The Babylon Project, a hackathon initiative committed to democratizing access to global innovation and fostering the inclusion of minority backgrounds in tech, kicked off on Friday, October 9th, 2020 with 1000 active participants on its virtual Discord server.
The virtual hackathon had renowned international speakers calling in from different parts of the world. Pavel Cherkashin, the Managing Partner of Mindrock Capital; Miko Matsumura, General Partner of Gumi Ventures; and Naomi Freeman, Leadership Fellow at Women Who Code, along with an exceptional and diverse group of panelists, who shared industry knowledge, startup advice, and technical expertise with the participants.
Additionally, a variety of technical workshops were also conducted by several blockchain companies, most notably Aave, Polkadot, BTCU, and Suku. A virtual yoga session, intended to instruct participants on rejuvenating wellness exercises, was provided by Kirin Power, a yoga & meditation teacher from San Francisco and a director and partner at Outdoor Yoga SF.
Along with the grand prize, corporate partners issued their own pre-determined challenges to hackers and awarded the best projects. 20 teams made it to the semifinals, from which 6 projects were chosen to participate in the final round. After a rigorous judging process, the top three teams emerged:
1. Kotani Pay – A USSD-Crypto Payment infrastructure startup that aims to onboard more Africans into the digital economy by enabling easy access to a range of financial services including lending and payouts by non-profit organizations.
2. Skill Wallet – A startup that is focused on the 4th United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Quality Education. Skill Wallet aims to increase access to verifiable skill portfolios. By providing verifiable certificates to all participants of the hackathon, the newly formed team is getting ready to soft launch their beta.
3. Blockdrop – A blockchain agnostic NoCode platform for smart-contracts.
Yao Marian Tong, a Venture Partner at Aves Lair, awarded Kotani Pay admission into their $100k startup acceleration program to begin early 2021. However, there were many after-hackathon opportunities for participants; other teams have been approached by similar accelerator programs, and the hackathon’s recruiting partner, Hired, is also committed to connecting participants to tech employers via https://hired.com/babylonproject.
“The Babylon Project is an international sandbox for the advancement of innovative, easy to use, and user-centric blockchain applications,” says Gideon Nweze, founder of The Babylon Project & a Cofounder @Village. “Special thanks to all mentors, judges, partners and participants that worked tirelessly to make this a success. The force is strong in the community.”