Widespread adoption of blockchain technology is happening quickly, so there's no better time for your business to embrace it. One way to explore what blockchain can do in your industry while greatly benefiting your company is to host a hackathon. 

Of course, to host one, you're going to need a few hackathon ideas for blockchain technologies. If you're new to the concept, don't worry. Hackathons are simpler than they may sound.

Below, we'll discuss what a blockchain hackathon is. Then, we'll give you plenty of ideas that have worked for other companies in the past. Finally, we'll talk about the goals and benefits of hackathons, so you'll have a thorough understanding of this exciting concept. 

What Is a Blockchain Hackathon?

A blockchain hackathon is a live event in which people with a technical background connect with other experts in various fields to find innovative solutions to problems and challenges using blockchain technology. 

In a hackathon, coders and other tech experts often work in teams alongside professionals in HR, operations, marketing, and other business areas to solve an industry-specific problem. 

There are large-scale hackathons in all sorts of industries, like aviation, financial services, and healthcare. The company or industry group that hosts the hackathon usually provides a given challenge that hackathon teams need to find an answer to. 

Hackathons have a limited timeframe, and the company that hosts them typically awards cash or other significant prizes for the winners. The hosting company may also choose to use the hackathon teams' ideas in future products or services. And, they may decide to offer hackathon winners jobs within their company.

There are many types of hackathons that a company can choose to host, such as: 

  • Internal: only open to employees of the company
  • External: open to everyone
  • Online or Virtual: used when trying to capture teams across geographic regions and timezones
  • Offline or In-person: often used as part of a larger conference or event
  • Programming language-specific: centers around a specific programming language or API, like JavaScript or Node.js 
  • Demographic specific: aim to draw participants from a particular group such as high school students or women

15 Cool Hackathon Ideas for Blockchain

Below, you'll find a list of exciting blockchain hackathon ideas by industry. These ideas come from past hackathon events, current applications, and future-driven research.

Of course, they are just examples and meant to inspire your company's next hackathon event. As you'll soon see, blockchain applications are nearly limitless. 

1. Aircraft Maintenance 

Using blockchain technology to create a transparent and immutable record of maintenance work and aircraft parts could be immensely valuable in preventing mistakes that lead to aircraft malfunctions. 

In 2018's ComTrade Hackathon, the 2nd place team created something similar called Air Token, which made a recordable trail of parts and maintenance work valuable to future purchasers of the aircraft. 

2. Travel Ticket Resale 

Blockchain platforms could be valuable in creating a secondary ticket resale market. Passengers who can no longer make their flight or train could sell their tickets directly to other potential travelers. Blockchain would eliminate the potential for fraud by keeping an immutable ledger of ticket ownership. 

3. Location Data 

Airline companies need to locate lost luggage. Rental car companies often struggle to find lost keys. Really, all sorts of industries can benefit from location data, and blockchain can help.

The XYO network utilizes blockchain to deliver reliable and accurate location data. Using a network of interconnected devices, XYO can track the location of just about anything. And, because the records are on blockchain, the data is permanent and immutable, unlike GPS, which is relatively easy to hack.

4. Cryptographic Puzzles

During the 2019 Jobbio’s Codefest: Mastercard Edition, participants were challenged to use Mastercard’s blockchain API and platform to find clues and solve a cryptographic puzzle. This one-day hackathon tested Java experts to reveal a URL. Winners were awarded monetary prizes and interviews with Mastercard. 

Hosting this type of hackathon can help a company find new talent and test their technology. Mastercard used proprietary tech, which gave their blockchain API exposure. These hackathons are great ways for organizations to gain employees and market themselves.5. Farm Rating System 

At the 2017 Proffer Hackathon, hackers developed AgroChain, an ETH DApp that provides farmers and purchasers a transparent and fraud-free marketplace. Farmers can record their crops and expected yields, allowing purchasers to analyze their farm data and rate the farmer for credibility.

6. Food Supply Chain 

The food supply chain is ripe for traceability problems that can affect food quality and safety. Blockchain can provide food product provenance from the farm to the retail store providing secure data records on pesticide use, animal DNA, and more.

7. Agricultural Insurance 

Farmers utilize agricultural index insurance to manage weather risks. Through the use of smart contracts on a blockchain platform, local weather data could automatically trigger payments to farmers affected by severe weather.

Plus, data collected via farm machinery can automatically integrate into reports for the insurance company using a smart oracle. This could benefit risk reduction and make index determination and payouts much more efficient. 

8. Accountability In Pharmaceuticals 

At the 2020 MaxOnRow Hackathon, participants could follow five different tracks, one of which was Credential and Certificate Issuance. Seeing as the government can only tell if someone has COVID-19 through test results, attendees were challenged to develop a solution for government officials to quickly retrieve verified data. 

These results could translate to accountability in other areas of the healthcare industry. Pharmacists and doctors could more readily keep track of prescriptions, which could mitigate substance abuse. 

9. Medical Records 

There are many hackathon ideas for healthcare. For instance, our Hedera 20 Virtual Hackathon featured a social good challenge where people could solve an issue in healthcare or other social topics to win a 3D printer. 

For example, there has been great success with aiding world health issues, as we’ve seen with COVID-19, with hackathons like Reimagine Healthcare with Maxonrow. The goal was to help prepare healthcare for future pandemics with MedsLOCK, aiming to help governments find ways to implement social distancing, improving welfare programs for the most vulnerable, as well as virtualizing what the new future will be to ensure societal health.

Another idea for a healthcare hackathon would involve using the blockchain for medical records.

Currently, most healthcare providers don't have a way to view complete patient histories, which can impede the level of care patients receive. Blockchain applications could allow patients and providers to post patient histories securely, giving future providers easy access to patient records.

Right now, the Estonia government is piloting blockchain medical records. Patients carry an ID credential that can unlock their entire medical history at any place and any time. 

So, suppose they get in an accident somewhere far from home. In that case, the doctor that treats them will still have access to crucial medical information right away, including allergies and care directives. 

10. Responsible Mineral Sourcing 

Mineral sourcing is extremely valuable for several industries, but the mineral supply chain is fraught with crime and unethical practices.

Blockchain allows for transparency and traceability throughout the mineral supply chain. Purchasers can track minerals from certified mines, which helps rid the industry of criminals and unethical practices. 

11. Digital Wills

Increasingly, people are relying on cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, a traditional will and trust aren't set up to handle crypto and digital assets. And, losing your wallet password can be a genuine concern.

The Mywish platform relies on smart contracts to handle your digital funds if you can't access them. It automatically transfers your cryptocurrency to a family member or friend in case of severe illness, password loss, or death.

12. Shared Digital Wallets 

At the 2019 WCC Hackathon in Las Vegas, participants had the option to work with payment on delivery wallets. They could take a mobile wallet app and install sentinel SDKs. These SDKs would transfer a specific amount of the XYO token to the wallet upon first bound witness between the sender and recipient. 

So, if you want to send a child to the store, for example, you could list the store as a payment receiver for up to a specific amount of funds. The store won't be able to take more than the specified amount, and your child doesn't have to worry about carrying easy-to-steal cash. 

13. Blockchain Decryption

One of the benefits of cryptocurrency is the security of the blockchain. Hydrus7 hosted a hackathon to test the security of their blockchain algorithm. Attendees were to race each other to decrypt this “unbreakable” blockchain.

Blockchain decryption hackathons challenge those interested in cybersecurity, cryptography, information technology, blockchain enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs. Furthermore, it can help the organizer locate any flaws in their algorithm.

14. Photo Ownership 

Copyright infringement is a growing problem amongst online creators. Blockchain can help fix that by providing authentication for internet content.

Numbers protocol, for example, is a blockchain camera app that provides a unique and recorded verification number for every piece of media captured with it. Viewers can scan for the verification number when the creator or anyone else shares the media, ensuring there's no copyright infringement. 

15. Pay-Per-Use Media 

Subscription services are popular, but they can become costly for consumers. As a result, many are seeking out single, pay-per-use options.

Let's say someone wants to watch a single basketball game and doesn't need a full-blown season pass. A pay-per-use media option could allow that by running on ethereum or bitcoin. 

Currently, uRaiden provides a pay-per-use service for digital content which accepts ETH micropayments and allows customers to watch content online at an affordable price. 

Goals of Running a Blockchain Hackathon

Corporate hackathon ideas are varied and broad. Hackathons come in many forms for a wide range of industries.

Regardless of industry, though, most companies host blockchain hackathons with a few common goals in mind. They may want to drive innovation, discover top talent, market their brand, or engage with their community. 

Drive Innovation

A hackathon presents a real-world problem that blockchain developers must try to solve. Because the developers work with real-world industry leaders and professionals, they're often able to develop applicable, out-of-the-box solutions that would be hard to come by otherwise. 

Find Top Talent

Hackathons often offer large cash prizes for the best blockchain projects, which means they have the potential to attract new and seasoned industry talent. Hosting companies can easily reach out to these talented professionals with future job offers. 

Market Brand 

Blockchain hackathons, especially larger ones, can earn all sorts of press and attention, especially if they highlight a relevant global challenge, like food scarcity or supply chain problems.

Each time the press mentions the hackathon, your company's name will be beside it, helping to market your brand. 

Engage with Community 

The blockchain ecosystem is ever-growing, and there are constant additions. New startups, industry mentors, and seasoned corporate veterans can all engage at a hackathon. These fun, engaging, and exciting events are undoubtedly superior to standard networking options. 

Benefits of Hosting a Blockchain Hackathon for Your Company

Hosting a blockchain hackathon comes with substantial benefits, including building brand awareness, finding real solutions, and upgrading existing products. 

Builds Brand Awareness

Blockchain hackathons can create massive awareness for your brand. A large cash prize and a well-organized event are sure to get the community talking about your company. Plus, they're a great reason to put out a press release.  

Find Solutions

As hackers and industry leaders work together to find relevant use cases for the blockchain network, they're sure to come up with an idea or two that solve real-world problems. Whether it's a resale market for airline tickets or a way to authenticate valuable minerals, these solutions are genuine, and your company can benefit from them.   

Upgrade Existing Products 

Many companies use blockchain hackathons to find upgrades for their existing products. They do this by including their current products as part of the challenge. 

For example, a company might ask that hackathon teams use the ethereum blockchain because they have other products that rely on it and want new connecting ideas. 

Or the company might be more specific. In Money20/20's 2015 hackathon, they asked hackers to use Feedzai's API specifically to build a fraud detection solution for retail merchants. 

Final Thoughts 

Hackathons have generated all sorts of creative solutions across industries. Beyond the ones on this list, there are hackathon ideas for bioinformatics, technology, mathematics, public utilities, and more! 

So, it's no wonder that blockchain hackathons are growing in popularity. Just check out popular hackathon listings on sites like GitHub or Devpost. You'll find hundreds of past and recent hackathons, which should spark plenty of ideas for hosting your own.  

Regardless of your industry, a hackathon can benefit your company in many ways, and the ideas for blockchain hackathons are nearly endless. Anything that can benefit from a permanent, secure, and authenticated ledger will profit from blockchain technology. And when you start to think about it, that's just about everything! 

If you’re ready to get started with organizing your hackathon, contact us. Our team is ready to help you!