Startup Accelerator Boost VC Hosting Silicon Valley Bitcoin Hackathon

Daniel Cawrey
Apr 10, 2014 at 21:55 UTC
Updated May 8, 2014 at 01:34 UTC

Boost VC, the first startup accelerator to accept bitcoin companies in Silicon Valley, will host a bitcoin hackathon to run from 25-27th April.

The event will be held at the Boost offices in San Mateo with enough space for 100 participants.

Ross McKelvie, the lead engineer for Boost, told CoinDesk that the organisation is looking for next-generation bitcoin companies to form out of the weekend session.

Said McKelvie:

“We’re looking to find the next bitcoin ideas that take it to the next stage.”

Boost has committed to funding 100 bitcoin startups within the next three years. Hosting a bitcoin hackathon is a way for the organisation to help encourage new business ideas within the digital currency industry.

Entrance fee and prizes

As fitting for a bitcoin-based event, Boost will charge an entrance fee equivalent to $25 in BTC.

The point is to keep entrants committed to the hackathon, and to get bitcoin circulating as a method of payment, according to McKelvie:

“Along with the companies we’re building and launching here at Boost, bitcoin should be used more as a currency instead of an investment.”

The hackathon is sponsored by Coinbase, snapCard, Vaurum, Coincove and CrowdCurity. The prizes are 5 BTC for first place, 2 BTC for second and 1 BTC for third.

Pitches and judging will take place at 3:30 PM on Sunday, April 27.

Boost VC's office space in downtown San Mateo. Source: 7ShiftsBoost VC’s office space in downtown San Mateo. Source: 7Shifts

Veteran bitcoin entrepreneurs and VCs will be on hand at the hackathon to serve as judges and mentors for the event.

Startup ideas are graded on a point system with a 100-point scale. Points will be awarded for a startup’s idea (25 points), business plan (25 points) and product (50 points).

Bitcoin ideas

Boost is looking for ideas that can incorporate bitcoin in any way. But, that’s the only stipulation.

McKelvie explained:

“We’re not requiring anything other than that [the idea] incorporates bitcoins.”

To better illustrate, he cited companies like CrowdCurity, which focuses on crowdsourcing IT security yet uses bitcoin to provide incentives for researchers to find vulnerabilities in websites, and Arbiter, which facilitates in-game app payments via bitcoin, as examples of startup ideas that would make the cut.

“I would look at what bitcoin is and see how I could apply it to different fields.”

Using just the block chain to build something is an idea that McKelvie said was interesting. But, the fact that there are already a lot of bitcoin companies with APIs gives developers a lot of options to plug into.

Said McKelvie:

“Pretty much every single exchange is going to have an API for you to work with. And most companies that offer software as a service have an API.”

Hackathons build bitcoin businesses

Hackathons are a good way to quickly prove an idea could work, as it needs to be completed in a short time frame.

The NYC Bitcoin Center hosted a hackathon a few months back that produced some interesting ideas in bitcoin mining and hardware, while Coinbase recently ran an online-only BitHack to encourage global developers to uncover interesting ways to use the company’s API.

That competition resulted in Coinbase Apps, a marketplace that shows off software from various developers using Coinbase’s platform in novel ways.

McKelvie, who is also Boost VC’s lead engineer, believes that this hackathon will attract software development talent in the San Francisco Bay area to build some good bitcoin business ideas.

“I think there are a large amount of bitcoin people in Silicon Valley that would love to meet up and work on a project together. They could meet some other people, and potentially start a business.”

There is a registration form available for interested participants. There is also a refer-a-friend discount available for those who register.

Software developer image via Shutterstock