Back to school, the decentralized school

In this blog I will tell you how I experienced the Minor Blockchain, after having followed it for the past two months. And how the Minor Blockchain practices what they preach: decentralized learning.

In an earlier blog I wrote about why I started following the Minor Blockchain at the University of Aplied Science at The Hague. Want to read this blog?

Minor Blockchain

 

A solid foundation

As you might recognize yourself, you have to teach yourself everything in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Just as decentralized as the Bitcoin blockchain is, in the world of blockchain decentralized learning is the way we school ourselves. There are quite a few communities that can help you on your way. That is also the way in which I gained my knowledge. The Minor Blockchain takes learning about blockchain a step further. In the minor you you get back to the beginning and you learn what blockchain is really about and how blockchain actually works on a deeper level. From here you can then start thinking for yourself and argue why you think something is good or not. I used to do this already, but now I see that I still didn’t fully understand what blockchain was really about. And in the end you are never done learning, but at least I have leaped some big steps further.

In class with DataDash

Broad World Vision

I noticed that from the Minor Blockchain I started to think about the future of myself, but also of the whole world. The more you understand how blockchain works, the more you start to see what impact it could have on society. That combined with other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) also leads you to think about whether you think the developments are positive or negative or a little bit of both.

I did not expect the minor to make me think about how I really feel about blockchain and how I would like my future to be. This motivates to continue to research with a critical eye. I think that is what a minor at a university of applied science should offer you, a theoretical basis from which you gain critical eye. Ultimately, all this helps me to form my own opinion about the place of blockchain in the future. I think it would be good for everyone to think about things like this, especially with the big problems in the world we face, such as the environment and the financial world.

I notice that I now find it difficult that others around me do not yet have this knowledge about blockchain, like my family and friends, but I cannot explain very easily how blockchain could change this. And I also don’t want to be that annoying person who shouts out all day: “Blockchain can solve all this.” But I actually do have that tendency, oops … haha. And at the same time I don’t know for sure, because blockchain is still under development and it is actually too early to be able to say with certainty that this is the golden solution. But it is certainly promising.

 

Doing homework @ The University of Applied Science The Hague

What do you learn during the Minor Blockchain?

The minor is divided into three parts: theoretical basis, guest lectures and a practical assignment. There are lessons two days a week and you have between 10-30 hours of homework per week. This partly depends on the knowledge you already have and whether you also make the optional assignments. The Minor Blockchain currently takes 2
months. The next Minor Blockchain, which starts in September 2019, will take 5 months. The first 2 months are the same as the minor I have now taken. The 3 months thereafter you can choose a specialization in law, IT or business. The general part of the minor consists of the following parts:

The theoretical basis
Every morning there is a theoretical lesson from Jordi Jansen and Martijn Bolt. They cover topics such as how does a blockchain work, how are transactions processed, how does mining work, how do smart contracts work, how
does cryptography work, what is game theory, what is governance, how can you implement a blockchain and so on. These are interactive lessons in which questions can be asked. This creates a further deep dive in the theory.

Guest lectures
Every afternoon there are one or more guest lectures. The nice thing about the guest lectures is that the speakers show what you could do with blockchain in practice and what their vision is. In addition, through the guest lectures
you will meet many people who already work in the world of blockchain. I have never met so many interesting people during an educational program and certainly not over a period of only 2 months. This is really a compliment to
the Minor Blockchain that they can bring everything and everyone into contact with each other through the guest lessons. That makes the subject come to life and a network is created that is useful for all parties. This shows that the
Minor Blockchain itself is also a form of decentralized learning: you do not learn from 2 teachers, but from people from the entire community. The same applies for the homework. Many homework assignments are about viewing material from, for
example, other community members or educational institutions.

A number of interesting guest lectures were, for example, a guest lecture about generating a basic income from a plantation that maintains itself without people. There was also a Livestream with the YouTube-er DataDash. It was very nice to hear his vision and to be able to ask questions directly to him. The technique is also dived into with a guest lecture from Quintor about building a blockchain and with Unibright about making a smart contract. In these guest lectures we started working on building blockchains and smart contracts ourselves. In my future blogs, things I have learned from these and other guest lectures will certainly come back.

Building a smart contract in class using Unibright

Practical assignment
In the practical assignment you will work with a group of students on an assignment for an assignment giver. As the minor only lasts 2 months, it is mainly about coming up with a blockchain solution for a issue. It is then up to the assignment giver whether he wants to continue further. Some assignments are further worked out within BCEC, the Blockchain Education Center and from there possibly included in a subsequent Minor Blockchain.

 
Recommended or not?

I am very happy I followed the Minor Blockchain. It was tough in terms of time investment, but it is more than worth it. I can now form my own opinion much better about blockchain and everything that is attached to it and I have met a lot of nice and interesting people. Who knows where I will end up from here, that is Always a surprise in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency. I would advise everyone to follow the Minor Blockchain, it will take you 2 months, but it will bring you a lot for the rest of your life. Is this time investment really too much for you? Then at least take part in the guest lectures or theoretical lessons.

 
Seminar Minor Blockchain

Every Minor Blockchain ends in a seminar in which a number of student groups present their project and interesting guest speakers are invited. I went to the previous seminar and I was glad I didn’t miss it. This time there will be politicians from the VVD and SP, financial professors and people from the blockchain field who will enter into discussions with each other. That will certainly become very interesting again. During the seminar more will be announced about starting the Minor Blockchain in other cities in the Netherlands. Would you like to come? The seminar is April 5, 2019 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at The Hague University of Applied Science, the seminar is free and in English. You can register via:

Seminar

 

Seminar 2018 Minor Blockchain University of Applied Science The Hague

 

The following Minor Blockchain September 2019:

Do you want to register as a student for the next Minor Blockchain? Student

Do you want to register as a non-student for the Minor Blockchain? Not Student

Do you want to participate in some lessons or guest lectures, look at www.meetup.com at Blockchain Education Center (BCEC)