Database for lost dogs wins best in show at blockchain hackathon

3 Oct 2017

Image: Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock

A team that proposed a blockchain solution to the issues with pet identity and health records was named overall winner at the Blockchain for Good Hackathon.

After two days of hashing out ideas and code, 14 teams attempted to show that their blockchain-based solution had what it takes to win the crown at the recent Blockchain for Good Hackathon hosted at The Dock, Accenture’s global R&D hub.

The event was a cross-industry effort created by Accenture and Hyperledger, a Linux foundation open-source project to create a series of business blockchain solutions.

The aim of the hackathon was to get coders to develop some game-changing ideas and solutions for providing secure digital identities and sustainable, eco-friendly supply chains.

It turned out to be an international affair, with participants from a number of countries outside Ireland, including Germany, Russia and the US, who worked with mentors from Hyperledger and Accenture.

The entries ranged from temporary digital identification for Ireland’s homeless, to a decentralised smart contract system for overcoming wealth inequality in education through investors.

Blockchain hackathon Block K-9

From left: Daire Homan, Fergus Gordon, Christian Facey and Thiago Azevedo with David Treat, event co-host and managing director at Accenture’s global blockchain practice. Image: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

Best in show

However, it was the Block K-9 team made up of of Daire Homan, Fergus Gordon, Christian Facey and Thiago Azevedo that was named overall winner of the event, with a cash prize of €8,500 and a trip to Accenture’s Blockchain Centre of Excellence in France.

The group’s project aimed to prevent the euthanising of lost microchipped dogs sent to kennels by building a shared ledger on blockchain with their identity records.

The idea could also serve as a real proxy for what could be implemented on human identification and electronic medical records.

“The loss of a pet can be deeply upsetting for owners and there is a cost associated with identifying and managing affected animals, so we wanted to develop a means to utilise blockchain to help address this very real day-to day issue,” said Gordon.

“The event was an exciting challenge and an incredible opportunity to not only compete against, but also collaborate with such talented people from across Europe, Asia and the US.”

As a judge for the event, I was pretty impressed to see what could be put together in the space of two days.

Two of my personal favourites to miss out on the grand prize were Data Geeks, with their aforementioned solution to wealth inequality in education, and Green Blocks, a way for companies to trade carbon credits through a ledger operated by environmental agencies.

The event’s co-host and managing director of Accenture’s global blockchain practice, David Treat, added: “Blockchain technology is on course to revolutionise how the world exchanges value, information and material.

“This hackathon was geared to channel these innovations for humanitarian and environmental benefit, beginning with the right to identity and the need for environmentally sustainable supply chains.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic