by Andrei Dutescu
11-13 of April (yes, it was also during the weekend), me and my colleague Horia attended the FinTechAthon organized by Startupbootcamp, a Fintech accelerator. To put simple, it was a 48 hour hackathon organized in London, which gathered business experts in payments, IT architects and developers. The theme of this hackathon was “Redefining payments”, with the objective to re-design the core payments infrastructure in order to remove limitations. Identifying problem areas, testing many different concepts and demonstrating in code the ideas that have potential were also present on the agenda.
As financial transactions processing and payments in particular are always a top subject for Allevo, we have participated to this event also because it was a great way to network with people and meet them face-to-face, starting relationships within the community.
The event began on Friday afternoon with an introduction from our host, StartupBootCamp, made by Nektarios Liolios, former member of the SWIFT Innotribe team. The event itself was facilitated by Mela Atanassova (also a former member of the SWIFT Innotribe team), and in its first part, it looked a lot like the one Allevo organized for the official launch of our FinTP Project on 24th of May 2012 (with the same facilitator, it’s true).
On Saturday morning we had a lively open debate about the key concepts in the payments infrastructure that needed clarification. Afterwards we enjoyed a brainstorming session around some of the solutions. The ideas that came out of the brainstorming process were scribed on the walls for a better view by Mela. Alongside all the participants, we got involved and formed teams that started working on some of the ideas suggested during the brainstorming session: each team chose an idea and started a project based on that idea. The projects initiated kicked off in the hackathon, each team presenting a short demo/solution based on the development and coding made. We had to use as much as possible the API documentation & resources from the partners of this event: Ripple, Open Bank Project and X Ignite – all open source products.
So Saturday was a pretty long and busy day, from early morning until late in the evening, but the experience of working with the people gathered there and sharing ideas and knowledge with them, gave us plenty of energy and made all the efforts worth.
On Sunday morning we continued working on the projects, preparing the final presentations and demos. Each team had to present its demo in front of the audience. The best team of the hackathon was chosen, selecting from the last 3 teams that made it to the final. Best developer of the event also received an award.
The idea of the winning team (called Open MPC – also based on an “open” source solution) started from simplifying the retail payment process between a client and a merchant, with the settlement between the two parties not involving banks, but being made through an internet protocol/network called Ripple, having both the client and the merchant use an electronic wallet.
As a prize, Startupbootcamp offered to provide the winners an office space located in their building for 2 months, so that the team can continue the development of this project. A similar hackathon will be organized on 22nd of June, also in London. This event will gather all the winning teams from previous hackatons.
Being continuously preoccupied with the development of new products and with the latest financial and technological trends and events, the participation at such events helps us also to gain a larger footprint for our FinTP project and for the community around it, FINkers United, by meeting people face-to face, by telling them about our project and by gaining new members in our community.
During these 3 days we had the opportunity to talk to bank experts, developers and people from all kinds of areas of expertise, sharing with all of them the idea of joining our open source community, which is for all financial thinkers’ enthusiasts.
I was happy to see the good reaction that people had when told that we just launched our product for processing financial transactions in an open source environment. Many of them asked a lot of questions about the community and wanted to know more (especially developers who were interested in how they can contribute in coding). Their positive reaction gives us the reassurance that organizing such an event within the Finkers United community, in the future may be a very good idea.