Disruptive Ideas Emerging in EtherCamp’s Major Global Hackathon
The second major EtherCamp hackathon kicks off in just a matter of days with ideas that range from practical blockchain applications to ambitious overhauls of societal institutions.
Tomer Kantor, co-founder at Proof of Work Media and a close associate of EtherCamp, said the team is looking forward to watching the hackathon camps build upon their initial ideas as the competition progresses.
“There are so many ideas that have excited us, and there are definitely some firm favourites amongst the team,” Kantor said.
“The thing that really excites us . . . is that no matter what our personal views may be, it’s the community that gets to decide [the winner].”
Ideas From the EtherCamp Hackathon
Freeing the Internet: Decentralized DNS
Differentiating itself from other hackathons, EtherCamp’s competition takes place entirely online, something competitor, Pax founder, Philip Saunders, was drawn to.
“I think EtherCamp has an interesting model,” Saunders said, “One of my developers is in Prague and another is in Switzerland, so the [online] format suits us.”
Saunders’ team has submitted the ambitious idea of creating a decentralized DNS (Domain Name System). The DNS is an integral layer of the Internet, translating hostnames into IP addresses that can be accessed by people surfing the web.
A timely idea, gaining traction after the recent Dyn DNS server attack that caused many major websites to go offline for hours, the project, titled Nebulis, aims to build a new domain directory using the Ethereum blockchain and the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) — an alternative to the currently-used HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) system.
Nebulis, according to a blog post written by Saunders, will make DNS records more secure through its Ethereum and IPFS implementations, making it less vulnerable to attacks like the one suffered by Dyn in October.
“There have already been ‘proof-of-concept’ projects in the blockchain DNS space,” he said, “so I see Nebulis as a solution targeted at the real world.”
As a long-term goal, Saunders and his team aim to secure enough revenue and investors to build a web browser called “Nebula,” which will support IPFS, Ethereum and Nebulis.
Decentralized, Peer-to-Peer Insurance
Adding blockchain technology to an older concept of decentralized insurance contracts, Team Etherisc is using Ethereum-based smart contracts to replace the traditional insurance company.
Christoph Mussenbrock and Stephan Karpischek lead the camp, and both have years of experience in the finance and technology sectors.
“I think the insurance sector has so much potential for efficiency that blockchain can leverage,” said Mussenbrock.
The idea is presented as an alternative to what the team calls a “contradictory” approach of theoretically decentralizing insurance contracts while keeping some kind of central issuing company intact.
The camp’s goal is to build on an already-working proof-of-concept prototype by the end of the five-week “incubation” period so that it can be readily integrated into browsers.
A Decentralized Political Party
“Currently the political system is undergoing a crisis of trust in many countries,” said Jan Brejcha in an idea submission for a decentralized governance model.
Conceptualizing the system as a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), the camp theorizes that decentralized, blockchain-based political parties can provide governance to societies in a way that improves citizens’ well being while diminishing corruption.
With a goal of creating a working example of a trustless, democratic governance system, the camp has plans to expand the project into a fully-functioning system that can be implemented in real-world scenarios.
Camp leader Brejcha said this idea stemmed from a desire to create a “tentative solution” to common issues with traditional governance, such as lack of transparency, accountability and corruption.
Brejcha said he chose to compete in the hackathon “because of its focus on the Ethereum blockchain,” as well as its online nature.
With EtherCamp, Brejcha said, people can “form international teams,” which was especially important to him, adding, “there are not many blockchain experts locally” in his area.
These teams represent just a few of the 300-plus camps pitching ideas for the competition. Additional hackathon ideas can be found on the official EtherCamp website at hack.ether.camp/ideas.
This year’s hackathon kicks off on Nov. 17 and will run for five weeks with the winning camp securing US $50,000.
What are your favorite hackathon ideas so far? Let us know in the comments below
Images courtesy of Pixabay, EtherCamp.
Note: Evan Faggart is an employee of the Vanbex Group, which provides public relations services to EtherCamp.