HyconHacks Winner Interview: Catherine Bui
“My mantra for the hackathon: “Don’t focus on the prize, focus on what you want to make that can help people.””
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became interested in blockchain technology.
My full name is Cathrine Kieu Trang Bui. My parents were boat refugees from Vietnam, and I was born and raised in Norway. I am an exchange student from the University of Oslo, and I currently attend Seoul National University. I‘m studying toward a master’s degree in computer science, because IT is my passion! I had heard about blockchain and it was everywhere, and I wanted to learn more about it. Which is why I started as an intern at Bitcoin Center Korea.
2. Did you have any experience with hackathons prior to attending HyconHacks? If so, how were you able to grow through participating in hackathons?
I had never been to a hackathon before, but I am so glad that I went. I think 36 hours of intense work was a really good and efficient growing experience in many areas. One of the things that grew was my belief in myself and my abilities.
3. What attracted you to HyconHacks?
It is open and translated for English-speakers!
I’ve been wanting to attend IT events, but it is difficult for me because I can’t read the posters that are in Korean. I also don’t want to attend an all-Korean event because I wouldn’t understand anything.
4. Please share with us what your project is all about and what role you played in the team.
Our project provides a way of authenticating CCTV footage, so that its authenticity can be assured. This is useful when videos are used as evidence in court. The blockchain is used as a permanent record for video “signatures”. A CCTV camera would hash its video files in preset intervals, and store only the hash on the blockchain. When the footage needs to be authenticated later, the file can be re-hashed, and the hash can be compared to the one stored on the blockchain. If the hashes match, it means that the video has not been manipulated.
5. What did you learn from HyconHacks?
I learned a lot about pitching, brainstorming, blockchain, and especially teamwork. Our team have members from Norway, Korea, Spain, the Netherlands, and Germany. We didn’t know each other very well, which meant that communication and patience is really important.
I learned that I can do more than I think. I’ve never worked so intensively for that many hours before, and I was really pushing my limits. I also didn’t expect to win first place in our category AND the entire hackathon, after only three weeks of learning about blockchain.
I learned that it is important to keep a positive attitude. Mood is contagious within the team, and it is important that we influence each other positively.
I learned not to give up. It is hard to work for so long, and to keep going even when you are exhausted. There was a moment when I felt discouraged, and I had doubts. There were also a lot of skilled blockchain programmers and people at the hackathon, which made me nervous. But because we pulled through and submitted our project, we had a chance at winning. If we had given up, we would never have known that we could make it all the way.
6. What was special about HyconHacks?
It was open to beginners, and even non-developers. This makes for a more diverse team, which is important for creativity in the team. It also reimburses attendees from abroad, which means you get to meet skilled people from other places.
7. Please share with us your short-term/ultimate goal as a developer.
Our near-future goal is to launch a startup with the prize that we won. We are very lucky to have the Bitcoin Center Korea incubate and advise us. My next goal is also to become more skilled at blockchain programming, so that I will be more prepared for the next HyconHacks in Berlin.
8. Please feel free to share any other thoughts.
My mantra for the hackathon:
“Don’t focus on the prize, focus on what you want to make that can help people.”