What does "Hackathon" means ?

We talk about hackathon every day, it’s nice, it’s beautiful, but what does it mean exactly? 

A hackathon is a portmanteau word (a combination of two words) : hack and marathon

First of all, let’s talk about hacking and hackers in particular. Often considered (and wrongly) as pirate and dodgers, hackers also shape the web of tomorrow. They pledge for new uses and alert on potential loopholes and drifts from the web. And if we barely talk about hackers in a nice way, it’s because we only see the dark side of the moon… – the one’s who hacks, steals, or attacks. Whereas hackers have different views and faces. Indeed, their philosophy has since touched many other branches of society. To be a hacker is first and foremost to adopt a philosophy : problems-solver, seeing loopholes, circumventing systems or creating usage. 

Then we have the word marathon. Do you know it? OK, let’s save some time then. It is an Olympic discipline since 1896 that comes straight from the time of the Greek Empire where a messenger named Philippides would have traveled 42.195kms from Marathon to Athens to deliver a message; that of the victory of a battle against the Persians. He would have arrived exhausted and would have died just after having delivered his message. However, he gave birth to the myth. And in a marathon, it is the management of the effort and the endurance which are central.

And so that this term is no longer a secret to you, watch the WHAT THE HACK video on this subject :

Hackers (problem solving)


Marathon (managing the effort) 



(event dedicated to projects’ creation and development on a thematic)

More info about hackathons

Intense events, they were initially designed for developers and computer scientists. They used to meet for several days in order to imagine and program new solutions / solve complex problems / or simply create new stuff on the Internet – that wouldn’t be of much use but would just work…

In the 2000’s and 2010’s, these events widely opened up to other types of profiles. Indeed, companies started to host hackathons to generate innovation, communicate or just to have fun. Therefore, events evolved to engage other audiences such as business people (marketers, Biz Devs, etc), designers, graphic artists, curious people, students, etc.

And here is the definition we give about these events when we are being asked the question:

It’s a 2-3 day event where several people with different skills and profiles will get together to create projects as a team, on a given theme or problem.

How does it work in practice?

Registration, information & Ideation

First of all, it is necessary to register as places are limited and get information on the event’s format, planning and theme(s) (btw, check sponsors out). Then, it is generally possible to share ideas beforehand on a dedicated platform. This is an opportunity to talk about projects and to get to know other attendees. This practice is called ideation. For #HackathonPBWS, we will process this on Discord soon !

 > See PBWS Hackathon FAQ <

First day

The first day of a hackathon is often an evening where, after breaking the ice and getting to know each other, volunteers have 60 seconds (and not a second more) to share their ideas to the audience. This is called pitch fire. After voting for the best ideas, teams are formed around the most popular ones. There are generally between 3 and 6 people per team and organizers encourage participants to mix and diversify skills within the teams.

> Discover PBWS Hackathon’s program <

Second day

Each team moves forward on their project at the rhythm of the hackathon’s program. Mentors, experts, coaches or other external contributors are here to help the teams to progress in their work. They are specialists of the topic, entrepreneurs, project management professionals or experts of a particular skill (law, graphic design, programing, pitching, etc.).

> Discover PBWS Hackathon’s mentors <

As for organizers, they facilitate the event and its activities, manage logistics (meals, snacks, etc.) and guarantee a state of mind and a methodology proper to Hackathon’s style regarding project development. And we do all of this with a large smile 😀

 > Meet PBWS Hackathon’s organizers <

Third day

Finally, on the last day, each team has 3 to 5 minutes to present their project and convince a jury. After that, the jury chooses the winners and the event closes with joy & good humor.

> Discover PBWS Hackathon’s jury <

The Paris Blockchain Week Summit‘s Hackathon takes place over a weekend from Friday April 8 – 6pm – to Sunday 10 – 8pm – at la Place de la FinTech (Palais Brongniart) in Paris. The main chosen theme is the blockchain with its various uses such as cryptocurrency, DeFi, NFT, decentralization, transparency and security, data, etc. 

3 sponsors will submit 3 themes and/or specific uses of the blockchain on which 100 to 150 participants will propose and develop their ideas!

Participants must register on 1 of the 3 themes (possibility to change after registration because all sponsors are not yet revealed). Ticket is free and meals are included.

⚠️  Please note that the registration is free but does not give you any access to the PBWS exhibition on 13-14 April. Only rewarded teams from the Hackathon will receive prizes including free tickets to the exhibition. ⚠️



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