The last time this happened me was when I walked into one of our conference rooms at Sun where a student from the University of Illinois was giving a demo of something called "Mosaic". Well, we all know how that one turned out with the new metaphor of the browser and web radically changing the way we communicate, learn and do business. Recently, I got the same feeling after looking into use cases in education for our upcoming Blockchain Cloud Service offering at the BlockchainConnectSF conference. I felt the same energy in the room where both technical and creative people were talking in an entire new language about thetrust protocol, ICOs, Miners and Exchanges all of which just happens to be only 8 years old and mysteriously invented by someone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. After a few months of checking out the scence I thought I'd highlight just a few of the ways Blockchain could potentially be the next big thing in edtech transformation and finally fix the one thing the World Wide Web was never inherently designed to do (Hint: On the internet know one knows you're a dog). Distributed Trust. And, as Marc has said this time around, "the blockchain is one of the most fundamental inventions in the history of computer science".
So, while Bitcoin is the first killer app transforming commerce here are the key areas where our efforts are focused today in education and research:
Transformational Use Cases
Student Records and Distributed Credentialing
Trusted Peer-to-Peer Payments and Smart Contracts
Digital Content and Rights Management and the future of publishing, libraries and archives
Learning Marketplaces - Anyone can learn anything in a token-based knowledge exchange. Learn to Earn as envisioned by Jane McGonigal at the Institute for the Future and famous talk at SXSWedu. Check out new example ICO's like LiveEDU, ODEM and Bitdegree.
Academics and Coursework: Interdisciplinary is the new norm for the gig economy and schools are modernizing curriculum and offering new Blockchain certifications combining Law, Business, Economics and Computer Sciences. Check out the great work Adam is doing for example with the new certificate program at the Berkeley Center for Law and Business and bringing our Cloud into the classroom.
Student Developers and Startups: They are taking charge of their own destiny and creating their own communities and even companies at the epicenter of innovation. Oracle and our partner Aurablocks are helping to bridge the chasm between transforming industries like Financial Services and Education with our sponsorship of the upcoming Carolina FinTech Blockchain Hackathon and the #generationblockchainchallenge. Student startup initiatives are now open for business at places like Blockchain@Berkeley, Cornell, MIT Digital Currency Initiative and innovative Community Colleges like Central New Mexico. Be sure to check out Oracle's new Startup Cloud Accelerator Program looking to help lower the barriers to innovation and foster industry adoption.
Open Source - Oracle Autonomous Blockchain Cloud Service is based on the Hyperledger Fabric governed by the well respected Linux Foundation. A perfect technology fit for Education as an industry used to transparency and shared innovation.
So, what's coming up next? We'll be at the Alliance HEUG Conference in Salt Lake City presenting and meeting with customers & partners at the end of March. Oracle is launching our Blockchain Autonomous Cloud Service this summer and we are hard at work with our interactive discovery workshops to explore use cases in academia, proof-of-concept and pioneering implementations. My friend Mark lays out the enterprise story and as he said to a customer the other day on a briefing call, "Everything is there pre-built for you. It's like buying a car. You just get in and drive". So, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want take a test drive!