Episode 9: Around the Block Season 2 Kick off Party With our Season 1 First Place Winners


Welcome to another recap from Around the Block. In episode 9, host Frank Caruso, Associate Director of Ecosystem Development at TRON, spoke with the TRON Grand Hackathon 2022 Season 1 first-place winners. In the Web3 track, we have dCloud by Simbad Marino, in GameFi, there is TronNinja by Mo Kass, the NFT track, VersacBrickSquad/TURUGLOBAL by Maurice Deuss, and in DeFi, we have JustMoney by Tobias Silver.

The TRON Grand Hackathon is part of TRON DAO’s long-term efforts to promote the mass adoption of blockchain technology. The Hackathon’s primary goal is to empower developers to create and execute DeFi, GameFi, NFT, and Web3 projects and build a robust content and entertainment community on TRON and other blockchain platforms.

In this episode streamed on May 16, 2022, Frank began with a couple of exciting announcements, including the kick-off of the Hackathon Season 2, our new partners and judges, the launch of USDD, and our new TRON DAO website (trondao.org). 

Frank then asked Simbad about his winning team, dCloud, in the Web3 track and how his experience with Season 1 was. Simbad said from the beginning that he wanted to build a dApp, not just a website. The team wanted to create a mobile app that everyone could use, even non-technical users. The mission is to create an open-source Web3 Cloud storage mobile app enabling its own ecosystem to enjoy a self-sustainable and shared economy. Simbad said he is very thankful for TRON DAO for this opportunity. 

“What motivates us to keep working is sharing, giving back to the community, giving back to people,” Simbad said. “The main idea is to give back to everyone, to Web3, the blockchain, and the whole ecosystem.”

When asked about his experience, Simbad also expressed that you have to have passion when entering into the Hackathon, not only be in it for the money. The key is to focus on building and on your ideas. The point of Web3 is to give back power to the people.

Next, Frank asked Mo about his winning GameFi team TronNinjas. TronNinjas is an NFT GameFi project on the TRON blockchain where you will be able to use your NFTs as characters in-game while earning our in-game token TronNinjas Token (TNT) in the TronNinjas Arcade.

On the topic of GameFi as opposed to traditional video games, Frank mentioned how the innovation that blockchain brings to the gaming industry has been transformative. Mo responded by saying it would revolutionize the gaming industry as a whole. He continued by saying he believes there will be a lot of interoperability between different games on chains.

Mo also described how excited he and his team was when they won. He said they never expected to win, and they were “over the moon” when they found out.

“Even the people that we met,” Mo said. “We ended up creating relationships and integrating what we do with them. It was a great networking event, as well as a funding event with what we’re trying to achieve, so the experience was overall really positive.”

Following Mo, Frank then turned to Maurice with VersacBrickSquad/TURUGLOBAL from the NFT track. Their goal is to make real estate investment available for all since most people don’t have sufficient funds to buy real estate. The VersacBrick Squad is a collection of DAOs investing in real estate assets, jointly managing the assets in a platform structure provided by TuruGlobal and making Real Estate investment accessible for the people.

Regarding his and his team’s experience in the Hackathon, Maurice said not only was it a great experience, but it boosted their team’s morale. In terms of the state of NFTs, Maurice said NFTs are not exactly going through the roof. He thinks the only way is to offer NFTs with utilities and wait until the market recovers. Maurice added if there are good products on the chain, the users will return, and the market will go back up. Maurice also stated that he would be joining again in Season 2. 

“As projects, we need to work together to get the name TRON out there to show that we are a united front to bring new users to the blockchain,” he said. 

Last but not least, Frank asked Tobias about his team JustMoney in the DeFi track. They aim to build an ecosystem for the next generation of decentralized applications to power Web3 by allowing crypto users to trade and offer cryptocurrencies on several chains and facilitate the creation of a payment system that will allow crypto users to purchase goods and services online using cryptocurrency.

When it came to Tobias and his team’s experience, they didn’t know what to expect because this was their first Hackathon. But he has been very pleased with how it went and how TRON has opened up many doors for his team. That’s why he is thrilled to join Season 2 as well.

“We’ve positioned ourselves to be a hub for other projects,” Tobias said. “We launch their tokens and stay with them their whole journey. We try to give them all the tools to make their lives easier to focus on their business.”

Tobias has a lot of passion for his project. Frank shared that enthusiasm and also commended Tobias and his team for simplifying things and making tools available that make the experience easy to deploy and easy to use, and that’s right up the JustMoney alley. Tobias explained that they work hand in hand with projects deploying on-chain because they know it’s a win-win if they list or swap; it creates volume for JustMoney. There’s a lot of support from both fronts. 

The discussion ended with everyone advising participants to work hard and have fun. And Frank added keep smiling. 

Congratulations again to the first-place winners of TRON Grand Hackathon 2022 Season 1!

Thank you for reading this recap of another great episode of Around the Block. We look forward to bringing you another episode soon with our team, bringing web3 experts together for engaging conversations.