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PROSTEP sponsors Fraunhofer blockchain hackathon in Bayreuth

By Mirko Theiß

As a jury sponsor for the Fraunhofer blockchain hackathon, PROSTEP set the participants a tricky challenge: To fraud-proof a "license to drink coffee" using the fair pay-per-use model. And the Fair Pay team, supported by PROSTEP, solved it brilliantly. At the end of the competition, my humble person had the honor to present the winning team with a check for 2,500 euros.

The first blockchain hackathon organized by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT) in Bayreuth was a complete succe, s for all those involved. Approximately100 students studying information technology, business IT, mechanical engineering or other disciplines at the universities of Bayreuth, Augsburg and Munich worked for two days on practical use cases for blockchain and developed persuasive proofs of concept. There were a total of 16 tasks to be solved, and these were set by the jury sponsors. The "license to drink coffee" and pay-per-use licensing were the two tasks that PROSTEP had contributed.

The interdisciplinary teams were given from Friday 12:00 noon until Saturday 3:45 p.m. to solve their tasks, which meant not a great deal of sleep for those involved. They were supported throughout by experts from the Fraunhofer BlockchainLab, representatives from companies, and start-ups. Two in-depth interim presentations served to scrutinize the concepts behind their ideas, provide suggestions and prepare the teams for the final presentation, which was restricted to a maximum of three minutes. In addition to prize money of 5,000 euros, the teams also received attractive prizes from the individual partner companies at the eagerly awaited award ceremony.

Right up to the deadline, there was lively discussion, programming, soldering and fine-tuning of the business model. The participants had Raspberry Pis and Arduinos together with accessories and 3D printers at their disposal free of charge so that they could concentrate fully on their creative work. Food trucks with food and drinks and a chillout area with massage and cool music provided a great working atmosphere despite the tension.

The people from PROSTEP were thoroughly impressed by the commitment, focus and innovative spirit with which the students approached the tasks under enormous time pressure. At the end of the event, the "license to drink coffee" use case was extended to include a fair pay component and, to the delight of the PROSTEP representatives, emerged as the winner of the competition.

As a jury sponsor, PROSTEP had the opportunity to present the company to the participants of the blockchain hackathon and to show them the demonstrator for the Secure Additive Manufacturing Platform (SAMPL), a secure end-to-end solution for the provision of 3D print data using blockchain technology. It met with great interest not only among the students but also among the other jury sponsors, including representatives from BMW, IBM, metafinanz, Rehau and T-Systems.

PROSTEP has been working hard on blockchain technology for two years now. That's why it was only logical for us to take part in the first Hackathon, and it certainly won't be the last time. The entire event was very well organized, and we was able to establish some interesting contacts with students who could potentially be future employees. And that hope is justified: One of the participants has already asked whether PROSTEP would be interested in providing him with support for his bachelor's dissertation.

A report on the Hackathon is available on Campus TV at the University of Bayreuth: