Literal Win: Placing at the Solana Riptide Hackathon 2022

Today, we got the fantastic news that our project Nifty Pay placed at the Solana Riptide Hackathon!

My goals for the hackathon were to:

Build with & for the web3 community
Learn about Solana and other web3 building nuances
Find a co-founder (I didn’t end up finding one at the hackathon per say but found one anyway!)

I didn’t think we’d win anything (much less $15k worth of prizes) but so grateful we did.


The Beginning: How did it start?

It would be remiss not to say it wasn’t a bumpy recruitment ride. I was steadfast in joining a hackathon around mid-end February (for the reasons above) but didn’t know anyone in my immediate circles joining as well.

I ended up posting relentlessly on the Solana hackathon Discord, and pitching the idea until I almost verbatim memorized the pitch word for word.

I landed with this funnel:

  • ~10+ interested candidates
  • ~8 conversations
  • 4 saying they were in (added to team Telegram)
  • 2 actually committing and sticking around with the project

We’re a small but mighty team. (I hate to say it but “Ha!” to the people that didn’t end up committing.)

The Middle: Our Journey

For almost a month, the 3 of us had stand-up at ~10AM to talk about our project Nifty Pay. We were all doing it as a side project. One had a full-time job, another (me) was full-time exploring startup ideas, and another was in the midst of searching for a job (he got one!)

The idea is simple: enable NFT creators to embed IRL benefits from merchants (think restaurants, shops) for holders of their NFTs, unlocking the power of NFTs x Solana Pay.

We built 3 apps: one each for NFT Creators, NFT Holders and for Merchants. (Learn more.)

As with any hackathon, we ended up with a functioning but buggy set of apps, and a kickass demo, which turns out impressed the judges.

The End: Looking back

All in all, it took us a non-insignificant amount of collective hours hacking on the idea. Was it worth it? Yes — I learned a lot and met some cool people at the end. Was it worth it because we won? Hell yes.

On top of that, we’re also now getting investors knocking at our virtual doors, and the wider community cheering us on.

One of the best ways to learn something quick in web3 is to BUIDL with and for the community. I highly recommend joining hackathons!

You never know what treasures you might find. In my case: $15k USDC-SPL, strangers turned friends, and payments/Solana/web3 learnings to last a life time.