MUBC Blockchain Hackathon Taking Over Miami University This Fall

Are you a big fan of blockchain technology? Or do you hear the word “blockchain” and think “Why do I keep hearing that word? Is that like Bitcoin?”

Either way, it’s time to change your world and step into the future with Miami University’s Blockchain Club. We were thinking about YOU when we planned Miami University’s first “Blockchain Hackathon” coming this September.

This Fall, Miami University Blockchain Club, (aka MUBC), will be hosting its first annual Blockchain Hackathon, dubbed the “Miami University Blockathon 2019!” The MU Blockchain Club is a young organization aiming to educate the rising professionals of tomorrow on what blockchain is, how it could affect the tech industry and business commerce as a whole in the coming years, and how they gain an intimate view on this emerging technology as it takes precedence.

Our hope in creating the Blockathon is that both educational and experiential for our members, while impactful to local organizations and students. Get ready for a weekend that can’t be missed!

What is the Miami University Blockathon?

The Executive team of MUBC smiles for the camera after a successful 2019 MU Blockchain Conference

The Blockathon will be a 3 day fully immersive hackathon, where students from Miami and other top undergraduates across the Tri-state area will travel to Oxford to learn and to create. This weekend is not just for Computer Engineering Students either. We are looking for people who share our passion to do awesome things with Blockchain technology.

The MUBC Blockathon will likely be hosted at the Farmer School of Business from 6pm on Friday, September 20th to 3pm Sunday, September 22nd (tentative). We are currently working on funding free registration, free food provided all weekend, and prizes worth over $1000 (with the help of sponsors), and looking for judges and mentors! We are currently working on developing the theme for this event, and connecting with a local company to help focus on an area and use-case of the Technology that our members can develop solutions off of.

The Miami University Blockathon will host the most engaged college students in blockchain technology. Investing in our event will be investing in the future generation of eager students in the field, which is the best talent you will find in the Midwest. We are expecting around 80–100 students from 12+ different majors from multiple universities that will gain a fundamental understanding of Blockchain and get real experience building valuable projects.

What is a Hackathon?

The term is a combination of the terms “hack” and “marathon”. This hackathon will consist of teams formed either beforehand or the first day of the weekend, a problem given to students, and teams working together to form solutions to the problem using the coding used in blockchain development. For the non-coders on the team, they will need to use their business skillset to deal with the problem/solution behind the prompt, marketing and developing the idea, and help the coders turn the idea into a presentable solution. At the end of the process, there are typically judges that will choose the winners, who are awarded with generous prizes.

What is the difference between this hackathon and other hackathons?

MUBC members win First place among colleges at Blockland Cleveland’s Blockchain Hackathon

Our club has some experience participating in hack-a-thons across the country. One in particular was the Blockchain Hackathon hosted by Cleveland State University and Blockland Cleveland Solutions, where students in our club (Desai, Karan, Jack and Ashton) won first place among colleges and third overall in the competition. This particular Hack-A-thon only had about 12 participating teams, and our goal is to create a bigger and better weekend.

To give another example, DataFest is a hackathon put on by Miami University. Datafest involved an entire weekend of over 100 students “huddled around tables and laptops in the Farmer School’s lower level, trying to find a story to tell in hundreds of megabytes of data.” The strongest teams included members with differing skill sets: programming, presentation, data analysis, organization, etc. In a similar way, Blockathon will huddle together both engineering students and business students to collaborate on a blockchain-based solution to a societal problem, and will need a diverse team of skills in order to succeed.

With our event, we want to focus in on the college demographic and give students a college experience they deserve. We don’t want this hackathon to be a one weekend experience, either. We want to turn these students into experienced developers and serial entrepreneurs. We have created a project wing in MUBC that is fully committed to turning concepts and prototypes into implementable solutions, and students into all-stars.

Why is it important?

One Forbes article says The Three Most Important Skillsets Every Employee Needs in 2019’s Digital Economy is Human Skills, Business Enabler Skills, and Digital Building Block Skills.

All 3 of these will be practiced, formed, and built during this fall weekend hackathon.

The ideas forged, and the solutions created this weekend have the potential to be extremely impactful.

One team will spur collaboration, collaboration spurs on one idea, one idea could spur an amazing business idea.

Why do we need YOU?

We as a club cannot run a successful event like this on our own. We are looking for judges and mentors that are around the Greater Cincinnati Tri-state Area to help students create their best solutions. Mentors can sign up to be at the event Friday afternoon or Saturday during the day (September 20th and 21st), while judges can be there Sunday, 22nd 11am–3pm. Lastly, we are still seeking additional sponsors to cover expenses like food, t-shirts, and prizes. We are really looking for our participants to have the best possible experiences, and this can only happen through proper participation from local partners.

If you are interested in helping out as a sponsor, judge, or mentor for this event, we would love to talk to you. Sign up with this form, or email us at mubc@miamioh.edu. Any assistance you can give would be incredibly helpful!

What is Miami University Blockchain Club?

You may still be wondering what it is we actually do besides Hackathons at MUBC. We were founded in 2017 by Patrick Young, Billy Becker, Jake Salerno, Dana Schwartz, and Spencer Applebaum. We started by creating an atmosphere around campus that was eager to learn more about this fascinating technology, and provided the spaces and meetings to do so. We quickly grew to around 200 members, blowing other Blockchain University Organizations out of the water. Recently, we have shifted into providing an all-around Blockchain Ecosystem experience for our members, who we know will someday be leaders in their fields. This semester we have identified our core values as a belief in:

  • Building future leaders through knowledge and innovation of the Blockchain Ecosystem
  • Providing professional hands-on experience and advanced blockchain insight and education
  • Connecting future leaders at Miami University with the Blockchain Ecosystem, with a focus on Blockchain startups.

With this, we knew that a Blockchain Hackathon would be the perfect event for our organization to dive into to fulfill our beliefs, and do our part in creating a vibrant and experienced Blockchain community at Miami University.

Our Proven Event Success: 2019 MUBC Conference

Michael Hiles, CEO of 10XTS opens the Conference with an intro to Blockchain

MUBC has hosted numerous successful events in the past. One most recent was the 2019 MUBC Conference hosted by MUBC that brought in powerful speakers from across the globe.

The day-long conference brought more than a half-dozen industry leaders and experts to the Wilks Theatre in the Armstrong Student Center to talk about blockchain, its uses, and its future in the business and technology sectors. Speakers from the event included:

There are many more that can be found on our youtube playlist. Ashton Barger, MUBC President, spoke about the event, “One of my favorite things I heard from speakers was that our event was very professional and up to the status of other large conferences like Blockland Cleveland.”

We have hosted many other speakers, meetups, and educational workshops, including the teaching of Solidity, as well as Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. These have been extremely beneficial for our club members as we have the resources to help build the future leaders in this blockchain ecosystem and value proficiency in the subject. Follow us for updates on our LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube!

We are so excited for this Blockathon! We hope you will join our budding Miami University organization on solving real-world problems with the most bright-minded students and future leaders of tomorrow.

Written by Johnny Giroux, member of MUBC Research Blog Team. Edited by Ashton Barger, President of MUBC.

Blockchain Initiative of Miami University in Ohio!