ETHBerlin Top Projects, Ethereum Hackathons by the Numbers

Hello defiers! With ETHBerlin just ending, I’m dedicating today’s newsletter to do a closer look into Ethereum hackathons and some of the best projects at ETHBerlin.


DAOs and DeFi Dominated ETHBerlin Hackathon

Every month or so, Ethereum hackers will convene in a different part of the world to hunker down for two days and build a project from scratch. These hackathons will produce dozens of new dapps each time, and draw in several hundreds of people. If it’s true that Ethereum’s strength is in its community, these are the places to see its might.

Last weekend, one of these hackathons drew to a close in Berlin. ETHBerlin attracted 730 people and 88 project submissions, this year’s second-highest number of projects after Denver. Think about that: Over just one weekend, almost a hundred new Ethereum-based projects were created. Some (maybe most?) won’t work out, but some will.

About 410 projects have been submitted at Ethereum hackathons so far this year, on track to beat last year’s 448. Rather than seeing a linear trend on submissions as time progresses, the number of projects by hackathon apparently depend on the location. So far, Denver is drawing the largest number of hackers, followed by San Francisco. That’s probably because the event itself was larger, with about 2,000 attendees this year, half of which were hackers, according to the organizers.

Chart source: Devpost, Kauri, ETHGlobal

Out of the 88 projects, about one fourth were finance related. The next biggest category was DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), proving Ethereum has put the infamous 2016 attack behind it and is more than ready to continue innovating in this space. UX is another big one, and the focus on user experience this year is already paying off. I was a bit disappointed to see just two projects focusing on identity, the biggest missing key to improve DeFi and other apps.

I made this chart from a list of ETHBerlin submissions by categories created Ethereum subreddit moderator Ruvalm. It’s missing three submissions, but the full list can be seen here. I grouped lending, payments, trading, wallets, staking and savings into DeFi. Kyle Samani had a good summary of interesting projects in this thread, which Decrypt fleshed out.

These were some of the winners:

LSDai: A stabilizer for volatile DeFi rates

Alex Van de Sande described it best: “So ETH → WETH → MKR → DAI → cDAI → rDAI → and now.. LSDAI. An Eth Berlin Hackaton project, it allows you to bet on the future interest rate of the rDAI token, therefore creating a stable-revenue-stable-value synthetic token.”

LSDai creates a future on Compoun’s Dai lending rate, so that lenders are able to hedge against the decline of their interest, while speculators who want to bet on the change (up or down) of the interest rate, will take the other side. More details here.

RateLock: Fixed Rate loans for Compound

This project also tackles volatile interest rates. Instead of futures, it uses an on-chain interest rate swap order book system. Loans are backed by multiple counter-parties. When users are matched, lenders are given their share of the collateral in an ERC20 token. When the loan is payed back, lenders get a fixed-rate fee from the borrowers’ collateralized debt, and the rest of the stake holders are paid out based on how much debt was due at the time of the loan closing. More details here.

Hotspot me: Internet access from nearby hotspots

This was inspired from lack of Wifi access at ETHBerlin. It’s an app where users can get internet access through anonymous hotspots nearby, in exchange for micropayments. The team used state channels, which were able to transfer pennies with zero fees in a couple of seconds. More details here.

The next Ethereum hackathon is ETHBoston on Sept. 6-8, where I’ll be speaking in the DeFi panel and talking about my book at a meetup the Thursday before. If you’re used to going to crypto conferences, I really recommend coming to one of these events where you can actually see “crypto” getting built.