For people outside of the crypto-world, they may find the word ‘hackathon’ synonymous with computer crime. However, this portmanteau of the words ‘hack’ and ‘marathon’ does not carry an iniquitous association. It was coined in 1999 to represent a day or period of time where programmers and developers join together to create an environment of exploratory programming. Quite the opposite of iniquitous, hackathons are associated with progressive discourse. Often referred to as ‘hack day’, ‘hackfest’ or ‘codefest’, these hackathons have grown in popularity over the mid to late 2000s to bring about constructive change to new and developing technologies.
Hack.ether.camp, which started this morning, is considered the largest and lengthiest hackathon within the Ethereum community. Spanning across five weeks, teams will form and build real working products while judges and fans within the crypto community watch online and cast their votes on the best project. The winner of the project will receive a $50K grand prize (paid out from hackathon organizer, Ether.camp, and the hackathon sponsors) and the team will retain complete ownership of the product, equipping them with the foundation to become their own startup within the decentralized space. To facilitate this hackathon ecosystem of sharing ideas and creating teams, Ether.camp, the team behind Hack.ether.camp created what they call the Virtual Accelerator.
The Virtual Accelerator is considered a platform space that is used to generate and share ideas. Those who value the same ideas join together to form teams within the Virtual Accelerator, then they move on to product development. During their product development phase, the Virtual Accelerator acts as a system to attract early adopters to test out the project, thus helping the development team create their final working product. Early adopters could potentially turn into financial backers within the Virtual Accelerator using the Hacker Gold (HKG) Token System. Angel investors could also participate in the hackathon and fund these teams/startups by utilizing the HKG token system as well.
Each team working within the Virtual Accelerator will have a self-enforcing smart contract called the DSTContract (DST stands for Decentralized Startup Team) that guarantees the rights of each group that acquires HKG tokens. Ether.camp maintains that they will not hold any ownership over any startup working within the Virtual Accelerator space.
Due to Ether.camp providing the Virtual Accelerator startup incubator and abstaining from any financial ownership of each individual product, ETHNews asked CEO of Ether.camp, Roman Mandeleil, about the incentive to build this hackathon incubator. He stated that this Virtual Accelerator was only the first version and they want to watch and see how the platform evolves. For the second version, he proposed that they can charge different fees, provide consulting fees, run relevant ads or co-invest in the startups. Their current main goal isn’t to profit financially off the startups within the Virtual Accelerator, but to watch the ecosystem take form. Current platform expenses are covered by the Hack.ether.camp sponsors.
Ether.camp states that they hope to host these hackathons every six months, and possibly more frequently in the future as they continue on and see how the space evolves. In reference to not capping their Hacker Gold token crowd sale, Roman Mandeleil states that “We want to ensure that everybody that wants to take part in the event, will be able to do that. We have seen [a lot of] pressure as an outcome of a low cap. So we’re setting the cap high to ensure that there is no stress on the community to take time and decide if they want to take part [in] this. We want [participants to have the] option to obtain the Hacker Gold, the entire two-month window [of the hackathon], and prefer if people join only if they are completely confident about the platform.”
“Talking about value, we believe in open and uncontrolled markets. That is why we want to open the valuation of the project to the [whole] crowd, as wide as possible, and see what the estimation of the community is regarding our vision. The safety limit of 4M Ether is there for network safety reasons not as a target. We do see a lot of interest around the project but don't think the launch will go that high.”
So how does the tokenized system work? The Hacker Gold token system is the official token within the Virtual Accelerator and can only be issued once, with 100% of its total supply distributed to the investors of each team/startup. It was created to allow early adopters the ability to carry out preferred voting rights within the Virtual Accelerator platform. In essence, startup token holders can choose which ideas they want their funds to be issued to (unlike the system of DAOs). However, HKG tokens are not used to pick the grand prize winner. A separate voting smart contract called “Project Kudos” warrants who the team winner will be based upon votes called ‘Kudos’. Judges and community members have access to Kudos (a voting token) and they attribute those tokens to the teams/startups, purely for voting on the grand prize winner. Certain teams may attract more Hacker Gold Tokens than Kudos, therefore, it’s not the team that develops a lot of investors that wins, but who gets the most ‘Kudos’.
Mandeleil stated that Ether.camp is in the process of negotiating with several cryptocurrency exchanges to enlist the Hacker Gold token on their exchanges. “The intention is certainly to have a token that is openly traded.”