Putting Our Skills to the Test at Web3 Hackathons

Putting Our Skills to the Test at Web3 Hackathons

Connor Mendenhall
Connor Mendenhall

October 11, 2022

Outside of our portfolio of web3 clients, our team has been participating in hackathons to challenge ourselves, expand our web3 skills, and meet collaborators who share our values of improving the quality and safety of all software systems.

Hackathons are an enjoyable, energetic, and collaborative atmosphere, and they’re also a great test of how we build software at 8th Light. When you’re trying to ship a working product in 48 hours, it’s especially important to build iteratively and incrementally, and have confidence that what you’re building will work in the end. These practices have been ingrained in our team since (at least) their apprenticeship, and that has helped us win prizes at the majority of the Hackathons we’ve attended.

Winning prizes is great, but the real reward has been working alongside other 8th Light crafters to build together and explore new emerging technologies.

These three hackathons were organized by ETHGlobal.

ETHMexico 2022

Held in Mexico City in the middle of August, ETHMexico attracted a who’s who of Ethereum contributors. Two of our team members, Connor Mendenhall and Emmanuel Byrd, participated in the event by creating a layered audio app on top of the Lens Protocol, where files are stored in IPFS.

The app, called Mixdown, allows users to collaboratively create music by layering audio tracks. Users can fork audio history at any point in time, and follow other users to see their content.

The team was awarded two first prizes from sponsors for use of Lens Protocol and IPFS.

“We had the chance to explore IPFS and the Lens Protocol, and I realized both technologies are designed to be programmer friendly,” said senior crafter Emmanuel Byrd. “I am happy with our submission, and it was great to be involved in such an intense hackathon.”

Connor Mendenhall (left) and Emmanuel Byrd (right) collaborate on building Mixdown at ETHMexico 2022. Credit: ETHMexico

ETHNewYork 2022

In late June, several of our team members joined the 1,500 other smart contract developers at the EthNewYork Hackathon. Throughout the long weekend event, our team built Worktree, a tool for creating zero knowledge (ZK) airdrops for Github contributors.

Worktree works by automatically creating and deploying a ZK airdrop contract associated with a Github repo. Project contributors can log in with their Github account and generate public claims that enable them to generate a ZK proof of membership. This work was built on and inspired by previous work by Element Finance and a16z, and allows contributors to claim tokens without linking their Github identity and Ethereum address.

I overcame a lot of ZK related challenges as a relative newcomer to ZK, like dealing with unbalanced Merkle trees, needing to increase the size of the anonymity set to get proof generation to work, and figuring out how to compile circuit code.

We’re proud of the work, which was also awarded a prize from Element Finance.


HACKFS is a hackathon that’s focused on building the foundation and infrastructure for the future of web3. Throughout the month-long event in July, senior crafter Elijah Sullivan developed Colloquium, a new content publishing platform where authors can easily draft and publish their content.

Colloquium leverages IPFS to store content data, and mints an NFT to serve as proof of authorship. The owner of the NFT corresponding with an article will receive any tips or other means of monetization on the platform; and the Colloquium NFT’s transferability creates additional opportunities for speculators to buy and sell based on projected future revenue.

Colloquium was awarded second prize from Protocol Labs in the Best Use category.

Interested in hacking along with us? Reach out via our contact form, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.