As CoinSpice.io readers are well aware, the weekend of October 27 through 28, 2018 was marked by the second in a series of hackathons concerning the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. Estimation from organizers Bitmain, BTC.com, and PermissionLess Ventures placed as many as 120 people in working attendance — some 90 hackers, 13 mentors, and another dozen assorted media. First prize was earned by the PandaCash team, taking home a cool 10 BCH ($3,500) and bragging rights.
PandaCash Wins BCH Hackathon in Amsterdam
Organizers and hosts such as Ms. Nikol Daru and Ms. Eléonore Blanc could be seen tending to the hackers’ every need, from arranging food to mastering the presentation ceremonies, and were very present online as well in the hackathon Telegram channel. No detail was left unconsidered. Ultimate judging criteria and breakdown concerning the event can be found here.
At least one beneficiary of the BCHDevCon’s well-organized spirit, the second of its kind this year, was the PandaCash team. Their work was judged best in class, taking home first prize. The general focus for Panda was making BCH more accessible to developers generally, a critical step in building out infrastructure for the hope of more eventual currency adoption.
“PandaCash gives developers better tooling which in consequence will attract more application developers to the ecosystem,” the team’s descriptive blog reads. “PandaCash empowers developers to spend more time building user applications than doing dev-ops. PandaCash makes your application testing more consistent and your application more secure and less buggy.”
Bitcoin Development Doesn’t Have to be Hard
The Panda team found the current state of Bitcoin tooling to be less than easy to use. As their outline makes clear, “There is no standardized development environment. You need to figure out what components you need, download them and get them to work together. Each of these is a work in its own.”
Nodes, restful API, block explorer, spendable coin addresses and keys are all needed to even get started. “Needless to say, it can take a few hours,” the team explained. “If you are a novice you’ll need much longer than that as you’ll face challenges with configuration, and you might need to synchronize gigabytes of blockchain data which takes more than a day.”
Rather common obstacles include after having managed to download components, integrating them, only to find they’re too slow to submit test transactions. Working offline might not even be possible. There doesn’t ever seem to be a clean state for testing applications, either.
“Other blockchain ecosystems offer much-advanced tooling for developers,” the Panda team answered. “Look at Ethereum. The Ethereum developer community is roughly 30x larger than the Bitcoin developer community (source: ConsenSys) and growing much faster.”
They cite Truffle as a best practice example. And that’s “partly attributed to the tooling Ethereum ecosystem provides. Truffle Suite is a leading example for developer utility tooling for Ethereum blockchain. Why don’t we have it for Bitcoin development?” the team put forward.
Their solution was to develop a one-click Bitcoin Cash blockchain, a Ganache-like tool for Bitcoin Cash, making PandCash a “utility tool that allows a quickly fire up of a personal Bitcoin Cash blockchain which you can use to run tests, execute commands and control how the chain operates. Calls to the BCH chain should be “without the overheads of running an actual Bitcoin Cash node. Addresses can be re-cycled, reset and instantiated with a fixed amount of Bitcoin Cash (no need for faucets or mining). Debug logs are displayed by default. Not all of these features are yet supported, but this is the vision for the future.”
Application Developers + Bitcoin Cash = Adoption + More Use-Cases + Faster Community Growth
For the Panda team, the assumption is better tooling will entice more devs to the BCH chain. Their formula is simple: “Application Developers + Bitcoin Cash = Adoption + More use-cases + Faster community growth […] Less time needed for bitcoin cash application development = less costs.”
Applications can be, through the Panda team proposal, less buggy, more secure, and more consistent — three minimum standards for busy developers. “With PandaCash,” the team notes, “you have the opportunity to reset your blockchain and start from scratch with the same test data. The outcome is better security and less bugs.
Making the BCH chain personal for a dev is also key. “The only thing you need to start working on Bitcoin Cash applications with PandaCash is a Docker container and NodeJS installed. The personal blockchain can be started from a command line tool simply with: # if npm or docker are not installed — sudo apt-get install npm docker, # in most cases you’ll need sudo for global installation, sudo npm install -g pandacash-cli. pandacash-cli.” The Panda team credits Adrian Barwicki, Rosco Kalis, Bryan Lee-A-Leong and Nikolay Manolov, and Die Kosten for their Proof of Concept win in Amsterdam.
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