We read a case study about a small manufacturer of mechanical keyboards that more than tripled revenue on fixed quantity while increasing community engagement using a Vickrey auction. However, they ran the auction using a Google form, a spreadsheet, and manual invoicing. We figured that a platform to run Vickrey auctions could make the method available to more small businesses worldwide.

Case Study by Kevin Lynagh

What it does

Users can view a list of products and place a bid on an interesting product.

We made paper mockups for multiple other features as a product development exercise:

  • Seller dashboard
  • Auction results
  • Main page

How We built it

We used React to make a web app where each page is a component with shared state. We wrote part of a backend in Node with MongoDB and Blockstack but did not integrate it with the site.

We wrote the code using pair programming methods, partnering one experienced team member with one or both less experienced team members. This project was developed as an educational exercise.

Challenges We ran into

So I (Philip) figured out that I cannot teach, learn a framework, and make a product at the same time. I chose to focus on the first, teaching.

React has stricter HTML parsing than a browser does, for example, all tags must be closed (no support for self-closing tags). This, in addition to other pieces of React syntax, were challenging, as it was our first time working with React.

We could not integrate the backend because frontend development was very slow.

Accomplishments that We're proud of

Even though we didn't have time to integrate it with the frontend, Bogdan wrote a backend with MongoDB and blockstack to accept bids, create users, and list products.

What We learned


  • Git
  • React
  • Product development & presentation skills
  • Bootstrap


  • Git
  • React
  • Debugging skills
  • Bootstrap


  • React
  • How to teach frontend development
  • Pair programming as a teaching method


  • MongoDB
  • Blockstack API
  • Mentorship

What's next for Vickrey Auction

While we didn't implement a complete MVP, the process was enough to think through the features that the site would need and estimate the development effort to create an MVP in languages and frameworks that we already know. We are interested in the economic method in general and plan to talk to small businesses to see if its something they're interested in experimenting with.

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