Harmony announces $1M hackathon aimed at merging traditional finance and DeFi

The hackathon will run for roughly six weeks from Aug. 15 to Sept. 30 and include four challenges from three different categories.

The Harmony blockchain has opened registration for a hackathon starting next month with more than $1 million in seed funding and prizes for participants.

In a Thursday announcement on Twitter, Harmony said the hackathon would be focused on bringing in more people from traditional finance for challenges bridging their fields and decentralized finance. The protocol said there would be four challenges in each category of social wallets and keyless security, cross-chain and trustless bridges, and cross-border with fintech integration.

“In blockchain, finance is where we are seeing product market fit,” said Harmony. “But most of DeFi was created by people who didn’t come from traditional finance. We want to bring more TradFi in to contribute to DeFi. We know they have much to teach us and we can help them understand and harness the power of DeFi and teach them a lot as well.”

SushiSwap core developer Omakase is listed as one of the featured speakers or judges for the event, alongside Earn.com co-founder Lily Liu, DeFi Alliance lead Imran Khan, and others. Sponsors include CoinGecko, Messari, Unstoppable Domains, DappRadar, SushiSwap, DoraHacks, news platform The Defiant, and Hummingbot.

Related: Hackathon challenges developers to build killer blockchain apps using JavaScript

A sharding protocol with a trustless Ethereum bridge that separates its chain into segments that process transactions and store data in parallel, Harmony’s mainnet first went live in 2019. The project has since announced multiple partnerships and integrations, including with stablecoin platform Terra for its token to migrate to Harmony and be used on applications in the ecosystem.

Harmony said last month it would be sponsoring the hackathon in its aim to reach 10 billion people. Teams for the event will be limited to 5 people, with registration closing Aug. 15. It will conduct the event over roughly six weeks from the submission deadline until Sept. 30.

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Pandora Finance’s $2.4M raise helps spearhead open finance protocol

“Adoption has never been affected and never been stopped. The right product always gets adopted irrespective of market conditions,” said Pushkar Vohra, CEO of Pandora Finance.

Pandora Finance, a decentralized platform for NFT-backed real-world assets, recently completed a multi-million dollar seed round backed by some of the biggest venture capital firms in the blockchain space. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, CEO Pushkar Vohra outlined his company’s vision — namely, how Pandora Finance aims to create a bridge between the illiquid world of real-world assets and the blockchain.

Vohra believes the gap between these two domains represents one of the biggest adoption challenges for decentralized technologies. “We are uniquely positioned to solve the biggest problem,” he said, adding:

“There are around $300 trillion of real-world assets which are illiquid. Pandora’s vision is to bridge those off-chain assets to the on-chain ecosystem with an effective business model.”

Pandora’s business model revolves around the tokenization of illiquid assets, which would allow them to be traded and owned in a secure, decentralized manner. This process is accomplished through a middleware solution based around nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. Instead of competing with other NFT marketplaces for liquidity, Pandora’s vision is to help those marketplaces grow by providing more liquidity.

Related: NFT market projected to double by October as trading volume surges

There’s still a lot of work to be done before traditional finance — and the trillions of dollars siloed there — can embrace decentralization’s promise of open finance. A lack of innovation and decades-old legacy systems may prevent traditional financial markets from making the transition.

Vohra touted his firm’s piNFT tool as a way to bring liquidity to real-world assets, something he considers to be essential for open finance to flourish:

“We at Pandora are working on fueling open finance adoption more and more with our latest innovation.”

He continued:

“There are many assets that our traditional financial institutions do not recognize. There is centralization around decisions when it comes to classifying the assets and trading them. Pandora will help end-users to expand the horizon of recognizing real-world assets and inducing liquidity in them via piNFT.”

Pandora’s $2.4 million seed raise, which was completed in May, had participation from at least 15 organizations and several other angel investors. Genesis Block, AU21 Capital, Spark Digital and Protocol Ventures were among the participants.

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Google Finance adds dedicated ‘crypto’ tab featuring Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin

Crypto continues to enter mainstream usage. Google Finance users can now get a quick rundown of the top cryptocurrency prices with just one click.

Google Finance has added crypto prices to the finance.google.com domain. The section, titled “Crypto,” now appears in the “Compare Markets” category alongside conventional stock and currency markets. The section provides key pricing information for various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Google Finance users can now track the performance of various cryptocurrencies in just one click.

Google’s parent, Alphabet, also owns video platform YouTube — which has consistently irked crypto users by banning educational and news content, often seemingly at random. Cointelegraph and CoinDesk, the two largest publications in the crypto news space, have both been subject to suspensions that have subsequently been overturned after the video streaming platform confirmed they were not in violation of YouTube’s terms of service.

The cryptocurrency market has attracted mainstream attention over the past year, as institutional investors and corporations have started to invest in the asset class. Their involvement helped launch the cryptocurrency market cap past $1 trillion in January. The crypto market cap would eventually peak north of $1.7 trillion in February before experiencing a pullback. At current values, the digital asset class is worth over $1.4 trillion.

Both retail adoption and institutional interest has been growing rapidly over the last three months. And with major firms like Tesla and Mastercard actively embracing cryptocurrencies, the need for clearer regulation is growing, according to United States Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce.

Calls for clearer guidelines on digital assets will likely grow louder as the bull market heats up. In the meantime, Peirce says, the new Biden administration can provide a fresh look at the regulatory aspect.

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Chinese Authorities Warn About ‘Sophisticated’ Digital Yuan Scam- Promotes Access to a ‘$186M Secret’ Government Fund

Chinese Authorities Warn on 'Sophisticated' Digital Yuan-Themed Scam — Promotes Access to a '$186M Secret' Government FundAs China keeps paving the way to adopt its central bank digital currency (CBDC), scammers are also actively emerging on the scene. The police in a Chinese province are now warning about a “sophisticated” CBDC-themed scam. Bogus Platform Is Set to Be Launched in March, Say Scammers According to a post from the cybercrime unit […]
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177-Year-Old Swiss Bank Bordier to Offer Bitcoin and Other Crypto Trading Services

177-Year-Old Swiss Bank Bordier to Offer Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Trading ServicesA 177-year-old bank in Switzerland has enabled cryptocurrency trading within its services, with expectations to expand. Bordier & Cie SCmA added bitcoin and other cryptos to its list of services by partnering with a well-known domestic crypto player. Bordier Customers Can Also Buy and Hold Other Cryptos According to the announcement, the Swiss bank, founded […]
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