After a weekend of collaboration at the Hackenergy 2016, a jury of industry experts judged a project called EcoCoin as the best idea. The hackathon was sponsored by ENGIE Nederland, Energy Academy Europe, the City and Province of Groningen – and backed by Groningen’s IBM Client Innovation Center.

Maurits Alberda, Manager Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Energy Academy Europe, stated: “It was a great event, bringing the energy transition where it belongs: with people who want to work on our future, and a great way to connect knowledge, innovation and business. We look forward to welcoming new energy business ventures and to hosting a following edition!”

The hackers from the winning team, built a Blockchain-fueled peer-to-peer energy trading system on the open source Hyperledger Blockchain managed by the Linux Foundation, of which IBM is a significant partner. Similar to other projects, such as the Transactive Grid being built by LO3 Energy and ConsenSys in the USA, EcoCoin was constructed in 25 hours as the team spent the first day brainstorming and formulating the idea.

Hodge Hodgson, a hacker from the winning team, stated: “The use cases are various. One is that we can bring individual producers and consumers of energy, whether that be solar or be that from combined heat and power or whatever source together and the other one is that we can whitelabel the tool for intermediaries like the utilities in order to have their foot in the door and keep customer retention.”

The winners had the option of either taking the 5000 euro cash prize or opting to enter the start-up accelerator programme called Energy Venture Lab/Startup Fast Track, backed by energy multinational ENGIE, Groningen University/VentureLab North, Hanze UAS and the Province of Groningen.

The team is planning to attend Ultrahack 2016 in Helsinki this November – an international hackathon league with winners from more than a dozen other hackathons in Europe, all competing for a share of over one million euro in investment funds. This was arranged by Hacked in Groningen Hackathon League in partnership with Futuretournaments Oy in Finland and the Ecocoin team will receive a 1000 euro grant for travel, accommodation as well as tickets to attend the Slush festival after Ultrahack – one of the largest tech events in the Nordics.

Richard Kastelein, from Stichting Hackitarians who organised the event, remarked: “There is a lot of fresh innovation being done in the area around peer to peer energy trading, Blockchain, AI and Iot and these digital nomads really grabbed onto the concept, ran with it and nailed it.”

Hackers from Germany, Spain, USA, UK and the Netherlands attended the event, held in Groningen, a Hanseatic student city in the Northern Netherlands and there were nine presentations in total at the end of the event. Best Design was won by Hack the Truck, Best Technology was won by Joris and Best Commercial Concept was won by UU-IoT with their James Project – and all received 400 euro in cash prizes for their work.

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