Blockchain Hackathon: Making the Philippines a “Blockchain Bayan”

Developers, entrepreneurs, and students filled the Amihan Innovation Center at the Orient Square Building this past weekend for a Blockchain Hackathon hosted by Amihan Global Strategies and Hyperledger, a project of the Linux Foundation. In celebration of Blockchain Week Philippines 2017, the hackathon was centered around solving a Philippine problem using the decentralized technology.

Hyperledger leaders Julian Gordon (VP of Asia Pacific) and Tracy  Kuhrt (Community Architect) kicked off the hackathon on Saturday with welcome remarks for the fourteen registered teams.

“Use these technologies, as you go forward, to really kickstart what you’re doing,” Kuhrt expressed. For the next few hours, the teams did just that, creating platforms that ranged from blockchain-based electoral voting systems to blood donation networks. The teams created a range of solutions from good governance, disaster response, education, healthcare, and small business financial inclusion.

On Sunday, each team had four minutes to present their product and/or platform for a chance at the P50,000 grand prize. Judging was based on four criteria: quality of idea, implementation of idea, potential impact, and completeness of solution.

Noel del Castillo, a member of the RxVault team, enjoyed a four-year hiatus from hackathons before attending the Blockchain Hackathon. Intrigued, he put together a team and dived into the event for three reasons: one, to force himself to learn blockchain from Amihan and Hyperledger experts; two, to test a new skill set; and three, to inspire young developers under his wing. “Overall, the experience [was] very rewarding,” he summarized on his blog. “I just hope someday, I can be in the same position and be able to help others as well.”

He’s on the right path. His team, which built a platform centered around authenticating medical prescription from doctors, won Judge’s Choice. EduChain, a blockchain platform created to store, gather, and exchange educational information, was awarded People’s Choice.

“There’s some great, great talent here,” Gordon said at the end of the awarding. The products and platforms that took form at the hackathon were testaments to the potential of the Philippines in the hands of innovative, collaborative Filipinos.

Winston Damarillo, the Founder and Chairman of Amihan Global Strategies, echoed Gordon’s statement. Having built Amihan and other tech start-ups throughout the past few years, he stressed the importance of recognizing events like the Blockchain Hackathon as means for progress and not merely ends to themselves.

In speaking things into existence, Damarillo concluded the event with a call to action that is perhaps greater than one participant, team, or event: “We’re looking to forward to making the Philippines a blockchain bayan.”

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For more information on the participating teams and final projects, check out hackathon.io.