Canadian market data multinational Thomson Reuters is staging a weekend-long blockchain hackathon in London’s Canary Wharf district, the financial heart of The City, in partnership with the Ethereum Foundation, Imperial College of London and University College London, along with technology partners Oraclize, Crypto Compare and Ethcore.
A panel of six judges will evaluate the work of participants and award two prizes, the first for Data-Driven Smart Contracts, sponsored by Thomson Reuters, and the other for Ethereum Smart Contract Security, sponsored by the Ethereum Foundation.
Security is a bit of a preoccupation of the Ethereum Foundation’s in the wake of the catastrophic US$60 million hack of the DAO, a very large theft from the largest ever amount raised to date for a crowdfunding campaign, at US$117 million, the idea behind which was to build a decentralized venture capital fund built on the Ethereum blockchain protocol.
The Thomson Reuters event, called the HackETHon, will bring together members of the blockchain developer community to experiment with and test the BlockOne ID for Ethereum, a developer tool that is still at beta stage, as well as Oraclize’s Public Data APIs and Thomson Reuthers HackETHon oracle.
The BlockOne ID for Ethereum is an in-house tool developed by Thomson Reuters’ own team of engineers.
Thomson Reuters is part of the 40-member R3 CEV consortium, which launched in September 2015 with the aim of building the next generation of global financial services technology.
Financial partners for the event include Barclays Bank, Innovate Finance, Coinsilium, Clearmatics and Tramonex, while government sponsors are Innovate UK and Coinsilium.
Ethereum, which provides the ETH part of HackETHon, was developed by Torontonian Vitalik Buterin, who has described Ethereum as nothing less than a “world computer” or “the smartphone of Blockchains: a universal platform where, whatever you want to build, you can just build it as an ‘app’ and Ethereum users will be able to benefit from it immediately without downloading any new special software.”
The event will provide developers with access to data, cutting-edge tools and support from the Ethereum Foundation, as well as academics and professionals who are active in the space.
Thomson Reuters is acknowledging the ways that blockchain technology is currently fueling innovation across a wide variety of sectors, including finance, legal and the life sciences, and looking to innovate the ways that Ethereum’s smart contracts allow the codification of a huge variety of enterprise processes.
The Thomson Reuters HackETHon is the latest in an ongoing embrace of blockchain technology for a wide variety of enterprise applications.
In July, a group of seven banks, including Alberta’s ATB Financial and Germany’s ReiseBank working with Accenture and SAP, used Ripple, a blockchain-based technology, to move actual money across international borders between financial institutions at the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Payments Panorama 2016 conference in Calgary, a first for blockchain technology, which reduced a transaction that would normally have taken three days through the existing SWIFT system down to about eight seconds.
PwC is exploring the use of blockchain for identify verification, or know your customer (KYC) procedures, which would eliminate the need for paperwork and redundant procedures required for identity verification.
Deloitte announced in May that it had partnered with five blockchain companies to develop prototypes aimed at the insurance, employee management and cross-border payments industries.
There’s too much activity to briefly summarize in the blockchain space, but it’s passed the point of being a tentative exploration and is now a full-fledged arms race between institutions.