Video Jump Points:
Blockchain is most commonly known as the technology underpinning the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. But in recent years the open source code of the Bitcoin blockchain has been taken and extended by many groups to expand its capabilities. Blockchain technology, which can be thought of as a public distributed ledger, promises to revolutionise the financial world. A World Economic Forum survey in 2015 found that those polled believe that there will be a tipping point for the government use of blockchain by 2023. Governments, large banks, software vendors and companies involved in stock exchanges (especially the Nasdaq stock exchange) are investing heavily in the area. For example, the UK Government recently announced that it is investing £10M into blockchain research and Santander have identified 20-25 internal use cases for the technology and predict a reduction of banks’ infrastructure costs by up to £12.8 billion a year.
The reach of blockchain technology will go beyond the financial sector however, through the use of ‘smart contracts’ which allow business and legal agreements to be stored and executed online. For example, the startup company Tallysticks aims to use blockchain based smart contracts to automate invoicing. In October, 2015 Visa and DocuSign showcased a proof of concept demonstrating how smart contracts could be used to greatly speed up the processes involved in car rental – rental cars can be driven out of the car park without any need to fill in or sign forms. The ability to run smart contracts led Forbes to recently run an article comparing the future impact of blockchains to that of the Web and Internet.
We believe the blockchain technology and smart contracts can also be used in education in many interesting and potentially revolutionary scenarios. On this website you can see some of the ways we see the future of education developing using the blockchain and what we are doing to progress towards our vision.Find out more about Blockchains
Ethereum is a platform for decentralised applications, built on top of a blockchain mechanism, which can be used for public data storage and computation. It acts as an immutable public ledger, which provides strong cryptographic guarantees for data integrity. One definitive feature of the Ethereum platform is the ability to execute Turing-complete Smart Contracts. A Smart Contract is a program on the blockchain. We have been investigating the possibilities that the Ethereum blockchain infrastructure affords.
Below you can see some screencasts of some of our recent experiments with Ethereum:
The Open University in Milton Keynes is at the heart of a £40 million drive by the Government to help train more computer scientists. It is leading one of the five main themes – on university learners – being addressed at the new Institute of Coding.
Credit Business Weekly
Professor John Domingue, Director of the OU’s Knowledge Media Institute, discusses developments in technology which he sees impacting on education in the long and short term as part of our ‘future of education’ campaign.
Credit OU News
A talk at the University of Bonn Computer Science Colloquium. It covers how distributed ledgers (blockchains) combined with decentralised linked data technologies such as Solid can support the management of personal data avoiding the issues highlighted in the media around for example, Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
This event took place on the Wednesday 21st November 2018
The increasing centralization of the Web, he says, has “ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”
As highlighted by the Web’s inventor and by recent stories around the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica the over centralisation of, often personal, data generates significant problems for ordinary users. A related problem is that ‘data poor’ citizens can suffer through the denial of credit and more. Recently in the UK over 60 citizens were erroneously deported because of a lack of citizenship data.
At the OU we have been working on a semantic blockchain platform, LinkChain, which supports the decentralisation of personal data by through a combination of blockchain and Linked Data technologies. In the presentation I will give an overview of our platform and show some initial uses within the higher education space.
This event took place on the Tuesday 18th September 2018
25th April 2019, Olympia Grand, London
The World’s largest Blockchain Conference and Exhibition focuses on the future of enterprise technology. The event showcases two days of top-level content from leading brands, embracing and developing cutting edge blockchain technologies. Arriving at Olympia Grand London on April 25-26, the Blockchain event is co-located with the IoT Tech Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo so you can explore the convergence of these technologies in one place.
12th March 2019, London
World's First 'Scholars in Blockchain' Conference. International Recognition of your work by Blockchain Scientific Community.
30th October 2018, Hotel Thon Bristol Stephanie, Brussels
The Blockchain Europe Roundtable is a meeting and discussion platform for EU policy makers, EU agencies, member states and competent bodies, academics and industry leaders to reach an EU-wide consensus to support effective management of blockchain applications.
Our department is a research department, so we do not offer any blockchain courses at present. We have collated a list of some of the online courses currently out there. Please contact us if you know of other courses you feel we should be listing.
KMi Director (Project Champion)
Research & Innovation Software Manager
Lecturer in Law
Communications Project Manager
The OpenBlockchain team have a wealth of knowledge and experience and a testbed architecture to support investigations in the use of blockchain in almost any scenario imaginable. We provide Research Consultancy Services that are tailored to your individual needs and can support anything from improving your understanding of the potential of blockchain, to in depth technical discussion and testing of scenarios at prototype stage. We are keen to build research relationships with commercial and academic partners and to identify sources of research funding that we can leverage to fund longer term relationships. We have already submitted a number of bids to research grant funds in the UK, working with commercial partners in domains including energy management, professional development, teaching and recruitment.
Our Research Consultancy starts from as little as £1000 per day and we will always enter into initial conversations without any fee.
If you have an idea you would like to discuss, just use the contact form and tell us a little about it – we will be happy to start a conversation and work out how we can help you.