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NEO Global Development (NGD) hosted a series of hackathons in October and November, the last of which took place in Zürich, Switzerland on November 3rd and 4th. The hackathon marked the third of the NGD “European tour,” which also hosted hackathons in Rotterdam and Delft, Netherlands, and in Berlin, Germany, in the two weekends prior. The Zürich event was a 32-hour sprint that was to be designed around “identity” as the focus of the competition.

A total of five teams won awards for their project contributions. They included:

A total prize pool of 1,500 NEO and 4,050 GAS was distributed across the three events. The participants were ranked according to five factors: functionality, ease of use, stability, performance, and interface design.

Overall, the Zürich hackathon had an atmosphere of positive energy and collaboration. Niels Buekers of the DeepFake team stated, “it was great to be surrounded with so many people that were interested in blockchain technology. Everyone was helping each other out with technical issues, so it really was a collective growth-experience.

Another team noted those who participated at the hackathon were “highly qualified and determined to build the best possible solution.” 

First Place: NeoKey

The first place team, NeoKey, was spearheaded by Dominik Schöni and Andreas Gassmann. Dominik and Andreas already had a solid understanding of blockchain development prior to the hackathon, as they work for a company that specializes in crypto consulting, building smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps).

Going into the hackathon, Dominik and Andreas wanted to integrate NEO into a wallet solution they’d been working on, but had to change their focus once NGD stated identity would be the focus of the competition. NeoKey is an authentication and authorization system that allows users to access their NEO addresses by signing a message, similar to using “Login with Facebook/Google” account credentials on websites and traditional applications. After logging in, users are given access rights based on specific non-fungible tokens (NEP-11/NFT-1) they own on the NEO Blockchain, which can assign users different rights.

When asked if Dominik and Andreas aim to continue building on their hackathon deliverable, they responded, “the product is ready for use” but they “have a number of ideas on how to improve upon the concept and would love to develop it further.”

Second Place: What a Hack

The What a Hack team was comprised of five members, who all belong to a technology and marketing firm called what.digital. The five-member team included Mario Columbo, Luke Szkudlarek, Alessandro Allegri, Chris Bernat, and Kamil Tomczak. Before participating in the hackathon, the cumulative What a Hack team had previous development experience on the Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Stellar blockchain protocols and worked remotely as a global distributed team. The NEO hackathon allowed the five team members an opportunity to work in one location, on a project they hope will help what.digital further expand into China.

What a Hack designed a product called “BlockSelfie,” which utilizes user-taken selfies and the user’s location to verify identity.  BlockSelfie aims to offer a fast verification process that’s language agnostic, doesn’t require documentation, and is compatible across all mobile devices.

With regards to continued development, the team has stated they’ve “allocated resources to make improvements that [they] were not able to achieve during the hackathon.”

T-Third Place: DeepFake

The DeepFake team was comprised of Niels Buekers and Serge Hendrickx, both of whom have experience as Java developers. Prior to participating in the Zürich hackathon, the pair had minimal blockchain development experience, but participated in the Rotterdam and Delft Hackathon, taking first place.

For the Zürich hackathon, the team developed a platform where people can give consent for their faces and/or voices to be used in deepfake videos, to prevent identities being ‘stolen’ by video creators.

Looking forward, the duo will continue to build upon their deliverable from the Rotterdam/Delft hackathon as they see it as an interesting GDPR solution. Niels and Serge also stated they want to help the NEO ecosystem grow, both technically and non-technically. Following the Rotterdam/Delft hackathon, Niels authored an article called “How to Prepare for a NEO Hackathon.”

T-Third Place: Unithree

The Unithree team was comprised of two mechatronics engineers and two software engineers; Daniel Sánchez, David Gutíerrez, Matthias Bärtschi, and Jerónimo López (respectively). Prior to the Zürich hackathon, Daniel and David participated in the Blockchain Summit Hackathon in Bogotá, Colombia, where they won first place in the NEO challenge. To prepare for the Zürich hackathon, Jerónimo practiced using neon-js, and Matthias practiced developing on NEO using C#.

For their hackathon submission, the team developed the Unithree ID background check. The ID background check combines artificial intelligence for face identification, and blockchain to store decentralized data from users around the world. This decentralized data is that which can only be accessed by governmental entities or trusted private companies. The Unithree ID background check solution can be used to identify people with criminal records through an integrated security system that doesn’t require third party intervention.

The Unithree team found other hackathon participants friendly and a pleasure to work with. Unfortunately, Unithree will not continue to pursue the development of their identity solution as each participant is currently busy with their own projects.

T-Third Place: City of Zurich

The City of Zurich team was comprised of Alessandro Bonanno, Milos Constantini, Michele Frederici, Godefroy Schrago, and Ben Wolf. Prior to the hackathon, the majority of the team had vast experience developing with blockchain, and one teammate bringing a professional background in the business sector. The team joined the hackathon to explore the NEO blockchain and determine whether they should develop a new project on top of NEO.

City of Zurich developed an identity token, which provides necessary KYC/AML information of an individual linked to an asset. To do this, City of Zurich designed a NEP draft for a decentralized identity standard compatible with real-world centralized systems. The concept was aimed at simplifying initial token offering and public token sale processes.

The team iterated the hackathon was a “great experience” and each teammate learned a lot in the process. If resources and time allows, the team intends to continue building upon the project they created at the Zürich hackathon. Additionally, they are interested in participating in another NEO hackathon.

This article was updated on Friday, November 16th to include GitHub and LinkedIn information, and to add more details to the City of Zurich project.