The Internet of Things is almost here, and the winning IOTA hackathon projects are a small window into the future. A total of US$35,000 in prize money (fiat money, not crypto) went to the five winners of the IOTA flash hackathon. The contest started on 26 November. It invited anyone with the know-how to build solutions that use Flash to solve real problems.
In September, IOTA announced Flash Channels. Flash is a bi-directional off-Tangle payment channel which enables instantaneous, high-throughput transactions. In essence, they provide a way for parties to transact at high frequency without waiting for each transaction to confirm on the public IOTA network.
Later in November, the company announced the IOTA Foundation’s virtual hackathon for its Flash Channels protocol. Starting November 26th, the hackathon invited community members to build solutions that utilise Flash to solve unique and useful problems.
IOTA received numerous high-quality submissions making it extremely challenging to decide on the winners. The company ended up increasing the number of places that receive a prize from three to five. The prizes (in USD) for five positions were – 15000, 10000, 5000, 3000, 2000. Following are the winners:
FogNet — 1st Place
FogNet is the winner of IOTA’s Flash Channel hackathon. The project stood out as it embodies the decentralised vision of IOTA. Fognet uses payment channels in resource and bandwidth restricted environments to exchange data for instant payments.
It works by providing a way for a user to enter into a Flash Channel over Bluetooth and exchange tokens for data requests. While a seemly simple idea, their project extends further than the device shown in the video. They are hoping to combine all of the components of their entry into a hardware device to help decentralise the internet.
Generic Utility + Home Automation — 2nd place
The second place entry integrates IOTA Flash Channels into a population Open-Source home automation platform: Home Assistant. For eg. It allows a user to monetise a coffee machine which is attached to the automation system. While seemingly trivial, the integration he has created allows for monetisation mechanisms to be built for any of the over 950 supported devices on the Home Assistant platform. The integration has since been officially added to the Home Assistant code base
During the two months, the author has contributed code to the Flash Channels library, and he also created a stand-alone Flash enabled Server which has been used by other entries in the competition (source here).
Simlyn — 3rd place
The 3rd place brings together IOTA Flash Channels and Microsoft’s Azure. Simlyn allows for data to be ingested by Azure’s services and then consumed through a web interface in exchange IOTAs. The result is simplified ‘real time’ data marketplace, in which you pay per 10 packets rather than once for access to the data stream.
The documentation for this entry explains the architecture of the demo, and the video (here) comprehensively explains what has been created and how it works
WIOTA — 4th Place
WIOTA uses embedded hardware to create a WiFi Access Point that uses Flash Channels payments to charge users for their access to data by the minute.
The solution has access controls to kick users from the network that get behind on their Flash Payments. This project uses the great little server created by the 2nd place winner!
BitBounti — 5th Place
The last entry to get a prize is BitBounti. This entry (closed source) implements Flash Channels between Google Cloud and a cross-platform mobile application to enable users to sell their data to interested parties. A company can create demographic bound bounties that can be fulfilled by the user in return for IOTA tokens.
This touches on a topic that is of interest to the IOTA Foundation: personal data. The approach BitBounti has taken, confronts the value of personal data by allowing for it to be purchased.
IOTA’s global reach makes it challenging to have communities from around the world come and compete in an in-person hackathon. IOTA intends to conduct many more of such hackathons in the coming months.
The goal of the IOTA Foundation is it to build a flourishing Machine Economy, where machines seamlessly interact and transact with each other. Such events and contests bring it closer to its goal.