We were at the first ever SURGE Bangkok Hackathon. This event was made possible through the collaboration between UNICEF Innovation, OmiseGO, UNICEF Thailand, KXMADE and other amazing blockchain based projects both in Thailand and overseas. The goal of the event was to share information about blockchain as an emerging technology. The event sought to provide education and networks to local participants and help people design and build solutions for the problems that affect their communities.
SURGE Bangkok was a three-day event during the last week of May 2019. The event kicked off with a learning day that taught participants the basics of blockchain, exploring and working on Ethereum and starting a project. Input was provided on both the technical side and the non-technical aspects — including human centered design to understand local needs, when and how blockchain can augment development solutions, UX/UI and user testing for feedback.
The main event was the two-day hackathon. The hackathon was opened by UNICEF representative, Thomas Davin, who introduced the SURGE BKK theme – building solutions for financial inclusion. UNICEF stated the importance of this theme, stating that to this day there are still over 2.5 billion people in the world who are financially excluded. He further emphasized how UNICEF as an organization is always on the lookout for ways to use technology and innovation to create solutions for every child.
A vision of financial inclusion
Following UNICEF’s opening message, Vansa Chatikavanij, CEO, OmiseGO delivered welcoming remarks echoing UNICEF’s sentiment that technology has the power to improve lives, and blockchain can be a tool to foster financial inclusion.
The human dignity ethos of SURGE BKK is close to the core of OmiseGO. The company started on a vision for everyone to have the power to change the world through accessible, open systems that leverage blockchain technology.
As a fintech company, OmiseGO’s mission is to enable people to access financial services that are fast, fair and secure. We build on blockchain technology because we see it as a means to provide easy access to financial services, and frictionless payments in a digital age. This includes enabling people the ability to tokenize assets, easily exchange digital assets, and transfer and make payments with them through mobile devices.
Making financial inclusion a global reality
To enable financial inclusion, OmiseGO is building the OmiseGO Network, which is a public, permission-less, currency agnostic, infinitely scalable, cross chain compatible, decentralized exchange. In other words, the network serves as a medium of exchange for a range of digital assets and transactions, from in-game token transactions to cryptocurrency to financial services.
Through the OmiseGO Network, anyone will be able to conduct financial transactions including payments, remittances, payroll deposit, B2B commerce, supply-chain finance, loyalty programs, asset management and trading and other on-demand services.
The primary value in creating the OmiseGO Network is creating a future-ready infrastructure for payments and other forms of value transfer service which we believe, will be widely adopted. Further, millions of people in Asia-Pacific and beyond will be empowered with a tool that enables access to financial services that are fast, fair and secure — which is OmiseGO’s mission.
Hand-in-hand for our communities
While OmiseGO continues to develop a platform for enabling financial inclusion, we understand that financial exclusion is multifaceted — which we believe can be solved with everyone’s help. We are committed to supporting blockchain eco-systems, especially in our region.
“We’re here because we believe technology can be an enabler to improve lives.We’re here to learn, share and innovate, so that we can bring positive change into our communities.”- Vansa Chatikavanij, SURGE BKK 2019 welcome address
Everyone has a role to play when it comes to developing solutions that address the barriers to financial inclusion. At SURGE BKK, we did so through education, technology mentorship and business input. The weekend was an opportunity for enhancing skills, sharing and receiving knowledge from peers and mentors, and then testing assumptions and skills through the hackathon.
Thank you to all the SURGE BKK participants. Over the course of three days we saw the amount of work and thought teams put into their projects; applying their technical knowledge to cater to the needs of the at-risk communities that UNICEF Thailand is working with. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to each team’s presentation that covered applications that solve issues of student class attendance, that promote financial literacy among youth, apps that connect local communities to the much-needed funding, and many more.
Big congrats to the winning teams! They will progress to pitch on the blockchain stage at Techsauce Global Summit 2019 in Thailand in June, and of course, we will be there too as a speaker. We hope to see you there!
Originally published on the OmiseGO May 2019 Newsletter