First Gauntlet Events

We are happy to announce that the first local Blockchain Gauntlet events have been launched by region leaders in cities across North America including Toronto, Chicago, Charlotte, Washington DC, New York, Baltimore and Puerto Rico. These local hackathons focus on a diverse range of topics including, tech for regulation, women in tech, financial technology, among others. Every hack that is developed at each of these local hackathons can also be submitted to the Blockchain Gauntlet accelerator to compete for prize money and mentorship that can take the proof of concepts developed to the next level.

The first hackathon was this past weekend in Charlotte and was hosted by the Charlotte Blockchain meetup group. The Washington event starts today through a partnership between the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Women Who Code to “host a blockchain beginner hackernoon in partnership with the Blockchain Education Network’s global educational gauntlet”. The Puerto Rico event is being hosted by Jose Montero, the region leader for the Blockchain Education Network in Puerto Rico, and happens this Thursday.

The hackathon in Toronto and Chicago are planned as inaugural events and are called RegHackTO and the Chicago Blockchain Developers Conference, respectively. RegHackTO is being hosted by the Ontario Securities Commission’s OSC Launchpad, with support from MLG Blockchain Consulting, with a goal of having software developed to help simplify regulations. The Chicago event is in partnership with the Chicago Bitcoin Center and includes all the universities in Chicago including Northwestern, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Patrick Guay, the region leader of the Blockchain Education Network in Canada, lives in Ottawa and is travelling to Toronto to participate in RegHackTO and enter his hack into the Blockchain Gauntlet.
“The gauntlet is a very exciting event. Just like with blockchain technology, we have a decentralization of hackathons all over the world. Also, your hack will be showcased to high-level judges working in the industry, potentially sparking something special. It is definitely worth participating”, said Guay in a quote to the Blockchain Education Network. Guay recently won a prize at the Distributed: Health hackathon that was hosted by BTC Media in October.


BEN in London

#GenerationBlockchain at Blockchain:Money in London
#GenerationBlockchain at Blockchain:Money in London

It’s conference season again! This time, students from Blockchain Education Network met up at Blockchain:Money in London this Nov 6-7. To incentivize students to come out to the event, Keynote Events partnered with BEN to offer free student passes to the network. Upon receiving an outpouring of enthusiasm, 15 students from the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, and the US came out to the conference and split the cost of an Airbnb to maximize bonding-time throughout the extended weekend.

img-20161107-wa0003-2Executive Director, Dean Masley, started the conference as the first speaker – opening the question of what motivates #GenerationBlockchain to go above and beyond as exemplified in the Fall 2016 Initiative.


What’s up next?

Following Blockchain:Money, students of the BEN NL branch were inspired to begin planning a conference of their own. Keep your eyes peeled for June 2017 for the first BEN Student conference 😉


The Blockchain Gauntlet

The Blockchain Gauntlet: a month of blockchain hackathons and acceleration

BEN is happy to announce that throughout November we will be hosting Blockchain Gauntlet, a global blockchain accelerator, thanks to generous donations from Bloq, MLG and DIID and support from UnSung. The accelerator will be throughout the entire month of November. Local regions leaders are encouraged to host 24/48 hour hackathons during the month, where projects can also be refined and submitted to the Blockchain Gauntlet.

Physical hackathons encourage a special kind of high-intensity effort, by keeping the time limits tight yet offering easily accessible educational resources. That’s why we want to provide this experience to everyone in our network, even if they don’t have a hackathon occurring within reach. Region Heads in Chicago and Toronto have already begun to plan their local hackathons, and we’re welcoming more to host a local hackathon for their region.

The rules for the Gauntlet competitions are simple: maximum size of four people per team, with one physical ambassador per local event (in other words, ¾ can be remote). Projects from these physical hackathons will be evaluated by a group of expert judges and VCs, from the Gauntlet, who can improve your project’s ability to enter the market. In this way, submissions to local hackathons will have attention from the entire industry and support from a community of people who can take the projects to next level.

GOAL

We’re targeting this grassroots initiative towards the new students who jumped in our 2016 Fall initiative and we want to inspire them get active in the blockchain ecosystem and build something. We are bridging the gap: students who wish to experiment will have tools and key industry experts in the industry supporting their efforts. Register for the Blockchain Education Network at BlockchainEdu.org/welcome and join the #gauntlet channel.

If you want to be a judge, sponsor or have a toolkit you want developers to be able to work with, please reach out to contact@blockchainedu.org. If you are not from one of the cities who are hosting a hackathon but want to find a team, we allow remote submissions and still offer support in the #gauntlet channel.


BEM's done

Throughout October, members of BEN (the Blockchain Education Network) participated in creating an openly available educational course that introduces their peers into blockchain. So far, we have received submissions from people in across Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands.  

The purpose of the Blockchain Education Month (BEM) was to gamify the steep learning curve usually associated with bitcoin and blockchain technology. In September, we hosted our Bitcoin Airdrop which brought 250 students out to their local blockchain club to setup a wallet and receive their first bits. BEM is designed to continue the momentum and excitement that we generated during the Airdrop, and focus that energy to encourage students to learn the skill-set required to use this technology natively.

BEM received an anonymous donation to bring the idea to life and to incentivize our network with a bitcoin bounty board for helping with the creation of the syllabus. When students contribute content, they earn points for their work, which earns them a ratio of the reserve that has been set aside. In a way, students competed to gain “marketshare” of the course by creating quality content (in the form of slides and videos).

Like every student project, work and contributions didn’t start filtering in until right before the deadline. Despite this, BEM created 6 chapters worth of content, each containing 3-4 modules. We encourage anyone to use this content via the slides created and/or corresponding youtube playlist in their own classroom or presentation setting.

A goal of BEM is to help retain students whose interest in bitcoin and blockchain began during the airdrop. Jesse Xiong, a recently active member leading Delaware BEN engagement, organized a meetup of several students to spend a day in the library creating content and getting feedback from each other. Jesse said,

The framework that BEN had provided for members to contribute to BEM was straightforward and rewarding. The initiative aided in my efforts to reach out and bring together local BEN members to collaborate. Being with some of the most forward-thinking and innovative fellow students at the University of Delaware was so special and I can’t wait to contribute more to BEN initiatives.

Video Link: of Jesse Xiong setting up the #delaware #bem meetup.

Patrick Guay, who recently became the Ottawa region head for BEN, said

It’s the perfect way to get started with the blockchain technology. Students were first introduced to the technology through the airdrop, where we gave them a small amount of bitcoin to play around with. Now, thanks to everyone in the network, we provide a free open-sourced outlet for anyone to understand the inner workings of this technology. I hope anyone taking the course will understand the far reaching possibilities of the blockchain, as I did.

Patrick is a great example of how quickly a motivated individual can begin to contribute to BEN. His first foray into the industry was at the Distributed: Health conference last month in Nashville, where his team won a prize and now he is leading the charge in Ottawa.

We believe that by continuing to develop the roadmap for students to learn about blockchain and then get into the industry, we will have more stories like Patrick and Jesse who open up the path to others.

Submissions can be seen in a single youtube playlist. In November, we look forward to launch another exciting event, the Gauntlet. The end of the 2016 roadmap is the encourage students who have learnt about bitcoin to actually take their theory into practice and develop a decentralized application.