Bangalore, January 13, 2018: Bengaluru has always been at the forefront of India’s IT revolution, with more IT services and IT products companies headquartered here. It is also fuelling India’s IT startup ecosystem, where new and emerging technologies find their first evangelists. But what is surprising with the latest such technology is who wants to adopt to it first.

The newest buzz in the computing and technology world is blockchain. It refers to a distributed system of record keeping that is secure and reliable, and can be accessed from anywhere by the right authorities. Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, and is fast being adapted to such diverse applications as accounting, land records, contract management, stock markets and futures trading, and many more.

The Government of Karnataka has decided to engage with Blockchain and will bring out a “White Paper on Blockchain use in Governance” as a prelude to a Policy on Blockchain, if necessary. As a first level of engagement, various Government departments have been consulted to develop use cases for a “Blockchain Hackathon”. Later a “Blockchain Conclave” under the aegis of Bengaluru Tech Summit will be organised to deliberate on issues involving the technology and will result in the publication of a white paper.

The Blockchain Hackathon for Governance is to be held from the 19th of January till the 21st, at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium, and will be a fast-paced event designed to create demonstrable prototypes of the use of blockchain in government applications.

Experts from departments like home, transportation, tourism, forests, agriculture, and finance were consulted to develop use cases for each sector. The use cases will address a variety of issues across domains, and will involve multi stakeholder decision making, such as Cross-Domain multi-stakeholder decision making in case of beneficiary management of welfare schemes, tracing the Chain of Custody of Agricultural/ Horticultural/Forest for better quality and price for farmers, Identity Ownership Management for data privacy and Real-Time record maintenance for land records management and taxation .

The hackathon will be open to students, startups, and other IT professionals whil cloud-based blockchain technology providers will be invited to provide platforms for use in the hackathon. The government of Karnataka has already taken the lead in the last few years to create and sustain relationships with cloud-technology providers, which means that these providers will be present at the hackathon and will provide participants with access to these platforms during the event, free-of-cost.

Announcing the event, IT & BT minister Shri Priyank Kharge said, “It is the government of Karnataka’s stated vision that no citizen be denied the service they need. We realise there are some problems – especially in this day and age – that could be better solved using modern tools and technologies. And Karnataka in particular, has always been the leaders in e-Governance. It is an easy decision to bring the experts of IT to solve long-standing problems, using the latest technology of blockchain.”

A ‘residential’ hackathon, participants cannot leave the venue for the duration, it will last 48 hour over a weekend (Friday-Sunday). The government is making all arrangements to ensure the full comfort of participants, with meals, refreshments and other facilities provided on venue.

The hackathon has been designed as a team event. A team will comprise 3-5 individuals, who will work on individual problem statements provided by the different government departments. Participants can form teams and register ahead of the event, or register as an individual and be teamed up at the venue with other individual participants. Each team will have to submit a brief statement of the problem they are attempting to solve with blockchain. Teams will need to go to http://www.bengalurutechsummit.com/blockchain-hackathon/ to register for the hackathon. Only registered participants will be invited to the hackathon.

Government officials, heads of the concerned departments, industry experts, and the government’s Knowledge Partners, will act as mentors during the hackathon, and provide information, resources, and support for teams, and monitor the entire hackathon process. Mentors will clarify the government’s problem statement, review the processes and tools that teams adopt, and be on hand to troubleshoot if required.

Shri Kharge also commented, “Having government users and departmental heads, and our knowledge partners, at this event ensures that we are brought to full speed on this exciting new technology, and that leaders can then understand how it works, in order to implement it better.”

A panel of judges comprising industry experts, academicians, government representatives and knowledge partners and consultants, will be constituted to judge the entries. A total of 10 teams will be awarded: 1 first prize, 2 second prizes, 3 third prizes, and 4 fourth places. Each team will have to submit their entry in the form of a video. The videos must contain a screen capture of the blockchain prototype developed, including key code-constructs, architectural details, and a presentation of the use-case itself, along with a voice over from all of the team members.

The judges will consult and shortlist entries based on the videos, against a set of parameters: functional code developed to solve problem of choice, how blockchain has been used in the solution, user experience of the solution developed, design principles used in the solution, and potential to use solution within government.

Winners will be announced one week after the main hackathon.

Winners will be invited to present their solution at a special Blockchain summit organised by the government on the 16th of February 2018, where their uses may be expanded and developed further, and adopted by the government.

The government will also work with knowledge partners, participating teams, industry experts and academics, to create a government white paper on blockchain technology, and a set of guiding principles and framework for use in e-governance scenarios.

Once again, the Karnataka government, led by CM Shri Siddaramiah, is pushing the boundaries of governance by adopting to new technologies. All to ensure that no one is left behind