ICON Hackathon Post-Hackathon Support - ICON Ecosystem Partners

Hello, fellow developers.

We would like to begin an open conversation about how we, the current developer community, can foster an encouraging and supportive environment to allow new developers to immediately engage and become active members of ICON once introduced.

Some validators have expressed interest in the retention rates of the previous hackathon and efforts made to support those projects, I’d like to outline the following efforts made and issues that arose.

Project Quality Control

  1. Each project submitted to the ICON hackathon was tested, all codes reviewed, if githubs were private, we would reach out directly during the judging for access.
  2. Each project had to submit demo videos and additional documentation to qualify their projects for the hackathon.
  3. Each judge had to judge the qualified projects on strict guidelines.

This was to ensure that every applicant put a certain level of effort in learning ICON, going through the dev resources, deploying the projects to testnet. Participants went from having 0 experience building on ICON to having mainnet-ready projects.

Post-Hackathon Contact
So post hackathon we have a number of deployable projects, now the aim is to get them all deployed, even ones that didn’t win. All participants were contacted to join a discord to follow-up on their projects to go live. This discord, entitled “ICON Ecosystem Partners” was specifically for offering additional guidance to ensure these projects entered the ecosystem, hence the name. Answers to questions, suggestions, advice etc was offered. The CPS grant was highly recommended and focused on since most in the group made near-complete projects from scratch with no funding. Help was provided in preparing CPS proposal, sponsoring CPS bond etc.

Issues we found:
Human Resources

  1. There is no specific person(s) given the task, responsibility and necessary resources for managing the onboarding of projects post hackathon.
  2. There is no specific person(s) given the task, responsibility and necessary resources to help development issues that may arise for the new projects.

Development Resources

  1. For any major dev issues, the projects were redirected to this forum, icondev.io or icon dev telegram group (at the time) for help. If ICONDAO didn’t have an answer on hand, it didn’t seem like they were getting the answers they needed from those places so some problems were never resolved.

CPS Grant System as The Next Step

  1. CPS rejections kill morale. Not just in the group but internally in the Devera team as we did not plan in our framework what to do if the projects from Devera students or individuals from the hackathon were to be rejected by the community. Admittedly, we still have not figured this out.
  2. It is a decentralized fund so the most we can do on our end is help them prepare. Bear in mind, at this stage not everyone is as involved/dedicated to the ICON to take a rejection of their project on the chin and have a gung-ho “we will get 'em next time” approach.
  3. So if CPS isn’t the next step, what is? Other chains don’t seem to be lacking in the grant, funding or hackathon area. So if funding opportunities aren’t available via CPS, we need to discuss what can we propose to the projects and developers?

Additional Support

  1. No mentorship support. ICONDAO/Devera was essentially doing all mentorship support for the projects. It’s possible some of the human and dev resource issues could be solved with more active support for those already in the dev community. We encouraged participants to make social medias about their projects and try to go out and engage, the icon community engaged with them, but didn’t really seem other developers using the opportunity to connect. Whether that is because they see them as competition? Not sure.
  2. No sponsorships. The devera hackathon is a bare-bones CPS production. Funding goes towards marketing the hackathon and prizes for the hackathon and nothing else (and even that is hard to be approved for). There is no additional support given for anything extra and there is no additional support given from any other community entities, validators or community members. If anyone wants to jump in as a sponsor, whether it be monetary, human resources, dev support, that would be very useful.

Interest-driven Transparency and Care

  1. Aside from us arguing with P-reps on twitter earlier this year about why they aren’t supporting the new developers once we bring them to ICON, Robi and Rhizome’s questions might be the most interest we’ve seen in the hackathon from other validators. So we would have to evaluate purpose-driven transparency - “what do I actually care to see and what will I actually care to follow-up on”, then evaluate the best way to do so.
  2. With more transparency, will more validators and developers actually put the time in to review the project progresses, mentor the new developers, jump in with their 2 cents to respond and engage the new developers. This is another factor to look into.

Please use this forum as a way to discuss and facilitate a fix. More information can be provided below for questions, so we may all put our heads together on this. From our perspective, a hackathon can bring new developers to the table, but it is the developer environment that gets them to eat. So if we could get some feedback or suggestions on how we can work together to create the environment needed for this, I think that would be better.

@Robi7 continuing this from part of your Twitter thread

@Robi7 Hi, in regards to the categories. It may have been miswording on our part - FYI the devpost goes live soon so there is some room for adjustment if there’s a better approach to the categories. So this is something that can be updated.

As we understood drafting the hackathon plan, we highlighted that the focus is on chain collaboration. “Creating solutions that expand ICON beyond” into other spaces or connecting with other spaces.

The ‘Cross-chain Tooling and Infrastructure’ is a category for tools, contracts and protocols that other builders can utilize or integrate with as part of the foundation of their own apps to add cross-chain functionality. Efforts from this category can include, example, creating an open-source protocol that allows for the transfer of values between chains. Having that resource in our dev community that any fellow developer may look into.

Saying that it is only “20%” of the focus of the hackathon is misleading as there is no rule saying the other categories do not involve or will never involve cross-chain functions.

Either way, we sincerely doubt a developer building even a social good project for BTP-enabled ICON network or a launched ICE/Snow network is going to just not use the interoperability technologies available to them. But if it helps we can put a criteria that projects who outline their use and plan for interoperability will be given higher priority.