Citing the importance of hackathon culture at Coinbase, the prominent US exchange recapped the recently held Vision Hack 2018 — its biggest hackathon event to date. Talking about experimentation and creative ideas, Senior Director of Engineering Namrata Ganatra focused on creative solutions to critical business issues.
Why Are Big Ideas Important?
In a blog post, Ganatra said that hackathons give the company a chance to “explore big ideas and to build prototypes we wouldn’t otherwise build.” The five-day, all-company hackathon didn’t depend on a strict set of guidelines. Everything from product improvements to independent experiments was welcome. Awards were distributed in five categories: The Hard Fork Award, The Proof of People Award, The Values Award, The Satoshi Award, and The Vision Hack Award.
This year, the company received 150 ideas, including one from CEO Brian Armstrong. The post highlights that most of the projects are in the prototype stage. However, it is possible to incorporate them into the company’s offerings in the future.
The Most Promising Projects at Vision Hack
Coinbase talked about a few promising projects during the hackathon. The first one of them was Project Spend Less Money, which used site reliability engineering principles to help fast-growing start-ups handle scaling challenges with ease. It determines saturation points of services and applies auto-scaling solutions and reduces costs significantly. It received the Vision Hack Award for being the best project overall.
The second project that the post highlighted was Crypto Point of Sale, a Coinbase Wallet idea that helps users in accepting digital currencies at physical stores. The app developed by the team helps link Coinbase Commerce seamlessly to devices for accepting merchant payments.
A security project PWNed Watch was also highlighted in the publication. This prototype creates an optional tool for the employees at Coinbase to register their personal information. This can help monitor and alert the security team and employees in case of security breaches such as password dumps, phone porting and SIM swap attacks, which have become very common among crypto hackers these days.
Another important project that Coinbase mentioned in the blog post was Octopus. Coinbase describes it as a “dynamic configuration management tool that provides a streamlined solution for managing configuration style data.” The project helps in the rapid enabling and disabling of individual features on all Coinbase services without needing to push a code. It helps in updates and version control, as well as rollback functionality.