Blockchain for Strata Governance

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Last weekend 24-26th November Australia's largest blockchain hackathon, coined the "Blockathon" took place at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre (MCIC) at the University of NSW. Hosted by bitfwd the event was supported by vibrant community groups the Tyro Fintech Hub, Sydney Ethereum Meetup and Blockchain Professionals Sydney. With over 90 participants I decided to tag along and mingle with the community.

A lot of new comers get caught up betting on crypto currency ICOs and don't get much deeper than this. Joining a community group or attending a hackathon is a great way to broaden your exposure and understanding. Personally I wanted to sound board some of my own ideas, but also roll up my sleeves and do some coding in Solidity.

Some common themes from the contestants included:

  • Provenance: Ability to track supply chains from the source enabling end consumers to confirm the true origin and quality. Team Flathead tackled the fishery industry.
  • Governance: Using blockchain to improve efficiency, reach, accountability and fairness of community group management.
  • Immutability: Creating permanent records of activities.
  • Reputation: Building systems to underpin reputation and ranking in communities.
  • Scarcity: Besides more crypto tokens, making digital artworks verifiable as genuine originals. Crypto Cats took first prize for their cat artwork marketplace! Perhaps frivolous but a great way to open the community to nOObs (newbies).
  • Internet of Things: Integrating the physical world with the online. Second place went to JOE (Javascript of Everything) who ran a live demo controlling a light bulb.
  • Off Chain Processing: Reducing processing costs of using distributed computing to enable economic micro transactions. This is a big issue in blockchain scalability.

One of the most striking things about the community broadly speaking is the generosity and goodwill of the people that support it. The three day event had some really high profile sponsors including Santiment, Block8, NEM, HCash, Gaze Coin, Olympus Labs, and Trezor.

The judging panel included:

Between waffles, sushi, pizza and beer, participants had access to top quality mentorship from Ethereum experts Bokky Poobah, Luke Anderson and Adrian, Cryptography expert Weiwu Zhang, String Nguyen of StringStory Media, and Tyro Fintech Hub Manager Sharon Lu. The judges also pitched in with mentoring over the course of the event ... and probably a few more ethereum enthusiasts helped out too.

Strata Governance Project

Ze'ev Gilovitz, Connor Wiseman and I formed a team with the help of a little match making. We managed to put together a working prototype on the Etherium blockchain with a functional web3 user interface.

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The idea was looking at governance of residential strata schemes. The judges liked the idea and we came away with third prize. I don't think any of us thought we were going to win anything so we were pretty happy with that. There were some really great well developed ideas from the other teams, and the standard of the presentations was high. I imagine the judging was very tight in the end.

Our hacked together prototype allowed members to register as part of a strata scheme, make proposals and vote. We also enabled members to pay their strata levies in Etherium into the central contract and have their member accounts credited. Tokenising strata levies opens up the possibility of rewarding community members for taking on roles such as the Chairperson, which is otherwise an unpaid and often thankless role that nobody really wants to do. It creates a micro economy where activities like cleaning windows, gardening or getting quotes to replace the hot water boilers can be rewarded through a ledger of contributions.

Residential apartment buildings also tend to have poor data records such as asset registers. If there are any, they are likely stored in filing cabinets or local hard drives. In many cases the data has simply been lost with time. With the Grenfell Tower disaster in London at lot of attention has fallen on cladding in Australian apartment buildings.

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The way the industry is dealing with it is running around conducting expensive audits with experts on site checking buildings. Better record keeping via blockchain would enable tracing panels back to the source and allowing others to quickly identify if their buildings have the dangerous panels. Immutability of data would also help to stem corruption, lower insurance premiums, and perhaps avoid disasters.

Ethereum Solidity allows you to build complex applications. However, rather than running off a hosted server, any activity on your application is processed by a distributed network. Instead of paying hosting fees, you pay 'gas' which compensates the individuals that run the distributed network nodes. If you want to run a node and start earning income just go to the Ethereum website. However, you will find it is quite a competitive business.

Hats off to bitfwd's Daniel Bar and his team Neto, Vincent, and Mark for hosting a really great community event. For those interested in getting involved in the community I suggest following up with bitfwd and the other community groups linked at the top.

For thorough coverage of the event read Sean Au's Sydney Blockchain Hackathon Round Up. For more discussion about blockchain in strata, try my prior article here. For good coverage on the cladding and building regulations watch the recent Four Corners feature.

Cheers,

Ross McIntyre