Eth Waterloo: What a Rush!

Samuel Harrison
Nov 15 · 4 min read

The ThunderCore team arrived in Waterloo, Canada on the evening of November 7th to prepare for the second Ethereum-focused hackathon to take place at the seminal University of Waterloo. The last time a hackathon was hosted in the beautiful headquarters for the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), CryptoKitties was released. That game had a huge impact on the entire blockchain industry, including being the impetus for our founders to create ThunderCore. CryptoKitties, launched at Eth Waterloo 2017, showed the world that we needed a better, faster blockchain solution. And so ThunderCore was born.

Eth Waterloo received over 800 applications when they only had space for 300 hackers. A full third of which had never worked with a blockchain before. For three days, around the clock, the halls of CIGI echoed with the tap of keyboards, the hum of discussion and faint squeak of diagrams being scrawled on whiteboards. At the end of the three days, 65 projects had been submitted and, while only a handful of projects were able to claim bounties, it was an enjoyable, educational and enriching weekend for all.

ThunderCore focused on showing the teams the potential of using our fast, EVM-compatible network. Our team hosted a workshop that attracted so many developers that some weren’t able to find seats. We presented a quick game that highlighted how our technology can provide a user experience akin to those the average consumer already expects. We were also able to show off the simple process of migrating a deployed dApp from Ethererum to ThunderCore.

One memorable moment came when a young 8 year old was being escorted through the hallways by his aunt. They stopped at the ThunderCore table and asked if our Director of Strategic Partnerships, Sam Harrison, could explain why blockchain is valuable… to an eight year old.

Momentarily stymied by the lack of recourse to common buzzwords like “decentralized trust”, or “consensus” or even “ledger” — Sam was able to rally and explain, through using Minecraft metaphors, how important blockchain-based technology would be in a world of digital assets. The young man enthusiastically responded and, hopefully, caught the vision of what blockchain could be.

Hackathons are exciting because it is a chance for the grassroots developers in this fantastic open-source community to show what they care about and how talented they are. For example, one interesting project appealed to those concerned about the carbon footprint traditional proof-of-work chains leave behind. According to the CarbonGuilt project, a SINGLE ethereum transaction consumes as much electricity as an American household uses in an entire day! We had a good conversation with this team pointing out the power of a proof-of-stake system like ThunderCore. Unlike Proof-of-Work consensus systems, our Proof-of-Stake doesn’t rely on solving complicated algorithmic puzzles and, otherwise, wasting that computational power and electricity.

But our speed was also very interesting to the developers. The modern consumer has been trained to expect instant gratification and responsiveness to their commands. One very interesting project leveraged our speed to deploy a project that would reveal a digital artwork each time a token was contributed. We will be showing off that project within the next week or so, so stay tuned.

The weekend closed with prizes being awarded and an army of tired software developers packing up their sleeping bags and suitcases — many of them wearing the t-shirts and caps they got that weekend (we gave out over 150 t-shirts!). We will be announcing the ThunderCore winners in the next few days — but it was an exciting event to be part of. Occasionally, we all need to look up from the grind of the day-to-day office existence and realize that the technology we are working on has the potential to change the world.

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