The two-day ‘Building Blocks’ Hackathon at Consensus 2016 concluded today with the news that Decentralized Energy Utility, a project aimed at improving utility services in the developing world, had been named the $5,000 grand prize winner.
In total, 26 projects were presented, a figured event emcee and CoinDesk team lead Ryan Selkis indicated was an increase from the 15 participants last year. Each group had two days to build a blockchain project, with the winner being the one that developed the prototype that had the most immediate commercial application.
Boasting a two-person international team, Decentralized Energy Utility aimed to solve issues with electrical services, enabling a network of existing utility companies and household generators to work more effectively to meet the needs of a rural populace.
The project showcased a series of smart meters that, when paid, used Hyperledger and IBM's Bluemix to facilitate the operation of a streetlight. In demonstration, the role of the streetlight was played by an iPhone, which turned on its flashlight application when a payment was sent to surprise and applause.
Project’s developer Oleg Abdrashitov said:
"Among kindness of neighbors you need to enable trust."
Panel judges included Andrew Keys, head of ConsenSys Enterprise; Christine Avanessians, senior program manager at Microsoft; Deloitte strategic disrupter Eric Piscini; head of blockchain at Allianz Group, Fei Zhang; and Tierion CEO Wayne Vaughn.
The full spectrum of projects included experiments that showcased how blockchain could be applied to identity, video gaming and even a "Smart AirBnb" that aimed to more efficiently resolve conflicts between guests on the popular lodging marketplace.
Elsewhere, the runner-up for the competition was Community Relief, a distributed autonomous organization (DAO) that would make the tracking of disaster relief funds more transparent. An honorable mention was given to UnionD, a project aimed at replicating traditional employment unions on the blockchain, using Ethereum smart contracts and DAOs.
Event sponsors Microsoft, IBM, Deloitte, ConsenSys, Tierion and Ether.Camp each awarded prizes to a startup of their choice, with secondary prizes ranging from an all-expenses-paid trip to the Deloitte innovation lab to a single bitcoin, worth $452 at press time.
Other winners included Fleetchain, a construction rental tool platform built on the Hyperledger project; Proof of Phone, which used the Ethereum blockchain to link a phone number to a wallet application for website login; and Black Ops Messaging, a blockchain-based communications platform for use by spies and military personnel.
Images via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk