Barclays Blockchain Challenge Awards Third Place to Bedford High School in the U.K.


Distributed ledger technology offers many benefits, but it takes work to understand everything that makes it function properly. The ability to connect multiple blockchains is a major challenge to the most experienced of developers, but a team of high school students managed to master this challenge at a blockchain interoperability hackathon in London.

The students, who are all from Bedford School in the U.K., participated in the competition, which was hosted by a blockchain startup called Clearmatics at the Barclays Rise fintech hub. The challenge was to use the Ion interoperability in an effort to connect two blockchains.

Once the link was established, the blockchains would have to be able to exchange data, verify transactions, and more, just like it would in the real world of cryptocurrency.

Blockchain experts from multiple sources joined in on this competition, including blockchain experts from Santander and Barclays banks. Web3j and Adhara were two of the many long-term startups to enter the competition as well. By placing third, these high school students challenged the way that interest plays a major role in the understanding and development of the blockchain industry as a whole, especially with the newer entrants to the ecosystem.

Dr. David Wild, who is the head of computer science at the high school, said that the team only started learning about enterprise blockchain technology a mere two days before they competed. The teacher uses his own experience in educational software to offer a smart contract design to his lesson, which would help to share the exam results between multiple entities in education for a seamless result.

Once the students agreed on this approach, they began their work. By having a new and somewhat naive view of the Ion framework and enterprise blockchain technology turned out to give the group an advantage. Dr. Wild commented,

“If you are writing a piece of software say, you want somebody who is naive to use it because they tend to use it in the ways that you wouldn’t imagine.”

One of the students, upon winning the third place in the competition, said,

“We learned quite a lot about Solidity and smart contracts on the train.”

Even with this 48-hour cram session on learning the software, it is clear that this technology can be learned by anyone with the determination to understand its development and innerworkings. Clearmatics is also the creator of the Utility Settlement Coin banking group.

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