BTC.com, one of the biggest brands in the cryptocurrency space, will host a Bitcoin Cash Hackathon in Amsterdam next month, one of the first major events of its kind on the continent.
This Hackathon will take place on October 27th and 28th 2018, two weeks before the scheduled update of the BCH network. The hackathon also coincides with the continuous support of the developers for Wormhole, the new and innovative BCH intelligent contract protocol.
Boaz Bechar, BTC.com's director at Bitmain, recently spoke with Salih Sarikaya, chief editor of Smartereum. During the interview, Bechar explained the purpose and plans for the upcoming Hackathon. He also described the journey of BTC.com up to this point and the broader role he is playing in the space of cryptocurrency and blockchain.
BTC.com supports an open, user-driven financial system that serves over a million users worldwide. According to Bechar, the BCH hackathon is one of the many ways BTC.com supports the BCH community and encourages innovation, promoting education and generalized cryptocurrency adoption in general.
The Hackathon will be held at the HQ Rockstart in Amsterdam, bringing together blockchain experts, engineers, developers, technology entrepreneurs, designers and enthusiasts. Developers can participate in one of the two tracks, namely: the cash bitcoin category or the general track for innovative programs based on Bitcoin, Lightning Network, Ethereum and more. Entries will be judged on the usefulness, usability, creativity and functionality of each final product.
Interested participants can register via the website. (https://www.hackathon.cash).
Here is the interview of Bechar in Smartereum:
Salih: It's nice to meet you, Bechar. Can you talk a little bit about yourself and your past?
Bechar: I am originally from Israel and my background is in startups. In 2014, I moved to Amsterdam to start Blocktrail with my co-founder who is a Dutch boy, Ruben de Vries. So we started to develop different products in Blocktrail; a bitcoin block explorer, API for developers and finally a consumer portfolio.
Blocktrail it became part of Bitmain in 2016 with a large domain name, BTC.com. We essentially rebranded all our technology and offers under the BTC.com brand, which started a mine at the end of 2016 and recently, this year, has become the biggest mining mine, managed by our team in Beijing. Our team here in Amsterdam focuses more on the consumer side, which mainly includes the wallet and the developer's API.
Salih: What is BTC.com's main goal at the moment?
Bechar: We are really trying to push cryptocurrencies to be adopted by the mainstream and we are focusing in particular on the portfolio to make the adoption of new users as simple as possible. Today, our portfolio allows people to control private keys in a simple, friendly and easy-to-use way, so that people can use cryptocurrency without having a thorough understanding of the underlying technology. We will continue to focus on this mission to make the use of cryptocurrencies easier and more common in the coming year.
Salih: Is fantastic. So, what differentiates you and the other wallets?
Bechar: Well, I think that portfolios are generally separated into two types. Portfolios that allow people to control their private keys and their most sensitive portfolios. So BTC.com is really on the side that allows people to check their private keys. So this is a great element of differentiation between many types of portfolios and ours.
I also think about the fact that we use a lot of technology that can not be found in other portfolios, like the ability to signatures (multisig). All transactions in our portfolio are essentially two out of three multisig transactions, which are not found in most portfolios these days.
It allows our users to benefit from some sort of theft protection. For example, if we find that a user's portfolio may be compromised, so our security systems scan and detect, we will disable co-signing for this portfolio. This means that a hacker, even if he has entered your wallet, will not be able to make a transaction because we do not want to sign the marked transaction. And of course, even if we do not define a marked transaction, the user still has full control over the funds because he has a PDF backup that gives them full and exclusive control over their funds.
Salih: So BTC.com is under Bitmain now, right? And Bitmain's operating part or separately – How does the system work – Where is the team – and how many people work for BTC.com?
Bechar: Bitmain is a rather fast-growing company, which has now grown quite large and offers many different types of products. You can think of BTC.com as a Bitmain product. We are 100% Bitmain. Our team at BTC.com has split into two teams: the mining pool and the wallet.
The mining pool team is based in Beijing and Singapore and the wallet team, to which I belong, is based in Amsterdam. Overall I think our Amsterdam team is made up of about 30 people, and I think the Beijing team is made up of about the same number, so you could say that BTC.com has about 60 full-time employees.
Salih: How many users do you have monthly? I think I saw more than a million users or something.
Bechar: So the statistics I can share with you are that we have over a million users and hundreds of millions of transactions every month through the platform, excluding the fact that BTC.com is the largest mining basin. Looking only at the consumer's side, there is really a good amount of transaction volume in place.
Salih: So instead of just being a product, you're also trying to help Crypto become a mainstream. Can we also talk about the Hackathon and other initiatives you are dealing with? What is the Bitcoin Cash Hackathon?
Bechar: Just to give you a brief history, BTC.com's portfolio was one of the first portfolios to support Bitcoin Cash. This rapid adoption has brought us a good number of users and we have gone very far with the BCH community since the early days.
The Bitcoin Cash hackathon is an initiative to continue pushing the fundamental development of Bitcoin Cash. We are in a unique position to do so, because we have received a lot of support from the community and we have many Bitcoin Cash users.
The hackathon is also helping to innovate on BCH because, in particular, it uses Wormhole Cash, which is a new protocol that is added to Bitcoin cash. There is continually a new innovation in Bitcoin Cash and the hackathon simply brings together all these different developers. The developers are the guys who are actually making innovation happen in the field. I think the hackathon is a good opportunity to bring these creative forces together to experiment with new projects, new ideas. We have a good host of mentors and judges who will be present to support and provide developers with access to valuable feedback from personal interaction with industry leaders.
Salih: So this hackathon focuses mainly on the developers?
Bechar: Yes, mainly developers: the goal is to get together and see what kind of interesting and innovative projects come out. Some hackers force developers to try to create a commercial product, but this is not the case.
There are two types of tracks in this hackathon. There's the Bitcoin Cash track, where the developers create a product, and if the judges think this product is more innovative than the others, then I think they'll probably win. There are no commercial criteria attached to it.
And the second track we made available to developers who have a passion for something that is not necessarily related to Bitcoin Cash then. Developers of all kinds are welcome.
Salih: I think there is a reward word at the end of the hackathon. What will the prize be?
Bechar: The total prize is 5,000 euros. The Bitcoin Cash track is 3,500 and the general track is 1,500.
Salih: And how long will the event last?
Bechar: It's a two-day event. We are sponsoring a lot of food and drink, so there will be a lot of fun, and in general the goal is that the event is a good time.
Salih: What other initiatives are you taking to help Crypto become mainstream? Can you talk a bit about other hackathons or other events you are supporting or promoting?
Bechar: We really love doing all kinds of events, all over the world, related to cryptocurrency in general, and also to Bitcoin Cash. These events range from small meetings – here in Amsterdam there is a meetup that we sponsor, and meetup groups come to us all the time for a sponsorship help. We involve ourselves with many of them.
Airdrops are something we do often; we charge Bitcoin money in various events and in universities. We will conduct a large Bitcoin Aircoin Cash conference at the Web Summit which will take place by the end of the year with 60,000 participants. We nearly doubled the Web Summit promotions record last year. There was a lot of interest and our booth was exploding with people who came to take cryptocurrency and learn more. So I think this type of initiative has been very successful in teaching young people and we hope to continue to reach a wider audience.
Salih: As I see, you're so involved in Bitcoin money. The reason is that the Bitcoin Cash community is so active on your platform or you see something specific in the development of Bitcoin Cash?
Bechar: I think both answers are true. On the one hand, we have many users who use our Bitcoin cash platform, and as a service provider we follow where there are users of the application, and for us there is a lot of demand from our BCH users, which is why we are providing this service to them.
But, on the other hand, it's promising because the effort put in by the Bitcoin Cash community, which has grown over time, and having been there since the beginning, is obviously something we want to continue to be part of.
Salih: The vision of BTC.com began in 2015 and has reached millions of users. You're doing great, it will help you a lot because Crypto becomes mainstream with your initiatives and more support for events, for all the other hackathons and projects. It is nice to see him in the cryptic community. Thank you so much for talking to me.
Bechar: Thank you. My pleasure.