Winner! Distributed Markets Blockchain Hackathon
Josh Vorick and I competed in Atlanta's Distributed Markets Blockchain Hackathon on at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta on February 26, 2017. We wanted to build something that already had a community base that we could expand on. We also wanted to use existing blockchain infrastructure so we wouldn't have to re-invent the wheel. Taking a look at OpenBazaar, a decentralized marketplace which can be described as an non-centralized eBay, this peer-2-peer marketplace allows anyone to create a business, and sell their goods by exchanging products and services via Bitcoin. We wanted to expand existing business and allow for established shops to be able to receive loans from their community. By using the reputation of the business itself, we could provide allow business to request crowdfunds from their community in order to scale their business. Since this would require the need for a third party, we incorporated Ethereum Smart Contracts to help assist with being an intermediary for holding the money and releasing them when the goals are reached. Another challenge we had to overcome is that OpenBazaar only allows for Bitcoin wallets. The only way to exchange cryptocurrencies without having to create an account, and that has an existing API for this, was Shapeshift.io. Taking their API, would could convert Bitcoin payments into Ethereum payments, and add them to a smart contract. Once the terms of the contracts were reached, it would then convert ETH to BTC and deposit it to the respective wallet. We are happy to say, this brought us a victory in the hackathon. The judges were so impressed, that we were also awarded an extra opportunity to present at the Distributed Markets Blockchain Conference the following day!
I learned so much through this experience. Playing with truffle, EVM, and learning solidity in less than 24hours was very challenging, but very rewarding. Not sleeping to produce and present a product that can launch businesses farther was a tremendous rush of motivation for us.