From 1K to 48K Devs: Solana’s Hackathon Boom – Big Bucks, Big Buzz!

Certainly, we’re all accustomed to hearing about various activities aimed at community building, with a frequent emphasis on airdrops. However, Solana‘s blockchain took it to a new level, thinking: “Why not hackathon? It’s a win-win strategy,” and they were right. Hackathons have long become an integral part of modern technological culture, contributing to project development and knowledge exchange. Despite their technical focus, hackathons have also proven to be an effective tool for community marketing.

Let’s see what marketing tasks Solana addresses with this tool:

– Attracting developers = bringing new projects into the ecosystem and attracting investors.

– Drawing new users into the community. By creating new projects, Solana grabs the industry’s attention to the ideas crafted by developers.

– Advancing the entire Solana blockchain and ecosystem with the growth of projects.

– Educating new users.

– Increasing engagement and strengthening the community through interaction.

– Serving as a significant information trigger covered by the media and the crypto community.

– Building reputation and image.

And now, in more detail. Solana’s hackathons differ from the conventional ones in the IT industry in that they last not just 1-2 days but over 1 month. During these hackathons, teams create new projects on the Solana blockchain, be it in DeFi, Web3, NFT, gaming, or core infrastructure.

Solana’s inaugural hackathon took place in the fall of 2020. At that time, it managed to attract over 1000 developer registrations and yielded more than 60 projects. Winners were awarded prizes ranging from 5000 USDT to 30000 USDT, and the projects also garnered attention from investors.

By February 2021, Solana’s DeFi hackathon, in partnership with Serum, drew in 3,000 registrants and offered $400,000 in prizes. The third Solana Season hackathon attracted over 13,000 developers, resulting in the creation of more than 350 projects.

The latest HYPERDRIVE hackathon, held in November 2023, concluded with the creation of over 900 projects, with 39 of them receiving prizes from a total fund of nearly $700,000.

Solana hackathons – a truly ingenious marketing idea that enables teams to secure investments, allows new projects to flourish, fosters the development of the Solana ecosystem and attracts new ventures, helps investors discover “diamonds in the rough,” invites regular users to join the community, and, of course, propels the blockchain itself to greater popularity by building an incredibly powerful community.

Over just 8 hackathons, more than 48,000 developers have been attracted, resulting in the creation of over 3,000 projects, including renowned ones like STEPN, Mango, portals, and others. Additionally, these projects have garnered over $600 million in venture investments. By our estimates, each hackathon attracts an average of more than 30,000 users to the Solana ecosystem. The community actively supports these activities, as evidenced by the token SOL’s value consistently rising before each hackathon.

Change in the cost of SOL from mid-October to November 3 (the period of the Hyperdrive hackathon)

Explorer during the Hyperdrive hackathon

What’s the Mechanics of These Hackathons?

It doesn’t differ much from the standard hackathons we are familiar with organizing an online event, gathering judges, registering developers and teams, establishing rules and tasks, evaluating projects, and selecting winners. With just one exception—Solana actively exploits this information trigger within its community and beyond in its marketing efforts, capturing the attention of all market players and new users.

In essence, circling back to the initial idea of the article, Solana hackathons are simply another effective tool for attracting new followers and building a community, just like testnets, airdrops, and other activities.

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