Five students from SRM Institute of Science and Technology (formerly known as SRM University)'s Next Tech Lab were part of a team that won the Accel Prize and a cash award of 1.5k USD at the Proffer Blockchain Hackathon for Societal Good.
1,900+ students and professionals from 28 countries signed up to participate, vying for $17,000+ in prizes for blockchain-based applications for societal good. In the end 93 participants from MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, IITs, and IISc submitted projects that tackled problems in numerous domains, from agricultural supply chains to AI data privacy. After a week of deliberation by a panel of judges from Coinbase, IBM, Microsoft, Harvard, BoostVC, and the Government of India, the results were announced on the Proffer blog
The team created a blockchain-based solution that enabled rural poor to receive zero-interest loans as capital for funding rural-entrepreneurship initiatives. The team achieves this with an innovative dynamic lottery, where people can put their money into the pool and request a loan. Every three months, maximal loans requests are satisfied. Since the incentive of investing money was lottery, the loans are zero-interest and can be used for the altruistic and nation-building process of seed-funding rural entrepreneurship initiatives. After three months, once loans have been repayed, the money goes back to the participants of the lottery and the loan-cycle begins again for the next financial quarter. This system was created using Ethereum's Solidity framework, Web3.js, and was deployed & tested on the Ropsten Network.
The team belongs to the Satoshi Lab at Next Tech, where they innovate on cutting edge technology in the field of cryptocurrency & blockchains. Next Tech Lab was founded by Anshuman Pandey and Aditthya Ramakrishnan upon their return from MIT after the Fall 2015 term. Inspired by the MIT Media Lab model of inter-disciplinary research, Next Tech includes Minsky Lab for Artificial Intelligence, Tesla Lab for Electrical Devices, IoT Lab for Internet of Things, Pausch Lab for Extended Reality, and Franklin Lab for Computational Biology. The lab has made its mark time and again with members presenting their research at prestigious conferences, winning some of the world’s largest hackathons and interning at elite research universities like MIT, CMU, and Harvard.