This is your Web3 hackathon survival guide. Whether you’re already committed to an upcoming hackathon or are still deciding whether to join the competition, you’re in the right place. We’ll share tips and tricks that will not only ensure your survival but also put you on the path to becoming a hackathon champion.
We created this guide because we’re hosting a hackathon—a big global one. Teams of builders, developers, and entrepreneurs will battle it out over the course of four weeks to transform ideas into applications. Ideas will be presented before the judges, and someone will be crowned the grand final winner of Build-A-Bull. Who will it be? The team (or lone wolf) that built the most impactful blockchain solution. Of course, we can’t tell you the exact recipe to win, but we can reveal some of the winning ingredients.
Define your objectives
Winning begins with a clear understanding of your objectives. Ask yourself, "What do I want to achieve in this hackathon?" Is it learning new blockchain skills, networking, or perhaps landing a job? Hackathons are for serious builders with founder DNA who can dedicate themselves to a project—is this you?
Check that your goals align with what the hackathon can offer. For instance, the aim of the Build-A-Bull hackathon is for developers to create consumer-friendly apps that harness the power of the Algorand blockchain. Does that objective align with yours? If so, you’re ready to take a chance on becoming the Build-A-Bull grand champion.
If you don’t sign up, you won’t secure your place in the hackathon. By registering as soon as possible, you gain access to essential information and team formation. You don’t have to know exactly what you’re going to build at this point; you simply have to register your interest. In fact, you don’t have to submit any project information until later in the hackathon.
Sign up closes on Nov 1, 2023.
Fail to prepare... Prepare to miss out on first place. Once you're in, it's time to get organized. Create a timeline that includes research, ideation, coding, testing, and presentation. Plan your work hours, allocate responsibilities, and set milestones to keep the project moving. Another plan: Get someone with product management skills on board who will keep you motivated and on track.
Key dates you need to know for the Build-A-Bull hackathon:
Learn the rules
Before diving headfirst into the code, make sure you know the rules. Whether you’re new to Web3 hackathons or you’ve taken part in the past, always get familiar with the specific rules of the hackathon you’re entering.
The rules for the Build-A-Bull hackathon are:
- Read the official Build-A-Bull rules. We strongly recommend that all participants familiarize themselves with the official guidelines.
- Know the team size limit. Our team limit is five members. Stick to the rules to avoid disqualification.
- Understand the evaluation criteria. Take the time to thoroughly understand how the judges will evaluate your project. Align your project with the criteria to maximize your chances of winning.
- Build within the hackathon tracks. Ensure that your project aligns with one of the tracks listed below. Judges are more likely to favor projects that fit the theme well and address specific challenges.
- No copying or plagiarism. Do not copy code, ideas, or projects from others, as this can lead to disqualification.
- Always be respectful. Be professional and help us foster a positive environment between the participants, judges, mentors, and organizers.
Form a solid team
A strong team can make or break your hackathon experience. To win, you need a team of people who all bring something different to the table. Find someone with knowledge in blockchain development, smart contract coding, front-end, and back-end development, user experience design, and even business or marketing. Make sure at least one team member has good presentation and communication skills. Don’t expect your team to be perfect, but make the best of what you have and focus on working together to build something incredible.
Make sure all team members are committed to the hackathon's timeline and can dedicate the necessary time to work on the project. Clearly define roles and responsibilities within your team. This ensures that everyone knows their tasks and can focus on what they do best. Assign roles such as project manager, developer, designer, and marketer as needed.
You typically have two options: form a team ahead of the hackathon or after you sign up. If you’re on a team, you will still need to register as an individual to be eligible for the prizes. There is also the opportunity to form a team on Discord, where we have a dedicated channel for people looking to form and join teams. Go to the channel and introduce yourself, your skills, and your ideas.
To kickstart your journey, start by identifying pain points both online and offline. X can be an invaluable resource for unearthing inspiration and pain points within the Web3 community. Additionally, don't underestimate the power of your own life experiences; they can often conjure up real-world problems waiting to be solved.
Draw on your knowledge of blockchain and Web3 to devise solutions. You’re looking to create something that will have an impact and has great potential for market adoption. Keep sustainability top of mind as you build. Products that are built to last will impress the judges. Leave any limitations (except the hackathon rules) at the door.
Our DevRel team has a repository on GitHub brimming with Web3 hackathon inspiration. You can find working examples of larger ideas, like AMMs and mass NFT airdrops, as well as smaller demos on how to use new features made available within the AVM. Dive down the GitHub repository rabbit hole to find discussions about new tooling and product updates. For Build-A-Bull, we’ve also created a live ideas sheet curated by us where you can find more build inspiration.
Pick your track
One of the most pivotal decisions you'll face is choosing your track. This choice can significantly impact your chances of success and your overall experience during the event. Explore what you’re most passionate and knowledgeable about.
Build-A-Bull has five tracks for competitors: DeFi, Consumer, Interoperability, Impact, and Gaming. Each of these tracks has $40,000 USDC prize money up for grabs. Pick a track that inspires you the most and get building.
If we had to give one piece of advice to hackathon participants, it’s this: Be proactive. Ahead of the hackathon, keep yourself updated on the latest developments in Web3 technology. Being well-informed can give you an edge when incorporating innovations into your project. Don’t wait for your team members to give you things to do. Get involved with the decision-making process, propose ideas, and stay connected with your team. Always stay in the flow of what is happening. Network with other participants and talk with mentors. Building relationships can lead to valuable partnerships, feedback, and opportunities beyond the hackathon.
Make use of all the resources
There are so many Web3 hackathon resources at your fingertips that can help you win. Ahead of the hackathon, get involved with workshops and bootcamps. Soak up the knowledge where you can. Engage with the Web3 community on Discord and X to keep up-to-date, ask questions, get code examples, and discuss ideas.
Our hackathon resource guide is packed with hack-specific aids that participants can use throughout Build-A-Bull. The Algorand Developer Portal is filled with useful building resources. AlgoKit is the developer tool to help you get started building on Algorand within 10 minutes. Be sure to check out the AlgoDevs YouTube channel, which has a huge range of 5 to 10-minute videos to support your building. Plus, we’re hosting beginner and intermediate developer bootcamps to get everyone warmed up.
Get expert support
Embrace the guidance and insights offered by mentors. They have valuable Web3 experience and can provide expert advice to help you overcome challenges and refine your project. Stay in touch with the hackathon organizers, who can address logistical concerns, clarify rules, and provide support when needed. Remember that accepting support doesn't diminish your abilities or achievements. Instead, it strengthens your project and increases your chances of winning.
Stuck on your Build-A-Bull project? DevRel Office Hours can help with complex product and build advice–just schedule a session. You’re the builder, but we’re on board with support and resources to help you go further.
You can also ask questions in the DevRel Discord channel for any smaller issues you may encounter during your building journey. Got questions about wallet integration? Chat with the Pera team about any relevant technical difficulties.
Qualities of successful bulls
To win, you must align your project with what the judges are looking for. Study the judging criteria carefully and tailor your project to meet these expectations. Show that you've done your homework.
Build-A-Bull is scored out of 100. It’s judged on the following criteria: collaboration and teamwork, scalability and sustainability, the pitch and presentation, a functioning MVP, and the potential for adoption and market impact. Let’s further break down what those mean.
The importance of the pitch
The pitch is your time to shine. In a Web3 hackathon, your project isn't just about the code you write or the technology you use; it's also about how effectively you communicate your idea. A well-crafted pitch can immediately capture the attention of the judges and set a positive tone for the evaluation. The pitch is your opportunity to tell a compelling story about your Web3 project. Use it to explain the problem you're solving, why it matters, and how your solution works. A good story can make your project memorable and relatable. Keep it clear, concise, and engaging.
Be prepared to answer questions from the judges. Anticipate potential inquiries and have concise, well-thought-out responses ready. This demonstrates a deep understanding of your project. Finally, practice your pitch until you know it inside out—we don’t want to see you fall at the final hurdle. Make an impact on the judges.
Eyes always on the prize
Throughout the Web3 hackathon, remind yourself why you entered in the first place. Whether it's the sense of accomplishment, the prize money, or the opportunity to showcase your skills, use your motivation as fuel to keep pushing forward. While winning the hackathon is a fantastic achievement, remember that the ultimate prize is not just the cash reward. It's the knowledge gained, the connections made, and the personal growth that come from participating in such a competitive and innovative event.
Each Build-A-Bull track winner will take home $25,000 USDC, and be invited to take part in marketing, growth, and investor workshops. The second and third will also take home $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. First prize winners will be asked to present on grand prize demo day, where they will present their ideas to the Algorand community and get a chance at the grand prize: an additional $10,000 USDC. This is the event that attracts top-tier VCs and partners looking for the next big thing. It’s also where potential customers will learn about your product. Following the presentation, the community will vote on-chain to determine which team will be crowned Build-A-Bull champion.
Ready to Build-A-Bull?