We were inspired by the constant use of our LionPath cards everywhere on campus: the dining halls, swiping doors, etc. We questioned the true security behind our account and balance system, and after seeing the Blockchain lecture, we were inspired to create this project: a blockchain for our Lioncash accounts that also benefits the world by contributing 10% reward from all mines to THON
What it does:
NittanyChain secures all transactions via the blockchain: so whenever a student spends any money within their LionCash Account, NittanyChain creates a new block with the information about that transaction. Then, to ensure that the details of the transactions are secure, the hash value that is generated by the blockchain is then solved by miners, similar to how many cryptocurrencies manage their blockchains today. However, instead of offering LionCash to a stranger who mines this blockchain, NittanyChain will offer amounts of Cryptocurrency as a reward (such as Ethereum). In order to prevent a 51% attack on the chain, NittanyChain will be mined by a Penn State-confirmed group of miners who will correctly mine the first few blocks, so that when the blockchain becomes open to the general public of miners, forks in the chain will become less probable.
How we built it
We built the blockchain using java IDEs Intellij and Netbeans, and we enlisted the help of a few coding mentors.
Challenges we ran into
We ran into many challenges in compiling the code. The coding part was the most grueling due to the nature of blockchains and our previous inexperience in ever creating a blockchain. However, we were able to learn many things about how the code behind a blockchain works. Specifically, we ran into challenges with abstracting the code and having the main Java class, where the interaction of a person making a transaction is made, triggers the addition of a new block in the blockchain. We also had difficulty abstracting most of the code into more efficient classes and methods so we could solve the previously mentioned problem.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of this entire project within itself, as we embarked on doing something none of us had previously had much experience prior to this Hackathon.
What we learned
We learned about the possibilities of blockchain, how a blockchain is coded and created, and how the blockchain interacts with external resources ( such as the code behind a transaction).
What's next for NittanyChain
We will work on making sure the code compiles for NittanyChain, fixing the main Java class to eliminate compiling and runtime errors, and we will fix any issues between the blockchain code and the transaction code that triggers the addition of a new block to the blockchain.