Skynet meets Handshake
2 SEP 2020
To kick off our brand new integration of Skynet and Handshake, we co-hosted a hackathon with Namebase. The hackathon has now completed, and we couldn't be more pleased with the results. More than 180 people registered and submitted a total of 64 finished projects. 14 large prizes ($250-$2600) were handed out, and 50 small prizes ($40-$75) were handed out.
Before we dive in to the results, I want to talk a little bit about the new integration. Prior to Handshake, the only way to link to content on Skynet was to use a cryptographic URL like /CABAB_1Dt0FJsxqsu_J4TodNCbCGvtFf1Uys_3EgzOlTcg/. Thanks to Handshake, it is now possible to link to the same content but in a more human friendly way: /hns/big-buck-bunny/. Handshake is a fully decentralized platform for DNS. The 'big-buck-bunny' name is actually a domain within the Handshake system that is owned by me. By adding a TXT record to the domain with the value sia://CABAB_1Dt0FJsxqsu_J4TodNCbCGvtFf1Uys_3EgzOlTcg, I can get my skylink to resolve to my domain. You can read more about how to use the Skynet + Handshake integration here.
Beyond human friendly names for content, Handshake also allows for updatable content. For example, someone could host a blog on Skynet under a handshake domain. Before Handshake, any updates to a blog (for example, writing a new post) would require circulating a brand new link to subscribers. But now that Handshake is supported, the TXT record can be updated, meaning that users will automatically see the new content next time they visit the blog.
Combined Prize Winners:
The grand prize winner of the hackathon is a blog platform that does exactly that! The grand prize winner, Wakio, is a skynet blogging platform that integrates blog posts with Handshake using the Namebase API. What stands out the most about Wakio is how fully integrated the experience is. As of the end of the Hackathon, Wakio allowed users to create a blog, link to the blog, and then directly from the blog users could modify their blog and submit an update to their HNS domain. With the exception of the actual Handshake update (which talks to Namebase servers), everything is done fully within Skynet. We are excited about Wakio because the overall experience feels close to what you might get on a centralized platform like Medium, and we feel that there is great potential for apps that continue to move in this direction. Web3 is going to take over the centralized world when applications are as easy and as user friendly as their centralized counterparts, and we felt that Wakio did a great job in this regard. Since the hackathon ended, the Wakio developer has continued to make improvements to the application. Wakio took home a total of $2600 in prizes.
Wakio was not the only impressive blogging platform submitted to the hackathon! Another submission - Skyblog Builder - similarly provides a pure-Skynet experience that allows users to create their own blogs. One outstanding element of Skyblog Builder is the beautiful design of completed blog posts. Skyblog Builder won a runner-up prize, and also won the Judge's Choice award from Hudson Jameson, Developer Liason at Ethereum Foundation. Hudson had this to say about the project: "Skyblog Builder has the best balance of design, being education minded, technicals, and good use-cases. It was especially impressive for someone being exposed to blockchain for the first time to be able to accomplish all of that." Skyblog Builder took home a total of $700 in prizes.
Within the category of increased usability for Skynet and Handshake, we have Resolvr. Resolvr is a firefox extension which allows users to click on and visit handshake and skynet URLs within a webpage, giving users a more fully integrated experience within Web3. Resolvr won the Judge's Chioce award from Eric Meltzer, an OG crypto VC, taking home a total of $700 in prizes. "To see greater adoption for Handshake and Skynet outside of the crypto community we need tools that make it easier to use these projects — projects like Resolvr help us advance towards true adoption" said Eric.
Three more projects won the combined Namebase-Skynet runner-up prizes, valued at $500 each. The first is Jellyfin Uploader, a Jellyfin integration which allows users to stream content from Skynet and even share content with their friends via Handshake powered RSS feeds. It was a tough call not to give Jellyfin the grand prize, especially because many of the judges (myself included) were partial to media streaming and were personally excited about the increased amount of decentralization that can be achieved for media libraries. Next is Skydroid, an Android application that functions as a decentralized app store. This project is particularly interesting in light of recent deplatforming events on both the Apple and Google mobile platforms. The final combined prize went to Wayback, a project for archiving pieces of the Internet on Skynet, which is a critical component for a robust Internet.
A total of 11 projects won the joint participation prize, valued at $70 per project.
The grand prize winner of the Skynet portion of the hackathon was SkySpaces. SkySpaces is a Skynet tool which allows you to upload and manage collections of files and applications, including features such as tagging. What stood out about SkySpaces is the way that SkySpaces makes Skynet feel like a more fully integrated experience, rather than a collection of disjointed links to content and apps. We believe that as Skynet continues to evolve, applications which interact with and link to other applications will increasingly be a major part of the ecosystem. SkySpaces won a total of $1200 in prizes.
There were 4 runner-up projects for the Skynet only portion of the hackathon, each winning $260 in prizes. Two of these projects - Skybox and Skychat - were very close to winning the grand prize, and each is very impressive. Skybox is a pure-skynet application to help developers create Skynet pages and applications. Skybox includes impressive features such as drag-and-drop, which will automatically upload the image to Skynet and then load in the correct Skylink in the image tag. Skybox also allows users to grab a link of their work-in-progress, which includes the full development environment. Overall, it's a very cool utility that makes highly creative and effective use of Skynet. Skychat is also a very impressive application, leveraging Skynet and GunDB to create a real-time chatting application which is fully decentralized. Skychat is particularly impressive because prior to it's development, real-time chat is not something that we thought was feasible. The Skynet community continues to impress us with its ingenuity.
The two other runner up projects are TorrentYks and github pages support on dgit. TorrentYks allows users to seed skynet files over bittorrent. We like TorrentYks because it extends the reach of Skynet content to another highly popular peer-to-peer application. Dgit is a previous hackathon winner that was improved upon by a new developer by adding a feature to publish webpages and frontend applications to Skynet via dgit. This is the beauty of open source applications, where developers from different parts of the world can continue improving upon and expanding on existing projects, and this new extension to dgit covers a big use case of the centralized platform Github, making it increasingly easy to decentralize your software development. Both TorrentYks and Dgit are impressive projects, and we are honored to include them in the list of runner-up prize winners.
A total of 26 projects won the Skynet-only participation prize, valued at $40 per project.
Namebase Only Winners:
The grand prize winner for the Namebase portion of the hackathon is Link Frame, a chrome extension that resolves handshake domains within Chrome. Link Frame stands out because it gives users an easy, non-technical way to integrate with the Handshake ecosystem. Link Frame won a total of $1400 in prizes.
There were two runner-ups for Namebase, winning $280 each. The first is Stagger, an application inspired by StumbleUpon which allows users to tour various websites that have integrated with Handshake, helping to address the very important challenge of discoverability for decentralized applications and services. The second is Discord Bot, which is a cutting-edge AI chatbot that can give users an introduction to Handshake and Namebase, and help them learn more about the ecosystem in a conversational format.
A total of 6 projects won the Namebase-only participation prize, valued at $45 per project.
Future features for Skynet and Handshake:
One thing that we are aiming to support in the next few months is decentralized updates to Handshake. We are working on an extension to the Skynet SDK that will allow users to update their handshake names without needing to call out to the Namebase API, ensuring that developers can easily build fully featured applications such as Wakio while also being 100% decentralized. The ETA for this feature is currently 1-2 months.