High School Team Wins Third Place in Blockchain Hackathon

The technology behind distributed ledger is already complex and to look for ways to enable several enterprise blockchains to communicate with each other is one of a kind challenge.

That’s exactly what a team of high school students has done when they won third place in a blockchain interoperability hackathon. Hailing from Bedford School in the U.K., the high school team won third place in the hackathon hosted by Clearmatics at the Barclays Rise fintech hub in London. Clearmatics is the one behind the project Utility Settlement Coin banking consortium.

The challenge arranged by Clearmatics was to utilize its Ion interoperability protocol to have two blockchains (such as ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric) to verify transactions, exchange data, etc.

The team of computer science students competed with blockchain experts from major banks like Barclays and Santander as well as startups such as Adhara and Web3j. The win of the high school team highlighted the diverse level of interest in the technology and the generational evolution happening with new partakers in the ecosystem.

The head of computer science at Bedford School, Dr. David Wild, stated that the team had no idea about enterprise blockchain technology just two days before the challenge.

Influenced by his experience dealing with educational software, the teacher recommended a smart contract design to share exam results between academies, university admission bodies, and exam boards, which would do so in a less fragmented and interoperable manner. The students decided to go with the pitch and between them developed a working solution utilizing the Ion framework.

Wild stated going to the blockchain interoperability challenge with an inexperienced point of view ended up useful and refreshing, adding that:

“If you are writing a piece of software say, you want somebody who is naive to use it because they tend to use it in the ways that you wouldn’t imagine.” 

While accepting the prize, one of the students expressed that the team was able to manage some of the steep learning curve going to and from the two-day hackathon.

“We learned quite a lot about Solidity and smart contracts on the train,” the student said.