Girls hack their way to Blockchain success

Girls hack their way to Blockchain success

Melbourne Girls Grammar Team Places Third at Smart Cities Blockchain Hackathon

Melbourne Girls Grammar is committed to investigating opportunities around emerging and disruptive technologies including Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Blockchain technologies. When the opportunity arose to compete in the Smart Cities Blockchain Hackathon, students from Year 10 and VCE Algorithmics fearlessly leapt at the challenge, with the support of our Director of STEM, Ivan Carlisle.

Hosted by the Blockchain Association of Australia, the Smart Cities Blockchain Hackathon asks participants to “use the power of today’s emerging technologies to solve the problems of tomorrow”. The event invited bright minds to come together over the course of three days, to develop innovative solutions which introduce smart technologies to solve real world problems effecting our cities. Our ethical women of action formed two teams and competed amongst a field of predominantly professional participants, to develop decentralised applications with the objective of solving community problems.

The Melbourne Girls Grammar 2018 School Captain Millie Perkins was invited to be a member of a highly esteemed judging panel, including Chami Akmeemana – Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Australia, and Dr. Jonathan Reichental, Chief Information Officer for the City of Palo Alto. In preparation for the Smart Cities Hackathon our students worked with the Blockchain Learning Group, who provide “blockchain education for developers by developers”. They also connected with the local blockchain developer ecosystem, and with an independent developer named Tom Nash. 

During the Hackathon one of the Melbourne Girls Grammar teams created a peer-to-peer insurance Decentralised Application (DAPP) called ‘Peak Medical Insurance’. It was a very topical choice given the frustration the community have with the rising costs of private health insurance. As they argued in their pitch, “smart cities consist of smart people prepared for any contingency, and to ensure our public health systems do not come under too much pressure there is a need for new models of private health cover”. Their innovative DAPP uses a series of Smart Contracts on the Ethereum Blockchain to facilitate trust and functionality for peers to pay premiums into a common fund that can only be accessed by valid claims assessed according to protocols and innovative community resourcing. Their DAPP disrupts the need for insurance companies and provides a full solution at the peer-to-peer level.

The second Melbourne Girls Grammar team created a publicly verifiable trusted voting DAPP called ‘MySay’. In their presentation, the girls contended that “by leveraging the functionality of Smart Contracts from the Ethereum Blockchain the MySay DAPP has the potential to cheaply and transparently facilitate voting at the local council level, thus shifting our representative democratic model to be a more participatory one.”  Overall the intended impact of this DAPP is to improve both public interest and youth engagement in our governing institutions, as well as build trust in the voting system.

Our ‘MySay’ team came in third place overall, receiving $2000 in prize money. 

What an inspiration it is to see such brilliant young women creatively integrating blockchain technologies to develop DAPPs designed to make a positive social impact. Thank you to all those involved in the Smart Cities Hackathon, the genuine and supportive atmosphere that was fostered made it a truly heartening experience for our girls.

– Ivan Carlisle, Director of STEM

Our girls also had the opportunity to network with professionals in the field at the Hackathon event, as well as explore career pathways with the diverse array of sponsors and partners. These included the Block Chain Learning Group, ANZ Bank, Sphere Identity, City of Kingston, Microsoft, RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, and the University of Melbourne, and speakers including Andrew Koay of OCBC Bank Singapore, and interested parties such as Hon Luke Donnellan the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety and Minister for Ports, and, the diverse array of Hackathon participants. The feedback, encouragement and genuine engagement these professionals had with our students opened the minds of our girls to a world of new possibilities.

We are extremely proud of our girls for their fantastic efforts in a field that is predominately male. It is exciting for Melbourne Girls Grammar to be involved in fostering innovative technologies that can impact the community in such a positive way. This event has sparked the girls’ imaginations and they cannot wait for the next challenge that comes their way.

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