HyconHacks Winner Interview: Dario Ferencevic

“I think that a hackathon is also a perfect opportunity for any businessperson to really test his skills and see if he’s able to come up with a business model and analyze the potential market in a very limited time frame.”

Hycon 1st place winner ‘Dario Ferencevic’

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became interested in blockchain technology.

My name is Dario Ferencevic, I was born in Serbia and have moved to Germany (near Frankfurt am Main) back in 2001. There, I have studied Economics at the Goethe University (Bachelor’s and Master’s), where I specialized on Taxation, Accounting and Finance and graduated in 2014. In the same year, I entered Ernst & Young as a Business Tax Consultant, where I have worked until recently. Currently, I am focusing on acquiring programming skills in Python and Java and am aiming to switch to an IT-oriented role, as opposed to being purely business-centric. Around March 2017, I have by accident heard about Ethereum, the 2nd largest cryptocurrency, and was very intrigued about the concept. This led me to deeply research the topic and to understand the blockchain technology and especially its incredible potential. I’ve been a blockchain enthusiast ever since!

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 participated in two hackathons previously, one of which was a general hackathon, and the other one was also a blockchain hackathon — more specifically, the Ethereum Camp, which was held in Berlin, Germany in March 2018 and was my first hackathon ever. Since I have a business background, participating at hackathons was something which I in the past assumed was only for developers. However, this is not at all true, as having a solid understanding of the business side of things can be immensely helpful and can be utilized to great effect when developing a prototype — since having cool tech without a business model is only half the story! So, I think that a hackathon is also a perfect opportunity for any businessperson to really test his skills and see if he’s able to come up with a business model and analyze the potential market in a very limited time frame. This was something which I never had to do in this manner previously and it greatly helped me to learn how to prioritize and focus on the most important aspects of a business plan properly. A hackathon is also an incredible opportunity to meet like-minded individuals which are passionate about the same subject!

3. What attracted you to HyconHacks?

I heard about HyconHacks (and Hycon in general) from Prof. Philipp Sandner of the Frankfurt School of Finance (which is also a partner of the hackathon). As I know Philipp from many meet-ups and events in Frankfurt, I was intrigued that he would be recommending a hackathon in Korea and I looked it up. Since the Hycon project sounded highly interesting, I thought taking part in HyconHacks would be the perfect opportunity to learn about their blockchain hands-on in detail and also to get a look at the South Korean blockchain scene. Last, but definitely not least, the opportunity to have the travel costs to South Korea reimbursed for selected foreign participants was an amazing way to do all of the above without overextending the budget!

4. Please share with us what your project is all about and what role you played in the team.

A very brief summary of our project “Hycon Shield” would be that we developed a prototype which enables us to manage online access permissions to e.g. confidential files in real time on the Hycon blockchain. With our prototype, we are addressing the growing problem of handling increasing amounts of sensitive data (e.g. customer data), which in the last years has led to numerous data breaches and related scandals for the companies involved with many millions of damages as a result. “Hycon Shield” is a single-source, tamper-proof solution which solves many of the current issues, and can furthermore easily be extended to include smart contracts, keyless authorization, decentralized file storage technology (such as IPFS) and many more.

Since I only recently started to learn programming, my focus in the team was on ideation and market analysis / business development research. I contributed the content for the pitch slides, in which I emphasized the market potential of the idea, why blockchain needs to be implemented and what the future development roadmap for the project would look like. To be honest, I myself was a bit surprised at how relevant of an issue proper data access management for a modern company is! So, thanks to this hackathon, I have a newly-gained perspective on this subject.

5. What did you learn from HyconHacks?

I learned a lot about Hycon and Glosfer, its highly motivated and very friendly staff who were always there to provide assistance or answer any questions. In general, I had a chance to get to know some amazing people at the hackathon. Also, I was impressed at the github code for Hycon, although it’s also a work-in-progress, so not all features were yet implemented — I will definitely closely track the team’s progress in the future! I’ve already mentioned that I have a newly-found awareness for the Identity and Access Management (IAM) industry and its growing importance in our increasingly interconnected world. I’ll stop here, but I could mention many more insights which I gathered!

6. What was special about HyconHacks?

First, for me as a foreigner who has never before visited South Korea, naturally the location would be something which is very distinctive. It was certainly a unique opportunity to get first-hand insights about the Korean blockchain community. The second most distinguishing feature of HyconHacks compared to other hackathons I’d attended was its scale (largest hackathon I’ve attended) and top-notch organization. Every need or question of a participant was professionally addressed and the entertainment program was something I’ll never forget (in a positive sense), although a few features were a bit difficult to follow for non-Korean speakers.

7. Please share with us your short-term/ultimate goal as a developer.

My near-future goal is to continue on improving my developer skills, so I can not only understand and develop the business perspective of a project, but also understand better how the code operates in detail and start actively contributing to a project’s source code or realize my own ideas. My conviction is that understanding both perspectives (business / tech) is a rare skill which would let me combine the best of both worlds. I would definitely enjoy further developing our “Hycon Shield” concept with the teammates and am looking forward to further talks with the Hycon team on this matter!

8. Please feel free to share any other thoughts.

Thank you for the interview and I strongly encourage everyone to take a look at the upcoming HyconHacks in Berlin!

Dario and team pose for a photo after receiving the 1st place award in the Hycon topic category


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