AIR Hackathon in Lapland, Finland

Between November 30th and December 2nd, our team took part in the AIR Hackathon in Lapland, Finland. The event was held at the Hullu Poro Areena, not far away from the real Santa Claus Village.

Here is a brief interview with our backend developer, Dmitry Demidovsky:

Key Idea: Airlines lose a lot of money due to fraud, according to IATA. While they keep blacklists and set up anti-fraud systems, it can still be difficult to separate honest passengers from the scammers.

So, our concept is “Travel Karma”; A secure history of a passenger’s actions, that he or she can grant the airlines access to (who in turn use to record the passenger’s past flights, purchases, cancellations etc.)

Why do you think this idea is perfect for Blockchain?

– Control: The user owns his or her own data and is the only one with access.
– Security: Data is decentralized, making massive leaks impossible.
– Authenticity: The data cannot be forked, so airline companies can trust it.

Is it helpful to our customers and for the travel market?

For airlines, this will reduce overall losses due to fraud (in part by minimizing the expense of loss-prevention programs). The carriers will easily be able to detect unscrupulous passengers, with the added benefit being that airline companies will not be required to transfer data to each other.

In terms of benefits for users, Travel Karma will serve as a replacement for loyalty cards; Airlines will immediately see “their” passengers, even if the customer has not entered an I.D. number. And, the accrual and redemption of miles will become instantaneous and transparent!

Moreover, if the idea is scaled beyond the airlines, Travel Karma will simplify the submission of documents for a travel Visas and speed up passport control at the airport. We are not even talking about personalization, because in the modern world it is a matter of course?

Who from your team participated in the Hackathon?

There were 18 teams; Nine corporate and nine private.

The three representatives from App in the Air included, Alex (blockchain developer), Vlad (iOS), and Dmitry (frontend + backend).

Our CTO was not a member of the team but served as a resource for all the teams. Since he has won many hackathons, his brief presentation “how to win a hackathon” was very well received.

What were the challenges and successes in the process?

The big success was that we have learned how to create Blockchain apps. Before the hackathon, we really had no clue how. In fact, on the way to the Hackathon we were busy reading documentation and studying examples. But, on the way back we were discussing Blockchain apps, understanding implementation from beginning to end!

The main challenge was the limited time we had to present — just four minutes to talk and two minutes for questions. Due to the time constraints, we had to cut possible scenarios from our demonstration. So, we led with chargeback fraud for the airlines, and the accrual of miles for customers. In the end it was a bit frustrating, because Blockchain is hard technology to understand and we didn’t have the time to express our idea in all its technological beauty!

What did you get from this? And, how will it be used in our app?

While we didn’t win, we did add to our knowledge base. We also had a blast staying in Lapland, Finland, and interacting with people who were passionate about aviation!

The world is not ready yet for the finished product 😄 Hypothetically, when the cryptocurrency wallet becomes as commonplace as e-mail, a project like this will become a reality.

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