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    How To Go From Hackathon Hesitancy To Building A Prize-Winning Protocol

    If you want to participate in a hackathon but worry you lack the skills and experience, you’re not alone. Not only do many people finish a hackathon with more skills than they started with – some of them go on to build prize-winning projects that become influential, industry-disrupting startups. 

    Aleksandr Vinogradov went from feeling hesitant about entering a hackathon to learning Solidity and winning a prize at the Spring 2021 Chainlink Virtual Hackathon. He said the biggest misconception people have about hackathons is that they’re “put your skills to test” events instead of opportunities to meet like-minded people and learn. “I didn’t have Solidity skills prior to joining the hackathon. It gave me a push to develop new skills in a more ‘learn by doing’ manner,” he said. 

    With three teammates, Vinogradov built Catalyst (formerly Properly Protocol), which enables the creation of synthetic index tokens that represent the value of an NFT market segment. He had such a positive experience that he filmed a YouTube video about the hackathon.

    As the co-founder of an AI technology company that helps modeling agencies scout new talent, Vinogradov utilized his professional network to attract advisors and additional team members, including a marketer, graphic designer and community manager, to Catalyst as it goes through a design-oriented, community-centric rebranding. 

    With a background in the fashion industry, Vinogradov said he’s excited by a myriad of creative utilities for NFTs – from gamifying access to acquiring art, music and video as well as revolutionizing ownership, licensing and royalties. “As more artists, creators and gamers are able to receive fair compensation for their work, we will see a revolution where more people are able to follow these passions full-time.”

    Catalyst solves a problem Vinogradov is personally passionate about. The protocol allows people to participate in NFT markets without owning the underlying asset (NFT) by minting synthetic index tokens. For example, metaverses like Decentraland allow people to buy and sell digital land and real estate as NFTs, whose prices continue to change. Catalyst calculates the mean value of an NFT’s last 1,000 trades and creates a synthetic index token.

    “Catalyst aims to create a solid economic market for NFTs to grow as a legitimate asset class and allow the market to flourish,” Vinogradov said.

    He believes the journey to being a creator starts with being a user and simply identifying common pain points. And you don’t have to be a developer to make a difference. “The blockchain revolution needs design, marketing, business and plenty more. Most important is to participate and build relationships with like-minded people. Learn in the process and keep on going.”

    Learn more about all of the Spring 2021 Chainlink Virtual Hackathon winners

    To learn more about Catalyst, visit their Twitter, Telegram and Discord.

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