Ethereum is bringing about a paradigm shift in the way we use software in our society. When Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, made us reassess our perception of value storage, it also revealed a sneak peek of the future: a world running on decentralized applications. These distributed, resilient, transparent and incentivized applications will prove themselves to the world by remapping the technological landscape.

Ethereum, like Bitcoin, uses the blockchain as its underlying technology to create a decentralized network of incentivized nodes facilitating transactions. This technology is not even a decade old yet, but has already caused a revolution of sorts in the financial industry. For the first time in human history, we can now build decentralized and trustless applications that exchange value and that are guaranteed to run exactly as written with no third party interference or corruption. This is a fundamental change to the current way our society works, and it is cause for a wave of developers building out the infrastructure needed and applications on top of it to build this future.

In the past decade or so, hackathons have become a staple event in the calendars of developers. There are many kinds, including startup hackathons, open source hackathons, brand hackathons, ideathons (like startup weekend), and other variations like those. The idea is to bring together a group of talented people to a single place, for a fixed amount of time, with the simple goal of completing some kind of project in that time period. For example, at Hack the North, 1100+ college students come together to work on technical projects they’re interested in for 36 hours, and then present a demo of their hack to a panel of tech industry leaders.

These events have become more and more common over the years because they have been so effective for all parties involved. Companies have been able to recruit great engineers, hackers have created lifelong friendships with their teammates, and hacks have been created that led to successful companies or thriving open source projects. All in all, this model has proved to be very effective for progressing ideas into society and exciting the next generation of developers to build the future.

So, why ETHWaterloo?

Ethereum is at a critical point in its development. Three years after Vitalik published the initial whitepaper, the network has grown to overtake Bitcoin by over 3x in transaction volume and has attracted thousands of developers from across the world to its developer ecosystem. Despite this incredible growth, however, the network is still in dire need of more engineers building its core infrastructure; researchers progressing its solutions to things like proof of stake, state channels, and sharding; and developers creating useful real world applications on top of it.

There are many reasons to be optimistic about Ethereum’s future potential and developer ecosystem:

We believe that by creating an Ethereum-focused hackathon in one of the greatest cities for developers, we can help introduce incredibly talented developers to the developer ecosystem we are building. Our hope is to give ambitious, passionate, and excited developers the chance to meet the people behind this technology like Vitalik Buterin, Jeff Coleman, Joseph Lubin, and others, and an opportunity to work alongside people like them to build interesting applications on top of Ethereum.