2018 Blockathon for Social Good: Blockchain Identity for the Homeless

May 26 & 27, The University of British Columbia  




 Top Prize: $2,500 for the winning team

Runner up team: $1,000

Honorary mention team: $500


The Problem:

Homeless individuals often lose their government ID and possessions because of the lack of personal storage while living on the streets.  Lack of ID can prevent homeless individuals from accessing needed government, health, social, legal and financial services.  Getting their ID back can prove difficult for them as they are unable to prove who they are.


The Challenge:

Working in teams, Blockathon participants are challenged to develop a decentralized identity solution with a retrieve function using any blockchain platform. As IDs must persist for extended periods of time, participants’ solutions must address long-term preservation issues, such as what happens if the blockchain platform is no longer available but the IDs still need to be accessed.  For extra points, participants are challenged to build on top of their distributed identity solution a DApp that can improve the lives of the homeless.

 Blockathon Process:


Blockchain@UBC Summer Institute participants will be automatically registered for the Blockathon and assigned to a team. Industry partners or community members who would like to join a team must register at the link provided by NO LATER than Wednesday, May 23rd if you would like lunch provided) or Friday, May 25th by 5pm (with no lunch provided).  Non-UBC student registrants will be assigned to teams at the start of the Blockchathon on Saturday, May 26th.


Registration: Register for the Blockathon here.



If you are an industry partner with blockchain development experience, you can also participate in the Blockathon as a team mentor.  Mentors circulate amongst the participating teams during the Blockathon to offer advice and assistance on solution design and development.  If you would like to participate as a mentor, please email Chelsea Palmer at ms.chelsea.palmer@gmail.com.



Our current mentors include:




Sanjeeva Rajapakse is a 3rd-year medical student at the University of British Columbia, and the Founder and Executive Director of Digital Mobility, a not-for-profit telecom service for the homeless and welfare state of Canada. Interested in the intersection of public health and technology, he sees the potential for blockchain to disrupt the public healthcare space and Canadian society as a whole. His interest in blockchain has grown into finding a dApp solution for identity for the poor and homeless. His hope is that Digital Mobility can provide the mobile data connectivity solution for the homeless to use the dApps created in the Blockathon for Social Good.






Patricio Vascones is a 4th year Commerce student specializing in Operations & Logistics, and Business Analytics at the UBC Sauder School of Business. He was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador, but has developed a keen ability to adapt to new contexts after living in Colombia, the United States, and now Canada. Patricio is an Universidades de Excelencia Scholarship recipient, a full-ride scholarship awarded by the Government of Ecuador.  He has worked with several organizations in the Mobile App, Consumer Goods, Broadcast Media, and Healthcare industries focusing on digital transformation, digital strategy, and, diversity and inclusion advocacy programs. Patricio is passionate about human development and ways to serve society through innovation, creativity, technology, and entrepreneurial mindset.







Ali Serag Al-din is the CEO & Founder of Lightbyte, a start-up investigating creative tech solutions to social issues. He was a participant of the kick-off Blockchain Summer Institute last year. In the same year, Ali also acted as Chair of the SAP Intern Community, one of the largest intern bodies in Canada. During Ali’s time as Chair, he hosted extremely popular events on the future of cryptocurrencies and has given presentations on Blockchain as well as it’s applications to security. Ali has recently been looking into potential Blockchain use-cases in regards to the DTES and creating a unique digitized identity for the city’s homeless. Having obtained first place in several hackathons as well as personally organizing the 2018 Changeathon, Ali is excited to offer mentorship to this year’s Blockathon teams on how to create a practical solution for this year’s use-cases.




The Judging Process


The judging process will be in two stages:

Participants will submit their design solution materials by 11:59 am on Sunday, May 27th using the link provided.  A panel of judges will assess the solutions against the material presented and any other artifacts that are uploaded or made available (e.g., videos, documentation, etc.).


At 1:00PM on Sunday, May 27th, each team will be invited to give a 10-minute presentation on their design solution.


Use Case Background Information & Resources:


Baars, D.S., 2016. Towards self-sovereign identity using blockchain technology (Master’s thesis, University of Twente).


De Filippi, P., 2016. The interplay between decentralization and privacy: the case of blockchain technologies.


Diebold, Z., 2017. Self-Sovereign Identity using Smart Contracts on the Ethereum Blockchain.


DIACC. 2017. Consumer Digital Identity: Leveraging Distributed Privacy Enhancing Technology. Https://diacc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Consumer-Digital-Identity-Companion-Paper.pdf


Dunphy, P. and Petitcolas, F.A., 2018. A First Look at Identity Management Schemes on the Blockchain. arXiv preprint arXiv:1801.03294.


Zyskind, G. and Nathan, O., 2015, May. Decentralizing privacy: Using blockchain to protect personal data. In Security and Privacy Workshops (SPW), 2015 IEEE (pp. 180-184). IEEE.


SecureKey (for DIACC), 2017. “Consumer Digital Identity: Leveraging Distributed Privacy Enhancing Technology.” Https://diacc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Consumer-Digital-Identity-Companion-Paper.pdf


Sullivan, C. and Burger, E., 2017. E-residency and blockchain. Computer Law & Security Review33(4), pp.470-481.


Tobin, A. and Reed, D., 2016. The Inevitable Rise of Self-Sovereign Identity. The Sovrin Foundation.