Joining 2020 Bitcoin SV Virtual Hackathon? Here’s what to expect, according to past finalists

The Bitcoin Association 2020 Bitcoin SV Virtual Hackathon will begin on June 23, and will run for eight weeks with a prize pool of $100,000. Registration is live, and many teams have already registered. 

The hackathon welcomes both Bitcoin newcomers and seasoned vets; great ideas are everywhere, so do not be intimidated if you are new to Bitcoin. In addition, we have some advice for you that will help you succeed and bring you one step closer to being a hackathon finalist that gets to pitch their project on stage at the upcoming CoinGeek Conference.

 We caught up with a few of the previous finalists—Shashank Singhal from Codugh (winner of the second Bitcoin SV Hackathon in Seoul), Luke Rohenaz from TonicPow (second place winner at the first Bitcoin SV Hackathon in Toronto), as well as Dean Little and Brent Beaver from Bitping (first place winner at the Toronto Bitcoin SV Hackathon)—and asked them what advice they would give hackathon participants.

We asked each of the finalists two questions: as a Bitcoin SV Virtual Hackathon finalist, what advice would you give participants for the upcoming Hackathon; and what can Hackathon participants expect in terms of experience, obstacles, judging, etc.?

Here is what they had to say:

Shashank Singhal, co-founder of Codugh

During the BSV hackathons, contestants often focus on building complex technical projects on BSV. While this is good, it’s essential to emphasize and showcase the impact your solution will have on real users. When your hackathon journey stretches over 8 weeks, this means gathering real user feedback, showing how you’re taking it into account, and having a business plan with a roadmap to profitability.

The experience of the hackathon itself is phenomenal. Don’t be afraid if you don’t have a strong knowledge of BSV development, we didn’t. The participants in BSV hackathons are always more than happy to spend time answering your questions and directing you towards the resources that you need.

An early obstacle will be ideating a product you’re comfortable with. Make sure you stay on theme and have an understanding of the customer base. 

If you make it to the final round, make sure you are well-rehearsed and know your product back to front for the judges’ Q&A.

Luke Rohenaz, founder of TonicPow

Leverage the existing tools. You can rapidly build an application today if you lean on the building blocks that developers like unwriter have contributed. When choosing what to build, realize that your idea could become a real business. There are a number of existing products that could be improved by Bitcoin. That means lots of great opportunities to claim uncharted territory and enjoy a first-mover advantage.

The hackathon happening now is a different animal compared to the first hackathon. With an eight week timeline it means you can really deliver something exciting and polished. You can expect the experience, end result, and reward to be amazing whether you earn one of the prizes or not. If you participate, go to the conference where the winners are announced. If it’s anything like our experience, you’ll create new allies with like-minded developers working on their own projects. The opportunity for healthy “co-opertition” in this space is very real.

Dean Little, co-founder and lead developer of Bitping

Make sure you form a solid team that knows how to communicate well, come up with several ideas before the hackathon starts, and ensure those ideas are unique and hit a niche. When the hackathon question is announced, pick the most compatible idea and start delegating tasks. Don’t waste time trying to make it perfect, just make it look nice and demonstrate the crux of your idea. This will save you a lot of time, and those ideas can always be pursued and improved upon later.

Expect to: have a lot of fun with friends, drink a lot of coffee, not sleep much, challenge yourself, and learn what your blind spots are in terms of Bitcoin app development.

Brent Beaver, software engineer at Bitping

Pick good teammates. It’s good for morale, and it’s good for actually achieving what you set out to do. 

You can expect to have to make some pretty quick decisions about what your project will be and what the technical breadth of it will be. I think it helps to war game these possibilities beforehand. Obstacles generally will only be sleep if you need it and technical capability. If you’re worried about the latter, it would be wise to build some small things in your own time before the hackathon to get your bearings before competing with other teams. As for judging, just try and be the best project.

Good luck!

Heeding the advice of the previous Hackathon finalists will help you create a project that has a greater chance of succeeding. Registration for the Bitcoin Association Bitcoin SV Virtual Hackathon is live, and project submission runs from June 23 until August 18. We would like to wish all participants good luck, and we hope to see you on the finalist stage in New York in October!

 Register here to join the Bitcoin Association 2020 Bitcoin SV Virtual Hackathon.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.