Consensus 2017: Smart Car Tech ‘BlockBox’ Wins CoinDesk Hackathon

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BlockBox won CoinDesk’s Consensus 2017 hackathon for its bid to make drones and smart cars safer to operate with blockchain.

Black boxes have long been used to collect critical data during crashes and accidents, as explained Samuel Brooks, one of the team members, during BlockBox’s presentation. But the team wanted to expand that idea to drones and smart cars.

“We couldn’t crash cars in here, but we could crash drones,” said team member Nick Addison during the presentation, talking through how Node.js, ethereum, Truffle, and Microsoft Azure were used to build the app. The event took place at NYC’s Rockefeller Center.

The drone “crash” triggered event details which were fed into an ethereum smart contract. The smart contract showed the exact location of the hackathon – i.e., where the “crash” took place.

The team also included contributors Tim Bass, Yiseul Cho, and William E. Bodell III, most of whom hailed from Australia. They joked that, during the two-day event, a few of them took naps due to some persistent jet lag.

The Consensus 2017 hackathon saw the work of developers, designers, and other contributors in professional services firm Deloitte’s 40th floor office. A total of 25 projects were created over the weekend – giving participants roughly 30 hours in total – amidst the backdrop of Manhattan and the Empire State Building.

BlackBox, hackathon

Other projects

Many contributors chose to tie blockchain with a mix of other up-and-coming technologies. Connected devices, artificial intelligence and microinsurance were just a few of the buzzwords invoked during the event.

Hackathon judges included Deloitte global blockchain leader Eric Piscini, CME Group blockchain lead Sandra Ro, Hyperledger executive director Brian Behlendorf, IBM’s Gary Singh, Microsoft Azure’s Cale Teeter, Swiss Re microinsurance specialist Paula Pagniez, ViewFin founder Eric Gu, and Wanxiang’s Rongge Luo.

There were many other ethereum projects presented, in addition to the apps that CoinDesk covered on Saturday.

To name just a few, Ethereum Remittance Network aims to send ether across borders; Ceremony is a smart city protocol using ethereum’s proof-of-authority; Akiles is a decentralized app that seeks to boost government transparency with the help of tech developed by startup BlockApps.

Others tapped a mix of different protocols. Microinsurance.io built an entirely new privacy-minded protocol over ethereum, Tendermint, and decentralized file-sharing protocol IPFS.

“This can be used for smart cities and everything else,” developer Michael Smolenski said.

The event also drew some developers who are relatively new to the blockchain space.

Team members from Dewmast – a project for warehouses that gather data with sensors – mentioned that they’ve been working with blockchain protocols for just two weeks. Their interest paid off, winning ethereum startup Consensys’s prize, which includes entry to an upcoming blockchain bootcamp.

Photo by Alyssa Hertig for CoinDesk

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