Imagine this: a room full of brilliant students and young professionals huddled together to develop the most cutting-edge blockchain-based solution in the hacking world. This was the scene at the Paris Blockchain Link Hackathon, held the weekend of March 17, 2023. If this sounds exciting, it’s because it is—participating individuals are those shaping the future of the tech world. A group of students including Miquel, a third year student of the Bachelor in Data & Business Analytics, were selected to represent IE University. We spoke with Miquel about the Hackathon and his main takeaways from the challenging experience.

Paris Hackathon
Miquel and friends

The Paris Hackathon’s objective

The Paris Hackathon gathers blockchain enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and developers to hack, build and network in an innovative space, developing cutting-edge blockchain technologies for an entire weekend. A blockchain is essentially an information recording system that makes hacking nearly impossible. 

Participants first obtain an in-depth understanding of such technology before building their own functional blockchain prototype in teams. The teams collaborate with five elite sponsors who act as mentors for the different groups. The objective of the Hackathon is for tech-savvy professionals to explore case studies and solve real-world hacking challenges, with an end goal to make blockchain actionable for real customers and companies. 

The Hackathon experience

While Miquel has participated in many projects, internships and opportunities at IE University, he considers the Paris Blockchain Hackathon to be the most exciting and rewarding of all. “It was an opportunity to learn from experts in the field and to apply our learnings to create a functional blockchain-based solution,” he shared.

Participating in the Paris Blockchain Hackathon was an eye-opening experience that allowed me to put my knowledge and skills to the test while working with other passionate individuals.

Miquel Amengual
Paris Hackathon

The challenge

Teams are granted only 48 hours to go from a vague idea to a working prototype. “Even though we had the technical and programming skills to tackle the problem, it was our first time working on a blockchain-related issue. Thus, we had to go the extra mile to grasp all the knowledge and expertise we could on the matter to come up with an effective, IT-intensive solution,” Miquel added.

Miquel’s team’s end goal was to use XRP Ledger (XRPL) technology to bring decentralized solutions to real world problems. Miquel explained, “After many hours of brainstorming, we came up with our final idea: ‘Voting our Chain.’ In simple terms, we wanted to design a decentralized voting platform that leverages the XRP Ledger for users to cast their votes digitally and record them on a public and immutable ledger.” This ensures that the voting process is transparent, tamper-proof and auditable. At the end of the weekend, each team had to pitch their idea to a jury of blockchain experts. 

Miquel’s favorite part? Getting to work along with the XRPL mentors and other experts. “The mentors helped us throughout the experience to bring our ideas to life. We also got to meet other students and industry professionals, which I believe to be the most enriching part of the experience,” Miquel shared.

The mentors helped us throughout the experience to bring our ideas to life.

Miquel Amengual

Main takeaways

The hackathon’s teachable moments are not limited to students of any particular degree. While the Bachelor in Data & Business Analytics degree is very pertinent, any tech-inclined individual can learn immensely from the experience. Below are the four main takeaways Miquel shared from his weekend in Paris:

  • Gaining an in-depth understanding of blockchain technology, its advantages, limitations, and the latest trends and innovation in the field.
  • Hands-on experience: Participating in the hackathon allowed my teammates and I to get our hands dirty and gain real-world experience developing blockchain solutions. 
  • Problem-solving skills: The two days we had to develop our product pushed us to the limit. We encountered many obstacles and challenges, especially when deploying our final interface. We had to act quickly to meet the deadline and prepare our final pitch to the jury. 
  • Collaboration and networking: Throughout this intense weekend, we got to meet amazing people with unique and impressive backgrounds. We had the opportunity to collaborate with other teams and learn from the jury and mentors.  

How to get involved

Miquel advises those considering participating in future editions of the Paris Blockchain Hackathon to fully embrace the experience. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as this is how you learn the most. Blockchain technology is complex, and it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed or unsure at times.” He explained that by asking questions and seeking out guidance, you can gain a deeper understanding of the technology and its applications.

Miquel’s other sound advice? To find a team that works efficiently, but also makes for an enjoyable time. “By working with a group, you can not only create a more effective project, but also make lasting connections and enjoy the experience to the fullest,” he encouraged. Congratulations to Miquel, his team, and all the 2023 Hackathon participants!

Participating in a hackathon can be a challenging and intense experience, but it can also be a lot of fun.

Miquel Amengual