Developing a blockchain app is not that difficult, says man behind hackathon

Getting into blockchain app development is not as difficult as people make it out to be, as the resources to do so are available to everyone, says Andrew Tudhope, a lead architect and mentor at blockchain production studio Linum Labs.

“Anybody with university education and with further education is more than capable of scaling skills up by looking for and using the resources,” said Tudhope, speaking ahead of The Unlock the Block Blockchain Hackathon 2018 which is set to kick off next week Monday (22 January) in Cape Town.

He believes the barrier to entering blockchain development for many is more “psychological than real”.

“People think it’s hard to code,” he said, adding that although coding on bitcoin is difficult, specific and complex, people can easily learn to code smart contracts on Ethereum, as they are based on popular languages like JavaScript, C and Ruby. “It (Ethereum) is easier to pick up.”

Tudhope advised those looking to start blockchain app development to start with JavaScript, Truffle and to look at Crytptozombies, an free interactive code school that teaches how to build games on Ethereum.

He said that blockchain trends to look out for in 2018 include hyperledger technologies which are used in the integration of legal contracts with smart contracts.

Another trend he reckons would likely come to the fore this year is IOTA, an open source distributed ledger optimised to provide secure communication and payments for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The Unlock the Block Blockchain Hackathon 2018 will kick off next week at Rise Cape Town

The 10-day event is being held in collaboration with the UCT’s African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management (AIFMRM).

Linum Llabs head of operations Devon Krantz said the gathering aims to “encourage positive development of blockchain technology in Africa through participants that may not have previously had access to the resources that will enable them to grow their skills and to learn”.

“There are a lot of hidden gems in Africa,” added Krantz.

She said the event will include a five-day digital bootcamp where participants will get access to world class speakers, industry leaders, mentors, networking opportunities and other knowledge development resources.

To make the event more inclusive, the company has offered to cover the expenses of those participants who stay outside Cape Town, she said.

She said the Linum Labs had received “hundreds of applications” for participation at the hackathon and has selected 80 participants from around the globe who she said “are working towards learning how to build decentralised applications on the blockchain”.

The winning team at the hackathon will receive R100 000 in prize money for their working prototype. The competition, she said, will be based on use cases laid out by the sponsors and partners of the event.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held on 1 February.

The hackathon will also feature a half-day symposium on blockchain technology, with presentations by experts. Krantz expects the hackathon will become an annual event.

Daniel Mpala


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