Blockchain takes the spotlight at Matheson hackathon

9 Nov 2017

From left: Integra Ledger CEO David Fisher; Matheson partner Rebecca Ryan; Lory Kehoe, director and EMEA blockchain lab leader at Deloitte; and Matheson partner Barry O’Connor. Image: Matheson

Law-focused blockchain hackathon saw participants flex their creative muscles.

Last weekend (3 to 4 November), almost 90 people attended Ireland’s first ever blockchain hackathon focused on law and finance in Matheson’s Dublin office.

60 external attendees – from students to financial and tech workers – and 30 Matheson employees pitched their novel uses of blockchain technology within legal and financial services.

Michael Jackson, managing partner at Matheson, welcomed attendees to the weekend of innovation and excitement. Mentors at the event represented IBM, Deloitte, Aid:Tech, Bank of Ireland and Integra Ledger.

The pitches at the event varied from a distributed energy grid to a smart contract system for housing rental. Teams voted on the best ideas and spent the two days of the hackathon fleshing them out and considering the most effective implementation methods.

Judges looked at the projects through three key lenses: creativity, innovation and feasibility.

UniBlock comes up trumps

The winning team was UniBlock with a way to use blockchain to legitimise qualifications, by developing a secure and immutable validation mechanism for professional qualifications for universities and workplaces.

On the Friday night, Deloitte EMEA blockchain lab chief architect Antonio Senatore described blockchain as second only to the internet in terms of its innovation and potential for revolutionary impact.

On Saturday, attendees enjoyed a presentation and live blockchain demo from David Fisher and David Berger, CEO and CTO of Integra Ledger, respectively, followed by an address from Eoghan Stack, CEO of DCU Ryan Academy.

An illuminating weekend of blockchain innovation

Rebecca Ryan, partner at Matheson, described the event as “illuminating”, shining a spotlight on what she views as “a new age of technological advancement”.

She added: “Exploring how technologies like blockchain will change how we shape and organise our society is an important first step in embracing change and moving with it.

“As lawyers and advisers to top clients across a broad spectrum of sectors and industries, we are collaborating and learning from experts across different fields of knowledge to ensure Matheson is always at the forefront of change.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects