Exeter University, Exeter, Devon, England, UK

University of Exeter hackathon finalists revealed; anyone can build smart contracts using sCrypt

The sCrypt Hackathon Project at the University of Exeter officially commenced June 5-8, a four-day workshop for participating fintech students with the sCrypt team, Dr. Craig Wright, and other special guests from the blockchain world.

The workshop was designed to introduce the students to smart contracts built on a scalable public blockchain using sCrypt tooling. Following the workshop, students had a few months to design their web-based applications using the skills they learned.

At the conclusion of the hackathon, University of Exeter Professor Jack Rogers, sCrypt CEO and Founder Xiaohui Liu, and Dr. Craig Wright chose the top three applications out of the 17 that were submitted:

First placeDriveOnChain, a revolutionary car rental platform with blockchain at its heart

Second PlaceSolarBitTradea digital marketplace that facilitates transactions for individuals interested in trading solar energy

Third PlaceSVer, an application to prevent misuse of grant and allowance funds

When asked how the winners were chosen, Liu confirmed the decisions were made using the following criteria:

1. How close the app is to being functional with a front end
2. Does it use Bitcoin and specifically sCrypt
3. Documentation and final video

“Myself, Xiaohui, and Craig separately reviewed them…we then shared our rankings with each other, discussed the shortlist, and collectively agreed on the winners,” explained Rogers.

The three judges were all incredibly impressed with the quality of each submission regardless of placement, Dr. Wright himself even commenting, “all have done well.” When asked for their thoughts on the experience as a whole, Liu and Rogers used descriptors such as “exceptional” and “exceeded expectations” to emphasize their delight.

“Considering the fact that they are FinTech students and many do not have much programming experience, let alone programming on Bitcoin, it is extraordinary that they have managed to build fully functional applications on Bitcoin in a matter of months,” shared Liu.

“This also shows the power of sCrypt tools, making building Bitcoin apps more accessible and efficient, no prior Bitcoin knowledge required,” he pointed out.

Rogers added, “In general, they showed creativity, business strategic awareness, and showcased the sCrypt coding skills they had learnt from Xiaohui’s team extremely well. They produced professional videos explaining what problem their application was designed to solve, and created working front ends as demos.”

“What we have done here is prove a concept: small teams of people not formally trained in computer science and/or advanced programming can build smart contract applications on Bitcoin,” Rogers said.

In fact, the event was such a hit that both Liu and Rogers were in agreeance that it would not be the last.

“Jack and I plan to make the hackathon an annual event at Exeter,” revealed Liu.

“If you are a student who is interested in leveraging the latest bitcoin/blockchain technology to better the world, this hackathon teaches you the full process of building a Web3 app with little prior knowledge: ideation, design, development, and deployment,” he said.

“The hands-on experience builds up your competitive advantage and prepares you well for a future career, in fintech or not,” Liu promised.

Rogers added, “I plan to run this event the same way for our MSc FinTech students in coming years, so if you want to be a part of this, please consider applying for Exeter’s MSc FinTech programme!”

So now that you know what went on behind the scenes at Exeter, let’s take a look at the experience from the eyes of the students, in particular those who placed in the hackathon.


CoinGeek: Can you share with us what your experience was like participating in the Exeter Hackathon?

DriveOnChain: As students, the Exeter Hackathon was like an exciting adventure. Learning React and sCrypt was a bit tricky, but we helped each other and became better friends. Collaborating as a team, we developed smart solutions, improved our tech skills, and gained a deeper understanding of fintech. This left us excited and well-prepared for our future in fintech, and we all left the hackathon feeling proud and eager to explore more opportunities to make a big difference.

CoinGeek: What problems does DriveOnChain solve?

DriveOnChain: Traditional car rental websites often face problems such as delayed refunds, privacy breaches due to storing sensitive data, and unreliable car reviews. By leveraging blockchain’s transparency and security, we can provide a more secure and transparent rental experience. Our user-friendly interface built with ReactJS and the use of sCrypt for smart contracts ensure secure payments, efficient deposit refunds, customer complaint resolution, and a reliable car review system based on voting.

CoinGeek: What are the next steps for DriveOnChain?

DriveOnChain: Our next focus will be to improve the user experience by improvising the user interface of the website to make it even more visually appealing. In addition to refining the UI, we aim to optimize our project’s blockchain infrastructure for scalability and efficiency. This includes optimizing smart contract logic, adding features like checking the image of the car with AI, and exploring solutions to accommodate more users and transactions without compromising performance or incurring high fees.


CoinGeek: Can you share with us what your experience was like participating in the Exeter Hackathon?

SolarBitTrade: Engaging in the Exeter Hackathon was truly exhilarating, as it pushed us to tap into the potential of blockchain technology in addressing real-world challenges. Moreover, it deepened our understanding of crafting FinTech solutions by adeptly harnessing the power of smart contracts on BSV through the sCrypt high-level language.

CoinGeek: What problems does SolarBitTrade Solve?

SolarBitTrade: SolarBitTrade aims to simplify the process of trading solar energy by eliminating intermediaries, increasing transparency, and reducing complicated paperwork, which are all common in traditional trading mechanisms. Having the application run on a blockchain using smart contracts written on BSV makes transactions safe and secure for individuals wishing to trade.

CoinGeek: What are the next steps for SolarBitTrade?

SolarBitTrade: Moving forward, our vision for SolarBitTrade is anchored in a comprehensive roadmap. We aim to enhance our platform’s user interface, increase our solar energy trader base, and foster strategic alliances within the energy ecosystem. In our tech stack, integrating Apache Kafka will play a crucial role, serving as an overlay network to seamlessly distribute energy trading data. On the broader front, we’re setting our sights on international growth, striving to revolutionize solar energy trading on a global canvas.


CoinGeek: Can you share with us what your experience was like participating in the Exeter Hackathon?

SVer: We thoroughly enjoyed our participation in the hackathon. Despite most of us not having prior experience as software engineers, we invested significant time in taking courses to learn software usage, developing both the front and back end, and creating a smart contract. It was an incredibly valuable experience as we successfully built the entire stack using the MongoDB, Express, React, and Node.js (MERN) framework, while the smart contract was expertly crafted using sCrypt.

CoinGeek: What problems does SVer solve?

SVer: SVer aims to tackle the issue of misusing allocated funds from the sender to the recipient. Take, for instance, the education sector, where some schools may provide allowances to students for specific needs like clothing, computer equipment, and food. Unfortunately, these funds often don’t serve their intended purpose once received. Similarly, non-profit organizations face the challenge of individuals diverting funds meant for necessities like food and clothing towards less beneficial expenses.

To address this problem, SVer employs a smart contract on the BSV blockchain to earmark funds for a specific purpose. So, money a non-profit organization sends for food can only be spent on food. The transaction will only succeed if the funds are sent to a vendor registered for food.

CoinGeek: What are the next steps for SVer?

SVer: We have achieved significant milestones by building the web application and successfully testing the smart contract locally. As we move forward, our focus is on further enhancing the platform’s capabilities and preparing for a broader market launch.

Watch: sCrypt applications are proving how powerful Bitcoin is

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