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Last year, the IBM Developer Cloud and Blockchain content teams created KubeCoin, an experimental blockchain app that can be used at developer events to anonymously track an attendees’ footsteps and convert them into virtual “KubeCoins” which they can redeem for prizes.

Since then, the app has been used at 18 events in North America and Europe. I’m envious in that it was used quite a bit in Scandanavia last year. Participants who used it walked over 7 million steps and 5,000 km over 25 days of conferences. We had well over a thousand participants, and our idea was shared with tens of thousands of others.

The app will be used again this weekend at Developer Summit 2019 in Istanbul. Lucky app, to travel so far.

Each time KubeCoin is used at an event, there is a new set of merchandise that a participant can exchange their footsteps for. Rather than display mismatching photos of the objects, I started drawing the items to a similar palette and style for each event’s swag store. You can see them below — most were drawn quickly between meetings or at the end of a day. Always a fun little project to return to. It was neat to see how the objects accrued on my Adobe Illustrator art boards.

KubeCoin prizes

Even this swag is inventory controlled on a blockchain. Retail stores likely don’t have this level of inventory control! In our case, we set it up to demonstrate the technology and to show that it can be done quickly. Of course, this sophistication is unnecessary for our needs, but the Hyperledger architecture allowed us to segment independent events quickly and easily on a Hyperledger Fabric. Many people (most of whom have probably never actually implemented blockchain before) argue that the technology is theoretically overkill, but in my opinioin the concepts are important to understand right now. We made our system open source to show how we did it.

Each time the app has been used at an event, we’ve learned something new about it: We’ve fixed bugs, improved the user experience, learned about conference habits, or thought more deeply about the use of blockchain. Even though we aren’t working on the app very much at the moment, it still makes conference appearances. The Hyperledger Fabric has been running for over a year now. A little engineering goes a long way!