketing agency from India that specializes in Blockchain and SaaS. They effectively narrow down the art of inbound marketing with four key notions- Convey, Convince, Capture and Capitalize.

Source: Octaloop Facebook

In essence, they are impacting tons of decentralized platforms and identities across the globe with virtual summits, meetups, and community-driven week-long hackathons.

The Road to Metamorphosis

Last year, Octaloop introduced The Road to Metamorphosis II summit, followed by the global blockchain-based hackathon Decentralhacks. (Where I was lucky enough to be a part of ✌🏻)

Source: CXIHub Facebook

To my surprise, they were able to bring traditional finance personnel, tech leaders, blockchain developers, payment providers, fintech giants, and emerging tech companies together into one vibrant networking hub!

Apart from learning and working on the solutions, we got to attend a variety of insightful sessions on modern implementations of DLTs. Do have a look at our featured team solution on E-voting built during the intense hackathon.

Unblock 2021

This year Octaloop decided to take their decentralized game to the next level, and so, we just got over with Unblock 2021-A Global Celebration of Blockchain Empowerment!

Source: octaloop.com/journal

According to the organizers-

With unblock 2021, we want to inspire people to create things. Blockchain needs developers, and we want to bring developers to blockchain.

This time, Unblock brought the big-players of the decentralized world such as Nano (Lightning fast mining-less cryptocurrency), Near (developer-friendly programmable chain), Elastos (blockchain powered internet), CXIHub (cryptocurrency exchange), and SnapEx (crypto contract trading) to build our hack on cutting-edge platforms.

In addition, a great number of diverse crypto media and community partners joined forces to boost up the true essence of blockchain empowerment.

Hackathon Timeline

The hackathon encompassing three distinctive phases can be summed up as follows-

  1. Phase-1 (Know) of exclusive week-long Conference Sessions by blockchain industry experts and community leaders.
  2. Phase-2 (Imagine) of team buildup and getting along with industry expert mentors for conceptualizing your craziest ideas
  3. Phase-3 (Code) involving the development and implementation of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to compete for the rewards from the massive prize pool worth 10,000$!

In particular, hackers had to build their solutions choosing from contemporary five definitive themes –

  • Data Management
  • Payments
  • Smart Wallets
  • Social Initiative
  • Gamification

Key Highlights

The week-long conference covered 22+ diverse sessions on cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance, crypto-exchanges, decentralized applications, and cutting-edge blockchain networks.

Source: unblock2021 (octaloop.com)

Already feeling intrigued for the technical sessions? Check out the recap at your own pace on Octaloop Events (YouTube). Here are my top favorites from the conference sessions-

Quick Tips to Hack Your Way Into Awesomeness

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

My two cents when it comes to strategically build your team and system as well-

  1. Strive for building up a well-balanced team. A full-stack dude, an emerging tech specialist, a ‘big picture guy and a UI designer would make a pretty tight combo (Thanks to Aditya Oberai’s advice)
  2. Use GitHub Project board and Milestone features for effective project management and issue tracking.
  3. Use Miro for designing your system flow diagrams collaboratively on your team discussion sessions. It’s the coolest tool ever!
  4. Keep GitHub Student Developer Pack under your disposal. From premium domains to enterprise-grade tools- it’s going to be your friend in need in any compehackathon setting.
  5. It’s always a great idea to obtain student-tier subscriptions (zero cost) of well-known clouds like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform. These come in real handy if your system features a working cloud component.

What I Learnt From Global Blockchain Hackathons

As a habit, I always tend to keep neat and tidy progress log documents so that I can extract useful information when needed.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

I summed up my observations and findouts from these top-notch hackathons with memorable experiences-

  1. No matter what situation you face, keep calm and focus on what you want to achieve.
  2. You can’t expect the abundance of amazing stuff you could possibly discover by simply networking and having conversations with diverse people on such global arrangements.
  3. It's okay to team up with people outside of your comfort zone, even if you haven’t met them before personally. Trust me, this is one of the most rewarding decisions I took and the outcome was incredible!
  4. Even a silent team member can be of incredible service and may reveal the tricks under his sleeves if he gets interested in your idea.
  5. Take advantage of the hackathon as an excuse to learn new techs. A friendly team member might help you easily understand the most complex stuff that you’ve been avoiding for long.
  6. Take the team collaboration as an advantage to get exposed to the best practices of team management, project management, software development, and team coordination.
  7. Having prior documentation skills, video editing skills, storytelling, and marketing skills will always keep you one step ahead in the brain game, yielding maximum productivity while developing the MVP to its fullest potential.
  8. Race against the time. You can’t escape the dreadful pressure of the deadline day.
  9. There is an extraordinary feeling of satisfaction upon submitting the wrapped-up solution that you had worked on for an entire marathon week of collaborative efforts and sleepless nights.
  10. Proper utilization of time and efforts will make you realize how much you have grown in a mere week, in terms of knowledge, technicality, and contentment.

Before I wrap up, it’s your turn to tinker with DLTs and decentralized systems to get started right away with blockchains! Keep an eye out for the latest decentralized platforms, be up to date with crypto news, participate in hackathons, look for scholarships and become a blockchain tech preacher for social good!

Hey this is Anjum Rashid, your friendly technical blogging dude from Bangladesh.
I’m a
Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador and love engagements with global and local communities to learn, share, contribute and collaborate.
Apart from that, I’m on a quest to empower Blockchain technology with the aid of open source. Find me sneaking out on random repos in GitHub and headbanging to Porcupine Tree numbers at the same time.

Get connected on LinkedIn | Twitter

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Anjum Rashid
TheLeanProgrammer

Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador | InfoSec Enthusiast | Blockchain Explorer | Musicophile