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Developers Worldwide Compete in Second Coinbase Bitcoin Hackathon


In an attempt to incentivize more Bitcoin and blockchain applications, Coinbase has announced the second edition of its Bitcoin Hackathon. Developers will compete for $70,000 worth of prizes going to five winners, with one of them having the chance to win a spot in a BoostVC accelerator class.

According to the announcement page, Coinbase is looking for “apps which highlight new use cases for Bitcoin, making bitcoin easier to use for wider audiences. Your app can be bitcoin-focused, or it can use Bitcoin technology to power the user experience.”

The goal is to have a product that is demonstrates a new use case for Bitcoin or simplifies the use of Bitcoin.

“Basic products like consumer wallets and merchant tools are more broadly adopted than ever, but we’ve only scratched the surface of Bitcoin’s full potential,” said John Yi, a Product Manager at Coinbase, in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.

The event will be judged by members of the Coinbase team as well as Adam Draper of BoostVC, Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, and Gavin Andresen, the Chief Scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation.

This hackathon doesn’t require use of the Coinbase API and is open to developers from anywhere in the world. All apps must be submitted by May 19th, 2015.

“Events like BitHack V2 inspire new ways to use bitcoin and the blockchain, ultimately allowing more people in more places to store and exchange value; in ways that are not only more efficient, but that in many cases simply weren’t possible before bitcoin,” Yi said.

The winner of the first BitHack in 2014 was CoinPlanter, a “mobile Bitcoin geotagger that allows you to share, store, or hide bitcoins based on location.” In that first event, there were more than 100 app entries, and three of them won.

But what makes this year’s prize so much more lucrative is that one of the five winners will also receive seed funding from BoostVC, which has branded itself as a bitcoin-only venture capital fund. That winner also will receive mentorship and housing along with the seed funding which is valued at $50,000.

Anti-Coinbase Sentiment on Reddit

With an announcement like this, it would be easy to assume that bitcoiners around the world would be interested. But according to a thread published by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, every attempt at sharing the article was unpopular on the Reddit forum r/bitcoin.

“Combined up and down votes came to a total of 0,” Armstrong wrote, referring to the first post about the Hackathon, “along with a nice ‘F— off Coinbase’ message.”

He went on to expand on a few of his theories about why an announcement that he described as “you can literally build any cool app that uses bitcoin in any way and we will give you free money” would be unpopular. The first was that Coinbase’s submission had been wrongly flagged by a voting ring detection algorithm for receiving too many upvotes from the same location. The other is that someone had designed a bot network that deliberately targeted submissions about Coinbase. Or “There is some explanation I haven’t considered,” he wrote.

Regardless, Coinbase is providing tens of thousands of dollars to create new applications that could take bitcoin mainstream.

Image via Liran Mimon / CC BY SA 3.0