Blockchain4Business was a bootcamp which took place from 15th – 18th July 2018 in Munich, Germany. This was the third event of its kind, designed for individuals and companies interested in hands-on learning and hacking of Hyperledger Fabric applications. This four-day event was organized by the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center,, the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and IBM. More than 55 participants, developers, and visionaries were selected to participate. We also welcomed more than 15 selected speakers and sponsors to the event. This time, the bootcamp was held on the 21st floor at the IBM Watson IoT Center in Munich, with beautiful views across the Bavarian city.

Building better IoT Products with the blockchain

The goal of this event was to show participants how easily they can set-up and use IBM Cloud and the IBM Blockchain Platform. We provided expert coaching to the teams, consisting of IBMers and IBM students from IBM Zurich Research Laboratory in Switzerland, the IBM Blockchain Garage in Böblingen, the Watson IoT Developer Advocacy team in the United States and United Kingdom, as well as our own local University Relations team.

Our competing teams developed and connected Hyperledger frameworks to real products and coded a front-end to display during the event. Participants were provided with Raspberry Pi’s, HiKey hardware sets, sensors, actors, and physical products in order to build their applications. Every team worked with our IBM Cloud, Blockchain, and Internet of Things offerings. The feedback that we received was solely positive.

“I didn’t know that IBM provides such great tools which make the set-up and operations of a Blockchain network very easy” – said one participant.

Day 1
The camp started with a short introduction to the hackathon and six unique business challenges. These real-life challenges were proposed by various different companies such as Adidas, also located in Bavaria, Germany. From decentralized drone networks to self-managed parking, from supply chain tracking systems to insurance use-cases for farmers, the mix of attendees and challenges provided a diverse range of projects. Our participants formed 6 teams, based on personal interest and expertise. The hackers completed team-building exercises, brainstorming, and then began working on their challenges.

Tech talk at Blockchain 4 business bootcamp
Development Set-up Tech Talk from Jannick Eisenhardt and Marvin Wiegand

Day 2
We began the second day by exploring the latest in Blockchain news, examining the legal viewpoint and disruptive nature of the technology. Throughout the event, there was a scheduled combination of theory and practice, with many motivational speeches from investors, founders, and developers. Some teams had defined their use-cases and even began ordering additional hardware or started prototyping.

“We learned, networked, coded, and worked a lot during the event.”

Day 3
The teams made fantastic progress; on the third day the focus moved towards prototyping. We had a special visit from Sherri Thomas, head of the Watson IoT Center in Munich, who gave us more insight into the world of IBM Watson IoT. Each team gave a 7-minute update, which the jury provided valuable feedback on. The hackers still had enough time to act on this information before the final pitch on the last day of the bootcamp.

From left to right: Sarah-Denise Schmitz, Tudor David, Jannick Eisenhardt, Brian Innes, Marvin Wiegand, Jens Jelitto, Gero Dittmann, Sherri Thomas, Meinrad Much, John Walicki

Day 4
We began Wednesday with extra training on topics such as NFC and decentralized access in an IoT world. Then the teams focused on preparing for the closing event. Each team pitched their final presentation to the jury, this time in just 3 minutes. Each team gave a fantastic performance: there was a mix of recordings, live demos, business slides, and a great deal more. The jury evaluated each team based on the following four criteria: the innovativeness of the product or service, the true value and unique selling proposition, the need for blockchain, and finally the quality of the pitch and presentation material.

The RadiantX team won 1st place with a Hyperledger Fabric based solution for nuclear power plant supply chain tracking. In 2nd place was CREDITTRCKR, with a solution to track real estate mortgages in order to prevent the next sub-prime crisis. 3rd place was awarded to StoryGlory who developed a self-publishing platform.

Blockchain4business Winning team with coaches
Winning team RadiantX with coaches

After 4 days of intense hard work, a whole lot of caffeine, and not much sleep we can proudly say that we have achieved our initial goal. It was encouraging how positive the feedback from our participants was.

“I was very thankful working and talking to experts and learning so much within this short time!!”
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“Get together, formulate an idea, move fast, break things”

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Special thanks go to Jens Jelitto, Martin Maehler, Sarah-Denise Schmitz, Marvin Wiegand, John Walicki, David Tudor, Brian Innes, and Jannick Eisenhardt who made this a very successful event.

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