IIIT Hyderabad Students Come Second In World Blockchain Hackathon 2020


Students from the International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad (IIIT-H) were part of the team which has bagged second place in a blockchain hackathon, the Babylon Project. The event allowed participants to either build and develop decentralized blockchain applications or apply data science concepts in decentralized applications.

When 4th-year Btech students of IIIT-H, Adhithya Arun and Meher Shashwat Nigam, enrolled in the competition, their original intent was to learn about blockchain and gain more insights into a field in which they had no prior experience.

“As is the norm for most hackathons, this one had a team formation channel on their Discord server where participants can network and find teams to work with,” says Adhithya.

The duo got in touch with a bunch of like-minded others and a formidable team comprising the following was formed: Ha Linh To, a Singapore resident who is currently pursuing her final year of Bachelor’s in Marketing; Supriya Medapati, an IIT Madras alumnus and incoming MIT Sloan MBA candidate with over 12 years of experience in the tech and emerging tech industry; Suchira Banerjee, Assistant Professor at University of Engineering & Management, Kolkata; and Aryan Vikas Jain, a BTech student from SRM University.

The team selected a prevalent e-learning problem –  too many courses to choose from, lack of motivation to complete them and the absence of a tamper-proof mechanism to store and share learning credentials. Their solution, ‘SkillWallet’ – a decentralized, secure platform which successfully combined blockchain and AI to streamline the e-learning industry.

“The idea was to make the lives of learners, recruiters, and course providers easier and profitable,” says Adhithya.

For learners, the product is a personalized learning path with recommendations and rewards for following through with the goals. For recruiters, it helps in finding suitable candidates and verifying their credentials.  And for course providers, it allows them to create and issue verifiable certificates upon completion of the required learning. All this is a one-stop shop for not only acquiring skills and maintaining educational records, but also for the recruitment process.

The event saw the participation of around 93 teams from over 65 countries, and the finale saw a close contest between the top 6 teams where SkillWallet emerged in second place. With a lot of interest garnered from the community and from the hackathon organizers themselves, the team plans to keep the momentum going. The team has received the opportunity offered by the organizers to issue digital certificates for all participants of the hackathon.

“We had decided to take the idea forward and implement it for widespread usage, and this gesture (by the organizers) will help our product get its pool of initial users,” say Adhithya and Shashwat.