ETHDam - My First Web3 Event

Owen | May 30, 2023

I’ve been looking for a way to get my teeth into the web3 world for a little while. I needed a project - something I could get coding, make it work and learn how this all works along the way.

And then my son, James, pointed me at ETHDam - a web3 conference with free tickets for anyone accepted into their hackathon. Given that he also had an idea for something we could work on together, it seemed the perfect opportunity.

So, off we went - me with no web3 experience and neither of us having ever participated in a hackathon. We had an absolute blast!

James had an idea for how we might build a voting system where:

  • All votes are secret until the counting starts
  • Voter identity is always secret
  • Anyone can verify that all votes were cast by somebody eligible to do so
  • Anyone can verify that the count was correctly performed

We wanted to see if we could build a proof of concept, hopefully show that his idea was sound, teach me a thing or two, make some contacts and generally enjoy ourselves.

We were joined by Kieran, one of James’ work colleagues, and the three of us spent a day and a half working on our project before submission to the judging panel on the final day of the conference.

We used two of the ETHDam partners’ products in our project - sismo for zero knowledge proof of eligibility and scroll for storing the encrypted votes - and so we entered ourselves for the bounties on offer from both of those organisations.

We also used condition based decryption by nucypher and built our demo app using anvil.

Much to our amazement, we picked up a prize from both of the sponsors and went home with $3000 of bounty! James’ idea certainly is sound and we’re not the only ones who thought so!

Given that using anvil was what I’d brought to the party and it’s not exactly a mainstream solution, I was delighted that we managed to build our demo in such a short time. It certainly proved itself that weekend - there is no other way I could have carried off $3000 in prize money by building an app in 36 hours in a field I’d never worked in before.

ETHDam itself was wonderful. The organisers had done an excellent job and, as a hacker with my head down for hours at a time, I was well looked after. As a newcomer to this world, I couldn’t have possibly been made more welcome and I’ll certainly be back.