That’s how you hack it! HYPERHACK

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Have you come across a blockchain hackathon that is run on blockchain? Hyperledger India Chapter organized such an event, HYPERHACK in February 2020.

“All are welcome” at Hyperledger. Hyperledger India Chapter takes the core values rooted in India and believes in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” which translates to “world is one family.” HYPERHACK 2020 was open to anybody available to present their solution in the time the jury requested. The event saw overwhelming participation from across the Asia Pacific.

The winning team’s story is an inspiration. If you have ever felt that you need to learn a lot to start working on Hyperledger Fabric or  on blockchain technology in general, read through what the winning team has to say. Kent Lau and Masato Miyai took on a challenge and, eventually, went on to win the contest.

Kent Lau & Masato Miyai, Winners, HYPERHACK 2020

Masato Miyai, Winner HYPERHACK 2020

Kent Lau, Winner HYPERHACK 2020

“In March 2019, Hyperledger ran a bootcamp in Hong Kong and that really enthused me to get more involved in learning Hyperledger Fabric. I spent the whole bootcamp trying to install Fabric because my laptop had many problems. I could not get Docker to run, fabric-samples build-your-first-network (byfn.sh) would not complete the unit tests, and I reinstalled Ubuntu 5 times overnight. These frustrating events led me to corrupt my grub file so that my laptop would not even boot. I felt doomed to blockchain purgatory. I would get stuck in Vim and not know how to get out. 

After the Hyperledger Hong Kong bootcamp and prior to HYPERHACK, I attended a few local hackathons, but I was one of those attendees who no one wanted on their team. My performance was so bad that my teammates told me never to join another hackathon again. I had no programming skills, and I decided that the quickest way to learn about Fabric was to take the Linux Foundation Training course on Hyperledger Fabric Administration (LFS272). Finally, I managed to install and run byfn. I felt confident enough to register for HYPERHACK.

The first round in HYPERHACK merely relied on a PPT, so I chose the topic of supply chain traceability. I was thrilled to be chosen for the final round, and I started adapting the labs from the Hyperledger Fabric Administration course  for the traceability requirements. What I thought would be a straightforward refactoring of byfn did not turn out to be so easy. I tried several different configurations, but I always ended up with problems running the chaincode. Time was running out, and the submission deadline was looming. 

The night before the deadline I had exhausted my ideas and patience for byfn. I clicked basic-network by mistake, and this seemed so much easier. Sure, it was not sophisticated, but the script seems comprehensible. I worked overnight to implement the track-and-trace architecture. There was a lot more that I had wanted to plugin, but I had run out of time. I submitted a simplified but fully functioning network and chaincode.

I had no aspirations for my submission since it was the bare bones of what I had envisaged in my PPT. I gave my teammate the usual platitudes of ‘we did our best’ and ‘it was a good learning experience.’ I did not attend the results announcement because I did not expect to win anything. I was surprised when my teammate messaged me that we had won. I did not believe him because I had never won any competition before. I called him and he assured me that we had indeed won. I still did not believe him until I received a congratulatory message from the HYPERHACK organisers.

Winning HYPERHACK has given me a lot more confidence and motivation to get better at Hyperledger Fabric and even branch out into Hyperledger Sawtooth. Exploring how to use my HYPERHACK prize of Microsoft Azure credits was a steep learning curve, but it has been pivotal for me in figuring out how to stand up a multi-node network of Fabric or Sawtooth with Kubernetes. I have received a lot of new clients and been approached by a number of recruiters due to the high profile of HYPERHACK. I wanted to give back to the Hyperledger community by helping “newbies” learn how to install and run the Fabric tutorials. I now contribute to the Hyperledger Healthcare Special Interest Group and Hyperledger Meetups and update Sawtooth documentation. I am currently focusing on getting certified in Fabric, Sawtooth and Kubernetes. Of course, I will be back for HYPERHACK 2021!” – Kent Lau

Hyperledger India Chapter would like to thank all our sponsors, participants, jury members, and volunteers. Find out all the information from 2020’s edition here in the Wiki.

Hyperledger India Chapter plans to hold  the second edition of the hackathon “HYPERHACK 2021” in March. Saintgits College of Engineering and Hyperledger Social Impact Special Interest Group have joined together in co-organizing the hackathon this year. Find out all the information here in the Wiki.

Looking forward to seeing all of you participate in the hackathon!

If you have any questions about the event, feel free to post to the Hyperledger India Chapter’s mailing list where community members involved with this event will be happy to help: https://lists.hyperledger.org/g/community-india-chapter/