The concept is simple: set up a camp, gather a team, code and win. That's the prospect offered by EtherCamp, whose second annual hackathon is fast approaching, with over 200 registered ideas received as of the end of August.
This is the only virtual hackathon where people – "camps" – can take an idea and build a startup company from it, says Roman Mandeleil, founder and CEO of EtherCamp.
The global event allows developers, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to participate in a five-week long event that will kick-off in November. The goal is to find the most innovative and disruptive ideas in what is really more of a virtual accelerator programme than a hackathon. Participants have the chance to show their ideas to mentors, potential investors, and, if an idea is successful, acquire early adopters.
By visiting the official site at hack.ether.camp, hopeful participants can register as developers or as fans. Currently, the site lists over 700 hackers who have joined since registration opened in mid-July. Along with hundreds of hackers, 319 fans with a prominent cast of 15 judges have enlisted.
At stake is a US $50,000 grand prize to be paid out in the cryptocurrency of the winning team's choice.
"It will be a transformative event for the industry with hundreds of great ideas feeding into groundbreaking teams, all competing and showcasing their work," said Mandeleil.
One name already confirmed as one of 15 judges is Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys, a venture production studio that builds decentralised applications and various developer and end-user tools for blockchains. Lubin is also the former CEO of Ethereum, a decentralised network which allows computer code to trigger payments, among other things, known in technology circles as "smart contracts". Ethereum is the world's second most valuable cryptocurrency network by market capitalisation with an estimated worth at $954m.
Alex Shelkovnikov, corporate venturing and blockchain lead at Deloitte, and Meni Rosenfeld, founder of Cluster, a hub for disruptive technologies, will both join Lubin on the panel of judges. Each judge will have a portion of votes to award to the camps they favour.
All voting will be on the blockchain, allowing for a transparent selection of winners. Runners-up also receive a prize.
Essentially, each camp will be formed around a specific idea with an objective of bringing to life new and innovative concepts using the skills and creativity of each team's members.
Last year's winners, for instance, didn't know one another before the hackathon event. The team was founded online and eventually walked away with the 5,000 ether prize, worth, approximately US $5,000 at the time.
Camp building is simple, with the camp itself operating as a team hub. Each camp will share their source code repository and communication channels daily, creating a seamless environment between the development team and public.
So, as the event unfolds, the general audience will be able to view the progress of each camp and interact with them directly. There will also be an interactive scoreboard to show a comprehensive overview of the teams in competition.
EtherCamp is best known in the cryptocurrency space as an Ethereum block explorer and smart contract analysis tool provider.
Mandeleil's company built a Java implementation of Ethereum and also developed an explorer that looks up, tracks and navigates transactions and contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. In addition, the explorer offers the capability to drill down and trace through smart contract code listed on the blockchain.
EtherCamp also built a powerful and easy to use Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that empowers developers to build, test and deploy applications within a sandbox environment.
The company will be revealing the lineup of event sponsors in the weeks to come.