ETHAnswer Set a bounty on your questions and reward the best answers

Inspiration is the most-used destination on the Web for IT professionals to find and provide answers to challenging or blocking questions that may be encountered on a daily basis. A large dedicated and active user base on StackOverflow helps to ensure that all questions that are asked are answered quickly and effectively. In return, the members who post the most helpful answers are rewarded with increasing reputation points, and the greater the reputation that a member gains, the more privileges that he or she gains on StackOverflow’s centralized platform. Although these privileges are a large indicator that StackOverflow rewards & recognizes its members for their outstanding contributions to its ever-increasing knowledgebase, it could become even more valuable to its members if they were “paid” for their continual efforts.

The goal of this blockchain application, ETHAnswer, is to build bounties on Stack Exchange (the owner of StackOverflow and the host of its underlying technology platform), similar to how Gitcoin allows bounties on GitHub purposed for rewarding open source software development.

What it does

ETHAnswer allows a StackOverflow user to issue a bounty that will serve as a monetary reward (paid in cryptocurrency) for the member(s) who provide the most helpful answers to a particular question.

How we built it

We designed a wireframe for the application using Balsamiq, a popular wireframing tool, and created a short list of tasks that would comprise the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) within the available time window over the 36-hour hackathon (ETHDenver). We used Node.js with Solidity and IPFS to create the back-end for the application, and HTML5, CSS3, and vanilla JavaScript to create the front-end.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into difficulties with integrating code from different components, as most of the team members were new to Ethereum and blockchain development. We also encountered challenges in narrowing down the use cases (user stories) to fit within the development timeframe available, and in integrating smart contracts with the data returned from the Stack Exchange API.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were able to brainstorm many use cases around the possibility of using cryptocurrency and bounties to solve problems such as language translations and improving online Q&A. In the end, we were proud to address a real problem that, if solved, would help to decentralize online Q&A and better reward those who are able to contribute their knowledge in tech towards educating their peers.

We were also proud of being able to build a simple MVP demonstrating the use of smart contracts for this goal (already made available by standard bounty networks), as well as envisioning the future possibilities of this application and how it could be further applied in other scenarios

What we learned

We learned more about how bounty networks operate, as well as how to execute a smart contract using Web3, the platform for decentralized apps (Dapps). We also learned how to use IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) for storing data mappings between Stack Exchange and the blockchain.

What's next for ETHAnswer

Since we completed approximately 50% of the MVP that was targeted for the weekend, the next step for ETHAnswer would be to continue and finish building a functional prototype application, to better demonstrate the concept and prove that it could be a valuable asset to the developer community.

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