Welcome to Cypher VII, William & Mary's seventh annual hackathon! We'll be making all sorts of fun, cool hacks.

  • We're a beginner friendly hackathon. Does the word "code" scare you? Fear not! We'll have a bunch of workshops to make sure you can make an awesome project in no time.
  • Make a project that could change lives - You have the opportunity to work with WMFire, an organization designed to gather information and resources, provide advocacy, and promote awareness of immigration issues to incite positive change. Plus, we'll be donating money to charity based on the number of submissions to their challenge!

We're continuing our treasure chest format for prizes, so you have the ability to win any of them items below, even if someone else wants it too!

  • $25 of Netflix or Hulu
  • three months of Discord Nitro
  • three months of Spotify
  • one year of Curiosity Stream
  • your choice of Jackbox Party Pack
  • Minecraft (on any platform!)
  • Redragon K608 Mechanical Keyboard
  • a laptop stand
  • Chromecast
  • $20 Amazon gift card

Or, by winning one of our grand prizes, you could win a mega prize:

  • your choice of three things from the treasure chest!
  • Amazon Echo
  • Google Chromecast with Google TV
  • Nest Mini
  • a Keychron K2 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
  • $70 Amazon gift card

For more information (like registering), please check out our website and day-of document.


  • All submissions should be accompanied by a two minute video presentation on Youtube, even in-person hackers. 
  • Submissions for Cypher are for Cypher alone (e.g. you can’t also submit it to HooHacks)

  • If you are continuing a project before Cypher started, you must state what changes were made during the hackathon

Hackathon Sponsors


$3,760 in prizes

Grand Prize (3)

Everyone is automatically in the running for this one! Winners each get their choice of one thing from the mega prizes, or their choice of three things from the treasure chest.

Best UI/UX (2)

Winners each get their choice of two things from the treasure chest.

Best Current Event Hack (2)

Hacks that bring awareness to current issues in the world, broadly defined.
Winners each get their choice of two things from the treasure chest.

Most Creative Hack (2)

Think up the wildest hack you can think of!
Winners each get their choice of two things from the treasure chest.

Best William & Mary Themed Hack (2)

Show that W&M pride with with your project! Hint: You could use the Course Data API provided by WM IT.

Winners each get their choice of two things from the treasure chest.

WMFIRE Challenge

WMFIRE’s favorite hack that addresses their advocacy for undocumented immigrants.
For every submission to this category, we’ll donate $50 to charity!
The winner of this category gets one thing from the treasure chest.

Best Beginner Hack (2)

For teams consisting of 50% or more first-time hackers! Winners each get their choice of two things from the treasure chest.

Best Data Visualization - CGI Federal (2)

Winners each get their choice of two things from the treasure chest.

Best Hardware Hack Sponsored by Digi-Key

Using your preferred hardware or hardware emulator, build a hack for your chance to win a Grove Beginner Kit, with embedded Arduino Uno compatible board. Each winning team member will receive a prize!

Best Hack That Doesn't Work

This is for all those hacks that shot for the moon... and died in space, which is still pretty cool. For this hack, please provide a description of what you wanted to do and why it doesn't work! Winners get one thing from the treasure chest.

Best Hack Name

Winner gets one thing from the treasure chest!

Best Domain Name from Domain.com

Register a .tech domain name using Domain.com during the weekend. Each team may submit one entry per person on the team. Each winning team member will receive a PowerSquare Qi wireless phone charger.

Most Creative Use of GitHub

GitHub is one of the best ways to collaborate, push code, get feedback, and show the world what you’ve built during a hackathon. To take it a step further, GitHub is now offering you access to industry tools, events & learning resources through something called GitHub Global Campus. Win this weekend’s Best Use of GitHub prize category, first by signing up for GitHub Global Campus and second by using a GitHub repository to host your hackathon project’s code! Make sure your use of GitHub stands out with a detailed ReadMe page, meaningful pull requests and collaboration history, and even a GitHub pages deployment!

Best use of CockroachDB

Build your hackathon project on CockroachDB's open source and indestructible SQL database. Utilize CockroachDB in your hack for a chance to win a 3D printing pen for each team member. What's more, All US residents that submit CockroachDB enabled projects will receive a free t-shirt while supplies last!

Best Use of Google Cloud

Build your hackathon project with a suite of secure storage, powerful compute, and integrated data analytics products provided by Google Cloud. See full list of products here: g.co/cloud. Each winning team member located in the US will receive a Google Cloud Swag Bag complete with a beanie, pillow, journal, socks and lanyards. International winners will receive a Google branded backpack.

Most Creative Use of Twilio

Twilio allows you to incorporate mobile messaging, phone calls and a ton of other awesome communication features right into your hackathon project using web service APIs. Are you building an e-commerce website and want to send text notifications or email confirmations once an order is completed? Or maybe your application needs to verify users based on their mobile numbers? Twilio makes all this possible and more. Build a hack that simplifies your life using any one of Twilio’s APIs for a chance to win a Twilio Swag Box and GameGo Console for you and each of your teammates!

Best Use of DeSo

DeSo is the official Web3 sponsor of the MLH Hackathon League and the first Layer 1 blockchain custom-built for decentralized social media applications. While blockchains like Avalanche or Solana cost $0.50+ to store just a 200-character post, the DeSo blockchain is built with custom indexing and storage optimizations which make it 10,000X cheaper to store social content on-chain! In order to qualify for the contest, you must launch an app that writes to the DeSo blockchain and/or implements DeSo identity. While social media apps are a great fit for DeSo, you can also build financial apps, marketplaces, and more on the DeSo blockchain. For inspiration on project ideas, you can check out some of the existing 200+ apps already live on DeSo at Bithunt.com as well as our DeSo APIs. The Best Use of DeSo gets $100 worth of $DESO coin & an exclusive DeSo branded tumbler!

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


A whole lotta people!

A whole lotta people!
An eclectic mix of alumni, professors, and industry professionals.

Judging Criteria

  • Addressing the prompt
    For the specific categories, our judges will specifically look for how you addressed the prompt. Hacks should creatively and effectively engage with the theme and category!
  • Whatever makes your project special!
    For the general category, our judges are not looking for any specific criteria. Rather, they'll be looking at your whole project and focusing on what makes it great!

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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