Recap: ETHGlobal Waterloo III 🍁

2017, 2019, 2023: ETHGlobal is back in town for their third hackathon! We also brought Pragma and Hacker Café with us this time to the place where it all began for ETHGlobal and Ethereum.

8 min readJun 28, 2023

Our first hackathon in Waterloo was a truly extraordinary experience: The innovative city of Waterloo, known for being one of the most popular student destinations for engineers in North America, was our playground for a weekend hackathon at the Lazaridis Business School! The result: A showcase of diverse talent including 168 projects and highlighting 11 finalists.

✂️ The tl;dr of ETHGlobal Waterloo

🙋‍♂️ 650+ Attendees
🌎 29 Countries represented
🐣 47% New to Web3
👯 136 Ecosystem Builders
💸 $250,000+ in Prizes
🚀 168 Projects submitted
🏆 11 Finalists

The ETHGlobal Waterloo Pragma and Hacker Café

Thursday marked the community coming together and warming up for the upcoming hackathon with our ETHGlobal Pragma Waterloo and our Hacker Café.

Ever since we first introduced our new event series called Pragma in Tokyo in April 2023, we have been fostering a curated, global community of individuals who deeply care about web3, technological progress, and the big questions we as a society need to react to.

The now third edition of Pragma kicked off with a curated series of high-quality talks that sparked thought and discussion among attendees as they were storming into the Auditorium of the CIGI Building. Attendees enjoyed networking and exploring all the topics presented during the day. The weather was in our favor that day and attendees could enjoy a stroll in the park of CIGI.

🗓 The Pragma Waterloo schedule:

🎙 Fireside Chat with Vitalik Buterin
🖥 Future of NFTs with EIP 6551 with Benny Giang
🖥 Rabbithole Quests Demo with Brian Flynn
🎙 Fireside Chat with Dieter Shirley
🖥 Tally Product Announcement with
Dennison Bertram
🖥 PowerLoom Product Announcement with Swaroop Hegde
🎙 Fireside Chat with Illia Polosukhin

Look forward as we will make these talks available on Youtube soon!

Meanwhile, just 20 minutes away from the summit, hackers gathered at Byte75 Cafe to attend the ETHGlobal Hacker Café. There, they formed teams and made new friends. The Team Formation session received great interest and hackers had to gather outside of the cafe, to engage in some last-minute brainstorming sessions before taking the leap into the hackathon the next day.

Waterloo Café took place at Byte75 this time!

🍁 The ETHGlobal Waterloo Hackathon: Kickoff & First Day!

The doors of the Lazaridis Business School opened, and hackers hurried inside to register and grab their swag bags, eagerly anticipating an action-packed three days!

Day 1: Friday, June 23rd

On Friday, attendees could choose from 23 different workshops & talks and a Team Formation & Idea Brainstorming Session designed to provide hackers a hands-on experience, promote interactive learning, and encourage them to think creatively about the potential applications of their work.

The valuable tutorials and intriguing content helped set up hackers for success for the rest of the weekend. From “recursive proofs for the rest of us!” with Mohammad Jahanara to “Pre-execution Privacy and Cryptography” with Peyman Momeni to workshops like “Permissionless Interoperability — Connect Any Chain with Hyperlane” by Yorke Rhodes and “Decentralize Your DAO with oSnap” hosted by the team of UMA.

With the hackers warmed up and equipped with their new-found information from a full day of talks and workshops, the time had come to officially kick off the ETHGlobal Waterloo hackathon! A diverse crowd of web3 newcomers, experienced individuals, and enthusiasts eagerly gathered at the main stage, awaiting the arrival of our co-founder, Kartik Talwar sharing the hackathon logistics.

Afterwards, it was time for Vitalik Buterin to join us for the second time that week for his infamous keynote: “Ideas worth building”.

As the first day of the ETHGlobal Waterloo hackathon came to an end and with hacking officially in full swing, the atmosphere was charged with inspiration, setting the stage for an unforgettable weekend in the enchanting city of Waterloo. No ETHGlobal hackathon would be complete without an array of amazing local cuisine throughout the day and two midnight snacks to ensure they had the necessary fuel to keep going until the early hours of the morning for those who tirelessly continued working through the night! Around midnight, hackers were greeted by a delicious Canadian staple: Poutine! 🍟 And the day after, it was authentic delicious Beavertails 🦫. With the hot weather our 🍦-Truck came in at the perfect time this weekend.

Ice Cream Truck, Beaver Tails and Poutine: Hackers were able to enjoy the local cuisines and Canadian summer! ☀️

Day 2: Saturday, June 24th 2023

Saturday morning arrived, ushering in the first and only full day of hacking. Hackers who hadn’t stayed overnight returned to the site, where they found cosy areas to work and cooperate, from beanbags in the sun to secret corners. We were ready for ETHGlobal Waterloo Day 2! The halls rapidly filled with the sound of active discussions and the aroma of coffee and breakfast in the air.

Later in the day our hackers had the opportunity to join the Project Feedback Session which gave them the perfect opportunity to seek a fresh perspective on their projects and receive valuable feedback from the seasoned mentors. Whether they were facing challenges or simply wanted a second opinion, our mentors were there to help enhance their builds and gain new insights. Mentors were constantly available, wearing bright yellow vests, easily to be spotted when walking around the venue to identify hackers who could use help at the tables.

Amongst the busyness of the day, some of the hackers took the opportunity to participate in the meetup with our Furry Friends! Thanks to Hands on Exotic, who ensured a safe, personal and extremely enjoyable experience for both the animals and hackers! Visitors included: Chinchilla (the softest animal in the world!), a tortoise, boa contstrictor, ferret, kakadu, bunnies and a lizard! Hackers returned to their projects with renewed energy and a wholesome memory in mind.

On Sunday some Furry Friends visited us!

Day 3: Sunday, June 25th 2023

🧨Countdown to Submission & Judging

Our team of hackers spent the night before the submission deadline perfecting their builds and adding finishing touches. The clock was being tracked eagerly as the final minutes of the hacking time ticked away. As the final seconds ticked away, the audience erupted in cheers and sighs of relief, led by volunteer Shaka and backed by our ETHGlobal intern’s guitar playing. At precisely 9 am., paper planes were thrown, signalling the end of hacking. All you hackers out there should be very proud of yourself!

Anxious anticipation returned to the room as the hackers unveiled their projects to the panel of judges and potential business partners. After 39 hours of hacking, they were able to join the thousands of other ideas that had been born at the ETHGlobal hackathon. They had significantly aided the ecosystem’s development by expanding its horizons and welcoming new opportunities!

🏆 The ETHGlobal Waterloo Closing Ceremony

Our hackers presented their final builds in the Partner Judging and Main Judging sessions. Around 2:30 pm the entire crowd was informed that the 11 Finalists of the ETHGlobal Waterloo hackathon were chosen. At the Closing Ceremony, the Finalist teams presented on the Mainstage demos of their creations, engaging not only the in-person audience but also those watching at home via the livestream on The Closing Ceremony served as further confirmation that ETHGlobal Waterloo had been something truly special.

We’d like to thank the local students and developers, as well as the hackers who travelled from 29 different countries to take part in the ETHGlobal Waterloo hackathon. We’re ecstatic to have received 168 projects that will enrich the Ethereum ecosystem. We are looking forward to seeing the development of web3 primitives, which is reflected in the builds made by our hackers and the projects of the finalists.

Take a look at the profiles of the 11 Finalists below, and don’t forget to explore our showcase, which features the total 168 projects from ETHGlobal Waterloo:

🧵 Or checkout our Finalists thread on Twitter:

We wrapped up ETHGlobal Waterloo in style, with our Ethereum diamond Piñata and After Drinks! It’s time to celebrate all the wins from the weekend together and exchange final goodbyes (until the next ETHGlobal hackathon) 👋

Piñata-Time! 🪅

A big thank you goes out to our amazing volunteers and tech mentors! You play a crucial role in the success of our events and we hope you enjoyed your time with us as much as we did with you!

🤝 ETHGlobal Waterloo Partners

We would like to thank our valued partners for their advice and mentorship, which has been invaluable in assisting our hackers throughout their journey. Not to mention the fantastic swag provided by our partners, which added to the excitement and drive of our event attendees! We hope you liked seeing the inventive creations that resulted from the use of your technology.

Up next: ETHGlobal Paris! 🇫🇷

Paris is the city of light and birthplace of many revolutions. Therefore we are thrilled to be back in one of the most buzzing and free-spirited cities in Europe for ETHGlobal Paris 2023. A lot has changed in the European ecosystem since the last time we hosted a hackathon in 2019 and we are excited to meet all the new talent this July that we have acquired since!

📥 Save your spot here as they are running out fast:




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