Caitlin Long

WyoHackathon 2019 Takeaways: Kids Rule, Hardware Wallets Fly and Wyoming Wins

Howdy from Laramie on the day after the Wyoming Blockchain Stampede ended! Here are a few highlights to go along with this short video (no sound). Enjoy it!

  • Kids Rule: I was blown away when the 13-year old CEO of Pocketful of Quarters, George Weiksner, explained the limits of an SEC no-action letter that his company obtained for its token issuance–with the fluency of a well-heeled lawyer. He wasn’t alone, as the “Shoshoni Hackers” were back again this year and they won three prizes in the competition! Both junior high and high school students from this small town in the center of Wyoming made the trek. Shout out to the very special parents and teachers of these amazing youngsters!
  • Hardware Wallets Fly: Participants cleaned out the entire inventory of two hardware wallet providers, D’Cent and KeepKey, on the first day, as both developers and locals flocked to these self-sovereign coin storage solutions. KeepKey brought 500 devices. I’m not sure how may D’Cent devices it brought from Korea to Wyoming, but it was accumulating a long list of mail orders.
  • Wyoming Wins: I noticed a sea change during last week’s Blockchain Task Force meeting. To wit, Rep Tyler Lindholm usually asks those testifying if their companies are registered in Wyoming. At this meeting, most of them said yes. But he also asked if they’ve gone the next step and moved to Wyoming too. Again, most of them said yes! Local news coverage here highlights ongoing discussions among some big industry players about their Wyoming activities, including their support of UW’s blockchain programs (which are already more than 3 years old), and their intent to apply for Wyoming special-purpose depository licenses when applications open on October 1.

There’s so much more! Cardano unveiled a new version of Plutus, its smart contract programming language, at the developer conference. The SandCastle Invitational saw the road to Dubai 2020 begin in Wyoming. (Congrats to the SandCastle winner, Open Index Protocol! In a happy coincidence, Wyoming’s Teton County selected OIP for its land records pilot project, which began last year). And congrats to the SovereignKeep team, which won the “Best for Wyoming” competition by capitalizing on one of the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force’s proposed laws for the upcoming legislative session–a law that would protect private keys from compelled disclosure in a criminal, civil or administrative proceeding in Wyoming. (A judge can, of course, still compel you to transfer assets if owe them, such as in a divorce settlement, etc). There was a loud cry of support for this idea from crypto Twitter, and I think the SovereignKeep team is right that passage of this law would attract cloud computing platforms to locate servers in Wyoming. None of us should ever forget that developers are the most important part of this ecosystem!!

See you at WyoHackathon 2020 next September in Laramie!

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Bitcoin/blockchain, ex-Wyoming Blockchain Task Force, 22-year Wall Street veteran.


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