2023 Arweave Asia Summer Hackathon Recap

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Author:Spike @ Contributor of PermaDAO

Translator:Saiee @ Contributor of PermaDAO

Reviewer:Scarlett @ Contributor of PermaDAO

Good wine is not afraid of deep alleys, and the aftertaste lasts through the award season.

Under the backdrop of the vibrant Arweave in Asia ecosystem summit, we have slightly postponed the award date, extending the entire hackathon to a full three-month journey. However, after the long wait, we have still arrived at the victorious D-Day!

This hackathon has been warmly embraced by the developer community, comprising both seasoned veterans and university students who are still in school. Their knowledge of Arweave and blockchain development varies, but after going through a meticulous process of pre-hackathon preparation, workshops, and post-event feedback from our mentors, we believe that this hackathon has been a satisfying experience for all.

Of course, friendship comes first, and competition second. We have no intention of overly judging the merits of each project and developer. However, due to limitations in the total prize pool, we still had to make some tough decisions. After multiple rounds of evaluation by professional judges and media reviews, we ultimately selected one emerging project in the ecosystem - Cascad3, two projects with unlimited potential - ProtocolSign and Soulcial, as well as five projects for the Best Participation awards - Public Vector Database, Deschool, Apus Network, Smarter AA Wallet, and FancyLink.

In this article, we will provide detailed introductions to these eight projects, collectively exploring the future growth potential of Arweave.

Cascad3: The Value of IP

Humans have always had a fondness for stories, from "One Thousand and One Nights" to Hans Christian Andersen. Whether in the East or the West, throughout millennia, each culture has cultivated its own epic narratives, representing different values and fundamental human consensus.

In the contemporary era, stories have transformed into Intellectual Property (IP). Today, anyone can create their music, videos, novels, or even games. However, distributors often take the lion's share of the profits.

Take games, for instance. Creating a game is not the end; it's the subsequent payment processing fees, distribution costs, and agency commissions that make up the bulk of expenses. Each step along the way seems to follow the principle of "squeeze out maximum profits", with only a meager portion reaching the developers.

The gaming market is one of the most well-established ecosystems within the creator economy. It's a domain where users are most willing to pay. However, for earlier forms of IP such as music and literature, the situation is even more challenging. Crafting a great song or a literary work can take months or even years of effort, yet the majority of profits are often claimed by distributors and intermediaries.

Cascad3's goal is to redefine the value of Intellectual Property (IP) by building on top of Arweave, ensuring data availability, and integrating with the Universal Data License (UDL) standard, making it a foundational programmable asset on the Permaweb.

Additionally, Cascad3 recognizes a significant shift in the landscape. With the assistance of tools like AI, more and more people are transitioning from passive consumers to producers, or even becoming producer-consumer hybrids. The relationship between users and products is evolving beyond a simple buying and selling process, incorporating personal emotions and engagement.

Therefore, emphasizing the value of IP alone is insufficient to capture the revolutionary significance of Cascad3. The most appropriate assessment is the co-creation of an IP protocol. Under this co-creation mechanism, the flow of content and subsequent revenue sharing can all be recorded by on-chain smart contracts, fundamentally altering the current centralized monopolistic landscape.

Cascad3 goes beyond the realm of literature and the arts. Its roadmap includes foundational infrastructure for multimedia editing tools similar to Mirror. This encompasses components like audio, video, NFTs, and more, which are modular tools that users can choose and utilize as they see fit.

In its next phase, Cascad3 aims to move towards a self-governing world, leveraging the powerful capabilities of AI to create a fully decentralized and censorship-resistant co-creation economy that operates entirely on the blockchain.

Furthermore, Cascad3's objectives extend to attracting more traditional Web2 users. Currently, it appears that Web3 struggles to match the user base of Web2 for the foreseeable future. Breaking free from zero-sum thinking is the first step in attracting users. The gap between Web2 users and Web3 products lies in user education and retention. To address this, Cascad3 offers a unified login interface where users can choose between Web3 wallet login options or more mainstream methods like email.

From the perspective of the dual evolution of humans and machines, Cascad3 aims to enable individuals to ride the wave of AI empowerment from the ground up. It seeks to help individuals find their intrinsic value in this AI-driven era, liberating them from tedious and uninteresting repetitive work. This is the essence of Cascad3's emphasis on co-creation in the age of AI.

At the foundational level, the integration and combination of innovative protocols like UDL with Arweave will significantly promote the growth of data on the Arweave platform. In previous use cases like anti-counterfeiting and traceability, the issue of data source credibility has been a challenge for blockchain. However, with the assistance of UDL, the flow of data becomes transparent and verifiable.

Taking all these factors into consideration, we have designated Cascad3 as the emerging star project of this hackathon. SCP Ventures will follow up with investments and incubation efforts, aiming to create a truly native Web3 mainstream co-creation platform!

Unlimited Potential: RWA and Social Expansion

Following Cascad3, the next two projects, ProtocolSign and Soulcial, are showing tremendous promise. ProtocolSign creatively combines the concepts of Decentralized Identifiers (DID) and Real-World Assets (RWA) to break down the current disconnect between on-chain and off-chain data. Soulcial is focused on transforming personal social behavior into NFTs.

Both of these projects share a common recognition: the existing on-chain data is reaching a bottleneck, and there's a need to source more external information. Whether it's physical assets from the offline world or other internet data isolated from Web3, they need to be reevaluated and introduced into the blockchain to construct a unified and self-sustaining ecosystem.

ProtocolSign: A New Experiment Combining DID and RWA

Currently, Real-World Assets (RWA) have become the next engine of DeFi, whether it's MakerDAO's purchase of US Treasuries or the practices related to on-chain real estate. These initiatives focus on the financialization of traditional bulk commodities and often require traditional methods like Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks, to some extent deviating from the decentralized ideology.

However, there's nothing wrong with blockchain seeking more use cases. ProtocolSign's solution is a "two-sided cheese sandwich." On one hand, it verifies individual identities through Decentralized Identifiers (DID). It's worth noting that even government-issued identity information can be turned into a DID, which, once on the blockchain, no longer contains sensitive personal information. This dual approach aims to achieve compliance and decentralization simultaneously.

Secondly, ProtocolSign extends the categories of services for RWAs. Instead of solely focusing on high-value assets like real estate, gold, or US bonds, it includes more everyday products like wine. Tapping into a broader consumer goods market, it could potentially push RWAs toward a trillion-dollar market size.

Using DID as an entry point for RWAs can effectively address Web3 user identity concerns. If a smart contract is executed on the blockchain, it can automatically execute if it meets the requirements. However, when it involves off-chain assets, the issues of how to divide and transact them must be considered. In such cases, the identity of the counterparty becomes crucial for traceability in case of disputes.

Furthermore, in designing product security standards, different levels of identity verification will possess varying legal efficacy. These levels can be decoupled from each other and invoked as needed, striking a balance between efficiency and security.

Data, text, contracts, and other information generated by users can be permanently stored via Arweave and undergo corresponding encryption and decryption operations to meet business needs. Arweave itself will serve as a public record keeper for results, maintaining availability for over 200 years.

Soulcial: A Fair Launch Social Extension Protocol

Following the explosive popularity of Friend. Tech and Telegram Bot, the debate about whether social platforms can lead Web3 into a more mainstream user market has gained significant attention. However, at its core, both of these platforms are still driven by financial logic to promote user engagement within their ecosystems.

Soulcial presents an alternative possibility. It continues to aggregate user social behavior data but expands its scope to different blockchain ecosystems and real-world data sources, including platforms like Google, Twitter, Discord, and others. Furthermore, on-chain ecosystems such as POAP and ENS are also part of the data sources.

Once these data sources are acquired, Soulcial assigns different weights based on various categories. It then generates NFTs at different price points. With the assistance of AIGC (possibly an AI-based algorithm or tool), users can easily create personalized social assets that reflect their unique style.

After NFTs are generated, users can still engage in social activities, such as sharing and linking, and they can also sell their NFTs. Unlike the sales mechanism for homogeneous tokens, NFT pricing involves emotional factors, thus offering a stronger potential for both preservation and appreciation.

Additionally, the fair launch mechanism aims to avoid a situation where a few prominent figures or Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) dominate the profits, striving to give everyone the opportunity to build their personal brand. This approach aligns with the principle of equitable access and participation, fostering a more inclusive social ecosystem.

Best Participation, Promising Future

In addition to the emerging stars and projects with unlimited potential in the ecosystem, we have also specifically selected 5 representative projects to share rewards from the prize pool as the Best Participation awards. Among them, there are technological foundations of the AI era, such as the Public Vector Database built on Arweave, as well as next-generation education products dedicated to Web3 like Deschool. We also have the decentralized GPU marketplace Apus Network and a fully open and decentralized wallet ecosystem, the Smart AA wallet, with diverse and interoperable third-party account applications that allow users to better configure and easily use AA accounts. Lastly, there's a brand-new web3 novel platform called FancyLink.

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