Cooking the blockchain - 48 hours in Groningen

It’s been a busy and hugely successful few days in Groningen, where over 500 people, including 350 programmers, gathered to take part in the Dutch Blockchain Hackathon. The event attracted teams from all corners of the globe, ranging from Singapore, Hong Kong, India, the US and of course the Netherlands.

The atmosphere on 10 February was one of excitement and anticipation, as 55 teams readied themselves to develop innovative solutions to problems found in one of the five streams: digital identity, re-inventing government, international trade and business, the future of pensions and energy transition.

The Hackathon was officially kicked-off by special guest Prince Constantijn of The Netherlands, who stressed the importance of events like this for building communities and finding solutions to societal problems: “Blockchain has so much potential. We are desperately looking for trust in this world, because trust has been eroded. And blockchain has the potential to fill that void and create new trust, not just between machines, but also between people.”

Throughout the weekend, ING blockchain experts roamed the floor, talking to teams and offering their expertise. Participants were also treated to a masterclass by Toon Leijtens, senior architect, which proved hugely popular with the crowds. Around the rest of the room, programmers and designers tirelessly worked through the night on countless inspiring projects, ranging from a solution that makes smart contract decisions to enhance democracy, to identification apps designed to help refugees.

After a demanding 48 hours of participation, innovation and collaboration, the judges examined how each team had applied blockchain to their chosen problem and announced the winners. In the future of pensions stream, the winners were Ben2 and Nest-Egg, who developed a solution that helps overcome administrative hurdles and builds flexibility for customers to contribute to their pension from regular savings.

In the energy stream, team ToBlockchain used distributed ledger technology to bring P2P to the energy markets, while the Zissou team developed a solution to solve the trust issue between freelancers and clients in the international trade and entrepreneurship stream. Meanwhile, Social Fabric’s solution, which helps with identification without formal documents, has huge potential to help undocumented refugees consolidate information and assist governments with the growing crisis in Europe.

Overall, the event was an enormous success and the beers flowing through the hall at the end of the weekend were well deserved! It was hugely inspiring to see such a diverse group of engaged individuals come together using technology to find solutions to pressing global issues and we look forward to supporting future events.

Watch the video on YouTube (02:29m)