by Joseph Young
Kshitij, the annual techno-management fest of IIT Kharagpur, one of India’s premier technical institutions, has partnered with the country’s leading Bitcoin exchange BTCXIndia and India-based blockchain data platform Blockonomics to host a nationwide Blockchain Hackathon.
Computer science students attending IIT Kharagpur will be participating in the hackathon. These students are considered to be the most elite undergraduates in the country, having achieved an All-India rank of 300-400 out of 1.5 million students. In other words, the top 0.0002% of the most talented students will be joining the competition.
Contestants are expected to develop decentralized applications using the Bitcoin blockchain technology on platforms of their choice. The hosts of the event suggested that the participants use the APIs of Blocktrail, BTXIndia, BitcoinAverage and Blockonomics to create easily applicable technologies, such as a blockchain-based messenger.
The projects submitted to the panelists will be judged according to various criteria which includes clarity of user interface, code documentation, installation instruction, code readability, quality of design and speed of the application. As the contestants are required to create decentralized blockchain-based applications, the panelists will focus on the efficiency of the application and its use of distributed ledger technology.
The hosts of the event proposed that the contestants could possibly design unique platforms such as a “block announcer, bitcoin transaction visualizer, bitcoin price/order book visualizer, bitcoin proof of identity, bitcoin notary, or blockchain message service.”
The Kshitji team further emphasized that the hackathon will be a much friendlier environment for developers and contestants, compared to traditional hackathons previously launched in the country. The hosts will provide workshops, mentoring and expertise in the Bitcoin blockchain technology to assist developers in creating the best possible applications using the recommended APIs.
“This is not work,” explains the Kshitji team. They want participants to have “plenty of time to relax, enjoy a coffee or a pint with amazing people.”
Blockonomics, one of the three hosts of the hackathon is fairly optimistic about the increasing awareness and adoption of Bitcoin in India. In an interview in August 2015, Blockonomics founder Shiva Sitamraju stated that merchants and freelancers are beginning to understand the concept of Bitcoin. He explained that an increasing number of freelancers and expat workers are getting paid in bitcoins from US-based companies.
However, Sitamraju emphasized that the Indian Bitcoin industry and community is still substantially smaller compared to other countries in the Southeast Asian region. By hosting various Bitcoin-related events such as Blockchain Hackathons, Sitamraju believes that Bitcoin could really explore in the economy of India.
“More education and good press coverage is necessary. India has a tightly regulated finance/banking sector and so people/government is a bit weary of new financial instruments. It is important to stress than bitcoin is not evil.” said Sitamraju.