Simpleweb, a Bristol-based software consultancy that goes out of its way to help tech startups, is to hold a hack night on the theme of blockchain technology later this week.

“Blockchain will undoubtedly represent a big part in all of our futures and it’s exciting to hack and learn in this fast paced space”


Don’t worry if you are not a developer though, the hack night is open to anyone – Simpleweb understands that it isn’t just coding that makes an app, so they welcome creative, business-minded and ideas people through its doors to helps with coming up and developing the hack projects.

Why blockchain?

Tom Holder CTO of SimplewebAs Tom Holder, Simpleweb’s CTO (pictured right), says, “We’ve seen a lot of amazing ideas for applications of blockchain recently – from self-managing cars to blockchain-based novels to digital voting to managing music rights… the list goes on. As blockchain matures as a technology, so does the collective wisdom of the development community.

“It feels like we are at the perfect intersection today between technology, business and knowledge to represent real opportunities for developers and small businesses like the web used to before the tech giants took over. Blockchain will undoubtedly represent a big part in all of our futures and it’s exciting to hack and learn in this fast paced space.”

Who should come?

Kylie Whitehead from Simpleweb (pictured left) says, “Anyone with an interest in creating a positive impact on future cities is welcome. Don’t worry if you’re not a coder; digital mockups demonstrating your ideas are also eligible for prizes. Expect good food, inspiring ideas and a relaxed evening of creativity and curiosity.”

Previous hack nights

The hack nights are well worth attending – we were lucky to go along to a Simpleweb hack night earlier in the year on the subject of privacy. But, like this one, anyone who wanted to take part could, any level or expertise was welcome (hence us being there!).


“We do these hacks to show anyone can get involved”


As Kylie told us on the night: “We do these hacks to show anyone can get involved. We don’t want it to be intimidating. It’s about making it less daunting to bring anyone along – we want to bring the whole community together – you don’t need to be a developer – you can wireframe, you can design, you can come up with ideas – you make a contribution. It’s a great way to chat to people in the tech community.”

And it really is, in teams of three or less we had just 3 hours to create working prototypes or concepts for apps around the theme of “secrets”. Fuelled by an endless supply of alcohol and amazing chilli and cakes, our task was to find a way to make the world more secure using technology.

Developers at a SImpleweb hack night

I teamed up with developers Andy Bell and Jaycee Cheong (pictured right), who were both very patient with me nipping away from our project to interview other attendees. With 35 people competing, there was a great buzz of creativity in the room and some intense levels of hacking over the drinks.

Georgia Steele Matthews Head of International Sales at Pixelpin

The night was sponsored by visual authentication providers PixelPin. Georgia Steele Matthews, Head of International Sales at Pixelpin (pictured left) told us, “This is the first event we have ever sponsored and once we knew the topic was secrets we really were keen to get involved. The very nature of secrets are hidden and closed so we were interested to see what people would come up with.”

Pixelpin will be talking at the Bath Digital Festival this month too “We want to look after our roots and remember where we came from.,” says Georgia. “We’ve just signed up Tixcraft, the Ticketmaster of Taiwan, and we are expanding all over the world, but we started in the South West and want to celebrate the fact.”

Simpleweb hacknight: The three lucky winners of the Most Innovative Tech award


And the winners were…

With some wonderful and weird projects about keeping secrets being created on the night, the judges had their work cut out assigning the prizes. Here are the lucky winners:

Jurassic lemmings project screenshot from Simpleweb hack night

Most Innovative Tech: Jurassic Lemmings

by Ben @BenjaminReid, Ruth @Rumyra, David @DavidDarnes

Jurassic Lemmings involved sharing secrets that are added to a digital time capsule. The app features 8-bit graphics that are rather similar to those found in the videogame Lemmings, mainly because David is such a big fan of the game.

The idea is that secrets are added by various people into the capsule via their phone. The more secrets that are shared, the further the lemming digs down to the vault. Once the lemming reaches the time capsule, everyone who submitted a secret anonymously receives someone else’s!

Most Absurd: Secret Monkey

by Nick @nickwforsberg

So, imagine you entrust your secrets to this voice-recognition powered app, guarded by a ‘little monkey’; unfortunately, occasionally the cheeky monkey will spill the beans by texting your private info to your friends or posting it on social media.

Nick created the app to highlight the way we trust and share information with technology and corporations.


Most Commercially Viable: GateKeeper

by Karl @karlentwistle and Tristan @wavetemple

This project will allow you to share secrets by allocating gatekeepers to guard the private information you want to share.

If a user wants to send their private info, they must create a single-use link and assign two ‘gatekeepers’. When the recipient clicks on the link, both gatekeepers will be informed, and the information will only become visible when approved by both gatekeepers. Once viewed the secret is then destroyed and the link becomes useless.


PixelPin Prize: Hidden in Plain Sight

by Javier, Hubert and Karl

This app fools hackers into believing they have successfully hacked your website, but, in fact, they have been given access to a false account and the genuine user gets a notification telling you about the malicious activity.


The next hacknight is this Thursday (October 12, 6:30pm) and you can sign up for it here: Simpleweb Challenge hacknight with Venturefest: Blockchain for future cities. You can keep up with Simpleweb’s latest news on Twitter @Simpleweb, and don’t forget to follow @TechSPARKuk while you’re there!

Jamie Middleton