2018 Blockchain Buildathon

Various teams ponder their solutions at the area's first UB Blockchain Buildathon.

Student teams ponder their technology solutions at the region's first Blockchain Buildathon, hosted by UB and the BNMC.

UB Blockchain ThinkLab collaborated with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to host the inaugural Blockchain Buildathon. (April 13-15) at Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in downtown Buffalo.

The primary goal was to engage the community of students and local businesses in learning and building applications for the blockchain technology.

Competitive Model

 The six majors sponsors (Moog, M&T, CTG, Praxair, Rich Products, ValueCentric) provided the use cases to be solved. Participants used the Ethereum blockchain platform for building the blockchain solutions.

Topcoder provided the platform for project submission and judging. Teams of participants worked on the blockchain solution for the use cases. The businesses that defined the use cases selected a winner and a runner-up team for their use case. 

Event Details

April 13: There were 81 participants including students from UB, NCCC, UB alumni and local practitioners. They formed 20 teams. Businesses explained their respective use cases and the teams of participants then chose the use case of their interest.

April 14: The teams worked on designing and implementing solutions in Solidity smart contracts and decentralized applications. Sponsoring businesses were well represented throughout the event. They answered any questions participants had about their use cases. Fireside chats with the sponsors publicized the history and mission of their organizations.

April 15: By mid-day,  the participants had submitted their design documents and project solutions, and given their presentations. Representatives from Topcoder platform helped students submit their projects. They also facilitated judging by hosting a judging rubric. Teams presented their use cases to the judges from the sponsoring companies. Each company sponsoring a use case decided a winner and runner-up. Organizers (Sam Marrazzo, BNMC, and Bina Ramamurthy, UB) handled the judges choice, selecting an overall winner and a runner-up.

Use Cases and Teams

Business Use Case # of Teams
Moog Enteral Nutrition 3
M&T Third-Party Risk Management 4
CTG Home Monitoring Health Device Data 4
Praxair Supply Chains for Semiconductor Chip Manufacturing 4
Rich's Frozen Food Supply Chain Traceability 3
ValuCentric Supply Chains with Data Privacy Concerns 2

Project Statistics

  • 180 people applied to the event (showed interest) and 81 participated.
  • Participants were mostly UB grads and undergrads; some local IT practitioners and UB alumni also competed and were successful in completing the use cases. 
  • Three UB schools represented: 
    •  School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 
    • School of Management, and 
    • Jacobs Medical School collaborated for the event. 
  • 30+ representatives from local businesses engaged with the students in the context of this event. 
  • 20 teams of four members (average) each competed. 
    • 17 teams submitted their code base and documentation for judging. 
  • 60% of the teams (12 of the 20) included at least one woman. 
  • Technologies included: 
    • Ethereum blockchain 
    • smart contract in Solidity languages 
    • decentralized application stack 
    • private-public key encryption algorithm 
    • special features such as ERC20, Oracles, events and Bloom filters 
    • IPFS. 
  • Participants learned about the emerging technology in preparation for the event. The businesses providing the use cases received a quick solution to their challenges. They also got a chance to assess the relevance of blockchain technology applied to their needs.