Starting Young: UK High School Wins 3rd Place in Barclays Blockchain Comp

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Blockchain enthusiasts are starting young, as proved by the third-placed team at a blockchain interoperability hackathon at the Barclays Rise fintech hub in London. The hackathon was hosted by London-based blockchain startup Clearmatics.

The prize was awarded to a team of high school students from Bedford, who was up against challenging senior competition.

Not only did the students take away the third prize; their entry wasn’t planned ahead, with only two days to organize their project, according to Dr David Wild, head of computer science at Bedford School. His team knew almost nothing about blockchain tech just 48 hours prior to the contest.

Dr Wild guided his students through the process of designing a smart contract to share exam results between schools, exam boards, and university admissions by using the Ion framework. The teacher explained that the students’ lack of prior knowledge actually worked in their favor: “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.”

The team of high school students who had not even sat their A-Level exams yet was pitted against blockchain experts from Santander and Barclays and other UK bank representations, as well as seasoned startups such as Web3j and Adhara.

One of the students commented on collecting their prize that it was truly a last-minute learning curve, pointing out: “We learned quite a lot about Solidity and smart contracts on the train.”


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