The DBS Blockchain Hack De-brief

our thoughts on a moment of blockchain history


Every time we’re in town Singapore treats us to something special, but it’s going to be difficult to top the experience that was the DBS Blockchain Hack last weekend, with more than 70 enthusiasts spread over 15 teams and each given 32 hours to find new and innovative use cases for the blockchain.

Being the first time a bank has ever so publicly experimented with the technology it was a pleasure for Blockstrap to help play a part in powering some of the ideas and mentoring the developers. Even more exciting was the genuine enthusiasm DBS Bank showed in the tech, offering cash prizes, allowing teams to keep their own IP rights and even offering to support them after the hack going forward in their ideas.

There was a real range of talent on show, with some hackers coming from established blockchain startups like CoinPip or CoinHako, while others had only recently heard of blockchain technology and wanted to start exploring what new ideas were now possible. The tech applied was varied too, with some entrants even utilizing platforms like Ethereum, BitShares, ColoredCoin, and Neo4j to build their prototypes.

The Blockstrap team ran a series of workshops leading up to the hack to help developers get a level-playing field when it comes to understanding how to build on top of the blockchain.

Over two nights we worked with some of Singapore’s most eager minds to advise them on the inner workings of the blockchain and what to watch out for when building your app. DBS even captured some of the best workshop moments as seen below.

Our framework and API allowed developers to get started quickly and focus on their ideas rather than worry about the implementation. Some were using our API to query the blockchains, while others modified our framework or example applications with new features and plugins to rapidly develop their ideas.

The ‘BW8’ team built upon our open source blockchain identity app to help streamline the KYC process for opening new accounts in unbanked areas, the ‘CreditCoins’ team created a heavily modified version of our framework to create a credit card loyalty system using colored coins, while Team ‘Infinite Loopers’ combined our framework and API to create an authenticity platform for NGO’s.

There was also ‘Blockchain Cash’ who utilized both BitMessage and our API, but perhaps our favourite was 2nd placed winner ‘NuBank’ who had the idea of improving the trust structure already present in remote villages to empower the village elders to act as mini-bankers to their citizens. To remove price volatility NuBank would send arbitrary fees and encode the transaction information and value into op_returns via our API, providing a blockchain backed record of transactions and true transparency for all its users.

We were also busy creating some new swag as well as a few new example applications for the hack which you will now find in our showcase section for you to play with too. There’ll be more on these example apps and how they work in our next blog post.

We couldn’t be more grateful for DBS Bank and Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore for letting us play a part in blockchain history. As a first-of-its-kind event we’re genuinely excited to have helped out and we can’t wait to see what a boost the hack will provide for the blockchain ecosystem as a whole.

Lastly we would like to say a massive thank you to all the amazing hackers who attended, learned, built, and had fun with us, as well as the very deserving winners ‘OmniChain‘. There are some very talented minds currently working in the scene and we couldn’t be more enthusiastic for what the future holds.

For more on our thoughts on the local blockchain scene please check out our latest post ‘4 reasons why Asia is about to dominate FinTech’ on

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