Car González
March 28, 2023

SATSx Hackathon 2023: A Celebration of Innovation and Collaboration in the Lightning Space.

03/28/2023 09:00 AM - SATSx Hackathon 2023: A Celebration of Innovation and Collaboration in the Lightning Space.

The SATSx Hackathon successfully united 11 innovative projects, with two of them notably showcasing Bitcoin payments via wireless mesh networking. Although we had 148 RSVPs, approximately 50 enthusiastic participants attended and actively contributed to the event. Adding to the excitement, a camera crew from SXSW graced us with their presence to capture the action. Held concurrently at two unique venues, Bitcoin Commons and PlebLab, the hackathon provided participants with a choice of locations and the convenience of overnight accommodations to fully immerse themselves in the hacking experience. Additionally, we hosted two insightful workshops led by Justin Moon of Fedi and Santos of Zebedee, equipping hackathon participants with valuable guidance on utilizing their codebases as a solid foundation for their innovative projects.

The innovative projects presented during the hackathon included:

Badge Mint: Badge Mint is a project that aims to create an automated pipeline for badge awarding, allowing users to easily create and issue badges to people as a summary of their personality or achievements online. The badges can represent different aspects of a person's life, such as their interests or affiliations, and can be easily shared on social media platforms. The team envisions incorporating proof of work, social graph requirements, and other customizable features for issuing badges. Badges can significantly represent community associations, showcase achievements, and even parody social identities. They can also serve as a decentralized alternative to traditional certificates, allowing individuals to showcase their skills and experience through a peer-to-peer model. This enables a more transparent and open-source system for credentialing, fostering a web of trust in which users can verify the history and issuer of each badge. Find more about the project on GitHub.

Devstr: The goal of Devstr is to address the centralization issues and limitations associated with GitHub, which Microsoft currently owns. Devstr merges existing GitHub profiles into the Nost Network and allows users to stream events from GitHub into the Nostr Network. Devstr tackled the authentication problem by linking users' GitHub profiles to their Nost profiles quickly and easily. The platform generates a new profile for users, which includes information like contributions, recent activity, repositories, and programming languages used. While Devstr is still in the early stages, it has successfully connected GitHub and Nostr, built a front-end that generates maker profiles, and broadcasted simple MVP GitHub events on the Noster Network. In the future, Devstr plans to create constant streaming of GitHub events and set up a Devstr relay. Devstr aims to provide redundancy for GitHub profiles and eventually enable users to interact with GitHub accounts through their Nostr accounts. This could be a first step towards moving away from the centralized platform and creating a more decentralized developer experience. Find out more about the project on GitHub.

Auntie LNAuntie LN addresses the need for a secure and verifiable messaging protocol for Lightning Network nodes by proposing using Nostr, a censorship-resistant and verifiable messaging system. The project aims to connect Lightning nodes to Nostr, facilitating effective communication among nodes. The team employs ThunderHub to create a Nostr profile and introduces a new Nostr kind for node announcements, which cryptographically links the Nostr profile to the Lightning node public key. Their demonstration showcases subscribing to node announcements, verifying authenticity, and sending messages to peers. As a result, Auntie LN establishes an alternative secure transport layer for Lightning, combining Lightning and Nostr to support messages backed by signatures. Potential future developments include:

  • Writing a Nostr Improvement Proposal (NIP) for gossip over Nostr.
  • Creating trustless Rapid Gossip Sync (RGS) servers.
  • Using badges to deprecate nodes.

Find out more about the project on GitHub.

Super Mario SatsSuper Mario Sats is a modified NES ROM of Super Mario that rewards players with satoshis (SATs) for collecting in-game coins. The modified game allows players to earn SATs transferred to their Lightning Network address. The demonstration involves audience members playing the game and receiving SATs in real-time, with one player receiving 23,000 SATs in a single Super Mario session. The team faced challenges while hacking the ROM and experienced issues with their Voltage node and Wallet of Satoshi. D++ mentioned that making this a shared experience would require rate-limiting and user authentication to prevent cheating. The current implementation is a fun and interactive way to engage with the Lightning Network and satoshis through classic retro gaming. Find out more about the project on GitHub.

Freeschool: Andrew and Michael, two students from Purdue University and high school, respectively, presented their project called Free School. Their goal is to tackle the challenges in modern schooling, such as the repetitive teaching of fundamental knowledge and the vast amount of online educational content that can overwhelm students. To address these issues, they proposed an online aggregator platform, a social media network geared explicitly toward education. The platform would allow users to collaboratively structure educational content collaboratively, making it easier for students to follow a clear path and find the best materials online. Their prototype demonstrated the ease of navigating various educational topics using a graph structure. They also implemented a comment structure similar to Reddit or Stacker News to promote discussions and effectively filter content. They also explored the possibility of using the Lightning Network for micropayments, though they encountered technical challenges in implementation. They acknowledged the complexities in visualizing academic knowledge for subjects like history that may not have a linear structure. They plan to continue working on the project, targeting STEM subjects first. They expressed interest in collaborating with other projects, such as a credentials and badge system presented by Badge Mint.

Satoshi Jump: Satoshi Jump: Enabling Bitcoin and Lightning Network transactions over radio waves without requiring internet access. The primary motivation behind Satoshi Jump is to expand the Bitcoin network's reach, particularly in areas lacking reliable internet connectivity, and enhance its censorship resistance. The team utilized dual-tone technology and digital signal processing to accomplish this objective, with Topher creating a browser-based offline module for the task. The demonstration in the transcript revealed certain limitations, emphasizing the need for advancements such as error correction and faster transmission rates. Future developments for the project encompass:

  • Enhancing error correction capabilities.
  • Collaborating with various radio stack technologies.
  • Integrating the solution with mobile phones for broader accessibility.
  • Implementing a services layer to provide additional functionality and support.

Find out more about the project on GitHub.

Meshtastic: Meshtastic is similar to Gotenna, allowing users to send text messages between radios. Ben's goal was to set up Lightning wallets between two devices and send transactions between them. However, due to the project's ambitious scope, he could only demonstrate the devices talking to each other. Ben showed how the Meshtastic devices are connected in a mesh network and demonstrated sending a text message between devices. The goal is to integrate this with the Bitcoin ecosystem by generating addresses and creating transactions. Although not fully functional, the project aims to create a lightweight, user-friendly system that can handle everything on the phone. This project opens up new use cases, such as partially signed transactions spread among multiple users. The range of the Meshtastic devices is one to five miles, depending on the environment. Find out more about the project on GitHub.

Zapalytics: Zapalytics analyzes the usage of zaps in the Lightning Network. Zaps are fast and fun ways to tip people with Bitcoin, but they have privacy concerns due to using custodial wallets. Ben analyzed around 170,000 zaps and discovered that 82.5% involved custodial wallets. He mentioned a need for self-hosted solutions to improve privacy and suggested using fake zaps to disrupt analytics. Ben also explained that improvements in Lightning privacy could be achieved with Bolt 12 and blinded paths. Find out more about the project on GitHub.

BTCPay Server - Galoy Plugin: BTC Pay Server plugin was developed by Nick's company, Galoy. This plugin allows users to outsource the management of their Lightning nodes, making it easier to run a Lightning node with the BTC Pay Server. As banks continue to fail and centralize, running one's own bank becomes increasingly important for financial freedom. The Galoy Plugin streamlines the process of using BTC Pay Server and Lightning nodes, enabling users to manage their on-chain Bitcoin while outsourcing the management of their Lightning nodes to Galoy or another Lightning service provider. Find out more about the project on GitHub.

Frenstr: Frenstr is a tool to help users make friends on Nostr, a social media platform with no algorithms. The global feed on Nostr can be filled with spam for new users, making it difficult for them to connect with others. Frenstr uses Chat GPT to generate user descriptions based on their public data, making it easier for users to discover interesting people to follow. Sam demonstrated Frenstr by generating descriptions for various Nostr users, including one of the judges. The app works by requesting the user's 20 most recent events and creating a description, which is then broadcasted to the Nostr network. Future developments for the project encompass:

  • Refining the user interface.
  • Adding tags to help users find others with similar interests.
  • The cost of using Chat GPT is a concern, but Sam is considering ways to make the process more efficient.

Find out more about the project on GitHub.

The #SATSx Hackathon 2023 concluded with a remarkable lineup of winning projects, showcasing the creativity and technical prowess of the participants. The Best Overall award went to Auntie LND, receiving 12,000,000 sats, while Supermario SATS claimed the Most Polished title with a prize of 2,600,000 sats. Freeschool earned the Most Ambitious distinction, also receiving 2,600,000 sats. Satoshi Jump took home the Project Privacy award with 2,600,000 sats, and Devstr secured the Project Nostr title, garnering 2,600,000 sats as well. The Hackathon's esteemed panel of judges included Nate, an engineer at Unchained and advisor at Zaprite; Ben Woosley, a Bitcoin Developer and of Austin LitDevs; Keyan Kousha, the founder of Stacker News; and Buck Perly, an engineer at Unchained and Austin BitDevs. See all the videos on our YouTube.

Best Overall:

⚡️12,000,000 sats Auntie LND 

Most Polished:

⚡️2,600,000 sats Supermario SATS

Most Ambitious:

⚡️2,600,000 sats Freeschool

Project Privacy:

⚡️2,600,000 sats Satoshi Jump 

Project Nostr:

⚡️2,600,000 sats Devstr

We look forward to seeing you all at next year's SATSx Hackathon, where we expect even more groundbreaking projects and inspiring collaborations. A special thank you to our generous sponsors, without whom this event would not have been possible; your support has truly made a difference in fostering innovation and promoting the growth of the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Car González

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