UF’s Bitcoin club competed in a Miami Bitcoin hackathon.

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After 26 hours coding an application related to virtual currency, the Gator Bitcoin Club placed 4th at the Miami Bitcoin Hackathon, winning .05 bitcoin on Sunday.

About 14 club members traveled to South Florida to attend The North American Bit CoinConference, one of the largest conferences for bitcoin and block chain technologies, which record Bitcoin transactions, on Thursday and Friday, said Nathan Barnavon, president of the Gator Bitcoin Club. Three current members and one former member stayed in Miami to participate in the hakathon that started Friday.

The conference was held at the James L. Knight Centre in downtown Miami, wherethousands came to pitch ideas to investors and hear talks from experts in the field and block chain technology, which is what major cryptocurrency is based on, Barnavon said.

“It was absolutely huge,” the 22-year-old computer science senior said.

Robbie Klages, VP of external affairs of the club, said he went around the exhibition hall packed with booths where companies recruited and spoke to them about their projects.

“I feel like I was able to shake as many hands as I’ve ever shaken,” the 19-year-old UF industrial and systems engineering freshman said. “Everyone wants to talk about their project.”

Barnavon said this conference would make an impact back on UF’s campus in several ways. He plans to bring connections made in Miami as potential speakers at club meetings, giving members the opportunity to learn about technology and jobs in the industry.

After the conference, the club attended the hakathon. Their team, named “Going for Gold,” made an application called “Toast,” which aimed to provide an easier way for cryptocurrency newcomers to make intelligent investments, Barnavon said. Their 4th place winnings in Bitcoin totaled to $532.64, as of Tuesday night.

“Skills that we learned in smart contract development will probably go towards hosting another workshop (on campus),” Barnavon said.


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