On the last November weekend in 2016 the first DappHack Berlin took place. The event was focused on decentralized technologies. While the name suggests a hackathon, the actual event turned out to be more like an unconference. Johannes, one of the organizers, said that when the name was settled, the idea was to host a hackathon, but as more and more speakers came on board the event evolved into an unconference.
The line-up of speakers was pretty phenomenal for an admission free event. Core-devs of IPFS, the ethereum foundation and ethcore were present as well as many other very knowledgeable people. Among the recurring themes of the conference were distributed storage, distributed application (dapp) development and serverless pub/sub systems.
Fortunately there is no need to regurgitate here what has been presented, since you can watch all talks on Adjy Leak’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxfh-2aOR5hZUjxJLQ2CIHw, but I would like to point out some highlights:
Dapp Development Tools
On Saturday David Roon kicked off the event by introducing a java library for smart contracts. His talk was followed by Thomas Bertani’s presentation of Oraclize, a service that solves a very urgent problem that concerns almost all dapp developers: how to access external data from the context of a smart contract. A third talk that featured development tools was Tomasz Drwięga’s workshop about how to build an app with Parity. I
personally benefitted a lot from this session.
With IPFS and Swarm two of the big projects that promise distributed storage were present. Unfortunatly the IPFS talk was overshadowed by some technical problems. Those caused some interruptions which stretched the talk to almost 2 hours. The talk about Swarm (ethereum’s native distributed storage system) by Viktor Tron on the contrary is only snappy 16 min long. I got the impression from this event that Swarm differentiates itself from the already relatively widley deployed IPFS by it’s focus on incentivization of data storage.
A third project, that I had not heard about before is Datproject. Dat has the goal to become the “Better bittorent”. It makes it possible to not only share files but also folders and streams of data, which can make distributed live TV possible. Last but not least in this category was the presentation of the Alexandria project. It is a project that uses IPFS as backend to permanently provide content on the net. It has a well developed integration of bitcoin payments. A curious detail about this project is that they use the rather obscure blockchain Florincoin to publish metadata for the content.
Distributed Pub/Sub systems
There were two talks at DappHack that I would put in this category. OrbitDB, that is a sister-project to IPFS. (I have previously writte about OrbitDB here) and Secure Scuttlebutt. The demo of Secure Scuttlebutt made a deep impression on me, because they already realized several working applications including a Twitter-like social network and an app very similar to Soundcloud.
All in all this was a very interesting event. Kudos to the organizers Ksenia, Johannes and Sven (and Andreas who sponsored the beer!). Also a big thank you to the hosts of Agora Co-working, which was a wonderful venue for this event.