Consensus 2018! ARK_NYC! BlockHack!

In case you haven’t been following along for these last few weeks, we’ve been pretty swamped with public appearances and ARK events! We’ve attended/thrown three events this month, and it’s time to recap exactly what we’ve been up to and what’s coming next.

BlockHack Delaware / May 5 — May 6

Starting with a trip to Delaware, biz_classic departed along with delegate del to attend BlockHack to help provide support for would-be hackers at the University of Delaware. ARK was a title sponsor of this event, and fellow delegates and ARK co-founders showed up in force to help get projects off the ground during this 48-hour hackathon.

Simon (aka sleepdeficit) explaining the ARK blockchain.

For those unfamiliar with what a hackathon is, it’s an event where coders gather in a venue and spend anywhere from the next 12 to 72 hours working on a product idea from scratch — sometimes going 24 hours a day until the event is over. The goal is to incorporate a specific technological theme and create solutions to potential problems in the space — in this case it was blockchain.

BlockHack’s 1st place winners using ARK

Pictured above are the 1st place winners of the hackathon for their “Paradise Artist Blockchain” project, who took home the $2,000 ARK prize. Coincidentally this team also helped us find a minor bug in one of ARK’s dependencies during the course of the hackathon, so shout outs to them for their great work during the hackathon.

Finally, a big thank you to Jonathan Wood, Jesse Xiong, Noah Mogil and Trey Brunson from the University of Delaware for putting together this wonderful event — we had a blast and hope to return for the next one!

ARK_NYC / May 11

After arriving back in New York, we had less than a week to prepare for our very own ARK event in New York City. With the help of yokoama from thefoundry, we were able to secure a marvelous venue space owned by eBay which they graciously let us use for the evening, and on May 11th we drew a crowd of over 120 people for our ARK_NYC event. Several other delegates were also in attendance, with delegate del also helping us prepare and speaking at the event.

Delegates in attendance (left to right): del, Uncle Chang & Moon (biz_classic), bootlegjim (arkade), yokoama (thefoundry), munich (arkland)

As anyone in the IT field will tell you — anytime you’re about to launch or present something, whatever can go wrong will. First, the mixer that our friend Jigsaw brought to DJ some tunes as people came in seemed to break completely as we started it up, so we resorted to just playing some YouTube tracks over the large bluetooth speaker we brought. A few minutes before our 6:30 PM presentation, the HDMI cable connected to the main projector just seemingly stopped working, and after panicking for about 15 minutes we managed to figure out that we could plug our laptop into any wall in the venue and have it display on the main screen, but one of us would have to sit there while the other motioned to proceed with the next slide — functional, and a little awkward during a live presentation… but the show must go on!

During our presentation, we asked for a show of hands to see who was new to Ark and who was new to Blockchain as a whole. What came as a a pleasant surprise was just how many hands we saw and how many people we spoke to after our presentations weren’t just here because they were already holding and supporting ARK, but were here because it was their first time learning about Blockchain and found our event friendly and welcoming to newcomers. The turnout was full of diverse faces, young and old, from all facets of life. This was refreshing to see to see and we’re very glad that we achieved our goal of opening up the ideas of decentralization, blockchains, and ARK to people who were new to the concept. We spoke about the different consensus algorithms, how ARK stands out from the competition, and how the community can take initiative and help ARK grow and succeed. We also brought along and unveiled our latest invention — the real life ARK faucet — our biggest hit yet!

The REAL ARK Faucet

What better way of introducing people to ARK than giving them free ARK? With the help of a friend (if you’re in our discord you’ve seen him around under the name “Jigsaw”), we built a real life wireless ARK faucet that dispensed ARK to anyone with the mobile wallet (as well as the paper wallets we printed out for iOS users). For those unfamiliar, the concept of a crypto faucet originated with the Bitcoin faucets back in 2009, which gave away 5 BTC to every user daily completely free, back when BTC had absolutely no established value and was essentially worthless. We took this idea and brought it out into the real world — instead of digitizing existing technology, we did the opposite — and created the ARK faucet.

The faucet was a hit!

The faucet was an absolute hit, and the main attraction after the presentation was over. The concept was simple — open the ARK wallet, hit receive, and place the QR code under the faucet. The camera would pick up the QR code and instantly dispense 1 ARK. People were thrilled at the idea, and we dispensed over 50 ARK total at the event. It was so well received, the ARK team invited us to bring the faucet to Consensus 2018!

(Since we got a few requests for it — we will be doing a separate blog post on the building of the ARK faucet at a later date.)

At the end of the night, we gave away three Ledger Nano S hardware wallets with a raffle. Congratulations to the winners, including one of our very own voters who is also a very active member of our community discord!

The winners of the Ledger Nano S giveaway !

We’d like to give a big shout out to a friend — Misha Shatravka — who showed up to photograph the event (we had no idea he was planning to bring his camera equipment and take professional photos for us) and did an amazing job. You can find dozens of high quality photos of the ARK event right here.

ArkStickers.com

We would also like to give a shout out to doubled1c3 of ArkStickers.com, who allowed us to use his track “Point Click Blockchain” for the start of our event. We were meant to give him a shout out during the event but neglected to arrange which of our presenters would do so after we were occupied dealing with our projector issues at the start of the event. If you want some ARK stickers, go check his site out!

Consensus 2018 / May 14 — May 16

We arrived at Consensus the night of May 13, hauling up and installing the faucet to the ARK booth around midnight while hotel staffers gave us funny looks. We also purchased a small display for the faucet so users could see if their phones were lined up properly with the camera in the faucet’s tap.

Thanks to ARK being one of the largest Consensus sponsors, ARK was everywhere. The escalators, the walls, the presentation halls, they all had ARK branding on them. We were impossible to miss and the marketing effort put in by the team truly showed.

For all 3 days of Consensus, the ARK booth consistently had a crowd of people asking questions about the project and the conspicuous sink placed within it. We explained the ecosystem, how ARK aims to be the “WordPress” of blockchain, and how ARK aims to execute functional interoperability through its encoded listener and marketplace system.

We also helped give away “swag bags” and t-shirts to passerbys. By day 2 you could see red ARK bags on the shoulders of hundreds of attendees, and you couldn’t go anywhere without running into the ARK logo. ARK had taken Consensus by storm and there was no avoiding us.

On day 2, CTO Francois-Xavier Thoorens aka “fix,” gave an amazing rundown on ARK Core v2, including going in depth on all the features that were coming up, and showing off some of the goods — we witnessed a live mainnet sync in just a few minutes (no more snapshot servers and long sync times!), as well as a sneak peak at the plugin system that’ll ship with v2. We were also given an initial target date of a “few weeks” for the devnet launch of the new code — and unless you’ve been living under a rock, this morning it was officially announced that devnet will get v2 in 14 days!

Poor quality video still showing mainnet syncing — taken from our consensus live stream.

Afterwards, to draw more attention to the booth, we wrote “LITERALLY FREE MONEY” on a t-shirt and and we ended up being swarmed by attendees trying to get in on some ARK faucet action. Since the iOS wallet app wasn’t approved yet, we printed out paper wallets for those with iOS devices, and they were gone within just a few hours every single day! All told, we gave away nearly 250 ARK at Consensus alone. You can see all the ARK we gave away at the faucet address here.

With the faucet drawing a steady crowd the entirety of the day, delegates continued to help field questions for the team while they were occupied with other event attendees, and together we spread the good word of ARK. We even had multiple biz_classic voters come up and introduce themselves, and got a lot of networking done with folks within the industry. One of the ICON team members even came up and introduced themselves as a voter and discord member, proceeded by a nice technical chat on interoperability and how each of the ecosystems will influence cryptocurrency and help it succeed.

Consensus was a smashing success. We’ve had an extremely busy month, and we’d like to thank everyone involved that helped make all this happen — and a HUGE shout out to the ARK team who got us tickets to Consensus at the last moment and invited us to help man the booth — we had an absolute blast and it was lots of fun — and we’re glad the faucet helped draw such large crowds (who doesn’t like free money?). We have a lot more in store for our voters — don’t forget, June 29th is biz_classic’s anniversary — and we are considering introducing a merch line soon-ish after so many people asked us to make t-shirts and hoodies like the ones we wore at Consensus and ARK_NYC to represent the biz_classic delegate.

Stay tuned, there’s plenty more to come!