On February 10, the Big Building will be the center stage of the latest innovations surrounding blockchain technology. The Dutch Blockchain Hackathon is an epic 3 day hackathon, revolving around improving society through blockchain-based solutions. With over 45 teams working in 5 different tracks, it’s far more than an average hackathon and special for a number of reasons.
“We can already proudly announce that this will be the biggest physical blockchain hackathon in the world”, initiator Rutger van Zuidam explains. “But what’s even better, the participating teams, together with the Dutch government and major business & technology partners, are all very committed to turn all of the winning ideas into actual products. We want to stimulate, strengthen and involve the entire ecosystem and collaborate together, not just to improve our society but also to help the Netherlands as a country take the lead in blockchain innovations.”
What makes blockchain so revolutionary?
The World Economic Forum has called blockchain one of the seven potentially most world changing technologies, with possible uses ranging from healthcare, the food industry, energy, smart industry, all the way to logistics and government.
The story of blockchain technology starts with the introduction of Bitcoin in 2009, revolutionizing the way we register financial transactions, in an open and transparent way and virtually impossible to tamper with. That means people can trade without traditional third party involvement, such as banks, notaries, accountants or governments.
The driving force behind bitcoin, is blockchain technology, essentially taking over and fully automating the role of a central ‘trusted third party’ you would normally need for a transaction or trade of any kind. It’s as freely available, accessible and programmable as the internet itself.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YIVAluSL9SU?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Simply put, trust is now a matter of simple ones and zeros, accessible and transparent for anyone. It’s a shared, single source of truth. And if you look at the term ‘transaction’ more broadly than just in the financial sense, it opens up a wide range of possibilities, like eliminating the need for a central bureaucracy, drastically reducing fraud and create new and smart contracts in all sorts of industries. Where doing something as simple as registering a license plate for your car used to take weeks, it can now be done with the click of a button for example.
Why this Hackathon is special
A lot of companies, organizations and entrepreneurs in the Netherlands are already taking the first steps into the world of blockchain. “But most of the applications and innovations still revolve around bitcoin, and blockchain applications seldom find their way to consumers or end users”, Rutger explains. “There’s a lack of paying customers, which in turn creates a lack of startups, and because the technology is so new, the outcomes are sometimes uncertain, making it too risky for a lot of people in decision making positions.”
And that’s something Rutger wants to change: “The Dutch Blockchain Hackathon wants to bridge the gap between organizations providing cases and the people able to come up with solutions and help create a network, where larger, older organizations from both public and private sector can experiment and work together with other, younger companies and create and scale up really groundbreaking innovations.”
With regular hackathons, the open and experimental atmosphere often has a major drawback; it’s non-committal, meaning great ideas usually remain just that, ideas, not real world products or solutions.
What makes the Dutch Blockchain Hackathon so special is not just the fact that it’s the biggest in the world, but that everyone involved, the teams, the companies offering cases, are very committed to seeing things through to the end: “Our goal is to involve and strengthen the entire ecosystem of government, corporates, the scientific community, startups and grownups and really start accelerating blockchain-based solutions”, Rutger explains.
“That’s why this Hackathon is a year round innovation cycle, instead of a 54 hour weekend, to make sure everyone’s on the same page and actively involved, and great ideas to improve society can become a reality.”