Blockchain technologies have introduced new economic, business, social and technological models that have the potential to have a significant impact on both public and commercial services.  As a result, The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, in association with the Department of Finance held BlockAthon Ireland over the course of two days (the 26th-27th of January 2019) to explore use-cases for the potential application of Blockchain technologies in the Public Service.

The purpose of this event was to identify and explore real-life use-cases of distributed ledger technology (Blockchain) to develop a deeper understanding of how and why Blockchain may be utilised to improve current processes, development, citizen user experience, efficiency and more.

There were nine teams competing at BlockAthon Ireland. Eight mentors (Blockchain experts) were in attendance and the judges for the event included Blockchain experts, as well as the CIO for the Irish Government.

The five sample problems given to the BlockAthon teams to solve were:

  • HSE: Medical Device Supply Tracking
  • CSO: Trustworthiness and Integrity of Data Throughout Collection Process
  • TII: Toll Operator and Electronic Tag Hub
  • EI: Grants and State Aid Tracking
  • Dept. of the Taoiseach: Coordinated Program for Government

Version 1 and Blockchain 

Blockchain is a focus area for the Version 1 Innovation Labs in 2019, and as part of that initiative, we entered into this hackathon. Version 1 consultants and Blockchain enthusiasts Oisin De Conduin, Cezara Molodiuc, Padraic Duffy, Bhaswar Dutta and Mark Caulfield took part in the Blockchain Hackathon.

The Version 1 team chose to tackle the Enterprise Ireland sample problem of ‘Grants and State Aid Tracking’ using Hyperledger Fabric Service. Ahead of the event, Version 1’s technology partner AWS provided the team with access to the Hyperledger Fabric Service on AWS Managed Blockchain.

Oisin De Conduin, Solutions Architect with Version 1 commented on the Version 1 team’s experience of participating in the Blockchain Hackathon:

“Prior to this event, our Hackathon team hadn’t worked together yet on a Blockchain project implementation, so this was new to us. We all had knowledge of Blockchain concepts and would have studied the technology in the lead-up to the hackathon to make the most of this opportunity to work on real-world applications on Blockchain, which is still a developing concept in our industry. Although this was our team’s first implementation of this technology, we were able to create a working proof-of-concept of the solution.

We hit a last-minute setback before the finish line, when the VM on which the front end for the proof-of-concept was developed crashed and it had to be re-built from scratch. Despite the last-minute rush (the finished code was submitted all of 40 seconds before the deadline) – we completed our solution’s proof-of-concept in time – it was a close one! One of the mentors (a leading consultant on Blockchain in Ireland) who reviewed our work was impressed by it, especially the scoping of the problem and the way we tackled it. Some positive feedback came from one of the judges after the event saying that the presentation was great and the answers to the questions were brilliant. Although we didn’t take home the win this time, a big congratulation to the winning team of Clodagh and Rosa – a.k.a ‘AiL’ for their solution!”

A thank you from the Version 1 team to those that shared time and expertise with the team over the weekend, including:

  • Barry O’Connor (Mentor – QPQ.IO)
  • Saad Shahid (Mentor – CEADAR)
  • John Durkin (Enterprise Ireland)
  • Seamus Minogue (Enterprise Ireland)

Innovation at Version 1 

An innovative company from inception in 1996, Version 1 is committed to maintaining an innovation edge to drive Customer Success as our customers’ preferred IT Innovation Partner. In 2018, Version 1 announced the intention to invest €1 Million in its Innovation Lab. Through the Innovation Lab, our customers will receive cutting-edge technologies and services, all designed around solving the real problems our consultants observe across our engagements with enterprise organisations.