PixelEconomy is an online, virtual marketplace for creating, selling and buying pixel art that makes learning the fundamentals of trading fun and accessible.

Inspiration

Many of you will relate with me when I say that my first exposure to markets as a kid didn’t look like charts and candlesticks. Instead, it looked like the trading lobbies of popular MMORPG games: hundreds of chat boxes covering the screen, with people frantically advertising and trading in-game items.

While there are great virtual trading platforms and a plethora of technical resources out there, why is it more likely that you’ll find a child learning about trading through a game instead? Posed like this, the answer is obvious: to a kid, games are simply more fun. They are designed and marketed to be that way, after all.

Improving financial education for all starts with children, and that means making things more fun and accessible. Is there something we could complement with the usual investing stuff to try to achieve this? Something fun, something visual. PixelEconomy is my answer.

Though it’s not just children who can benefit from this platform, it’s anyone of any age that may be interested in a safe sandbox marketplace where they can freely familiarise themselves with the fundamentals of investing through experimentation.

Or even if investing isn’t your thing, who doesn’t like a good bit of pixel art? And who knows, maybe PixelEconomy will end up changing your opinion on investing :)

Tools Used

  • Server hosting: Google Compute Engine
  • Domain name: pixeleconomy.online registered using domain.com
  • MongoDB database
  • Python3 Flask + Jinja for server-side rendering
  • Front-end prototyping: Jekyll (see GitHub repo for more information)
  • Frontend adapted from Lanyon, a Jekyll Theme (MIT license) which I also adapted for Jinja.
  • Pixel art editor written in Javascript, using the Canvas2D API
  • Wsgi: gunicorn

What I Learnt

It's my first time doing server-side rendering, using MongoDB, setting up a production server, and a whole lot of other stuff, so please go easy on my VM instance.

Trying it Out

For the purposes of this hackathon, you can try out PixelEconomy by visiting http://pixeleconomy.online and logging into any of the following test accounts: "test", "badartist", "bicasso", "bobJoss". They all have the password "password". Please do not enter any sensitive information on the website. If the domain doesn't work (can happen sometimes because of DNS propagation times), please try using the ip directly: http://35.197.234.198

Feel free to have a go drawing and trading!

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