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 other experiments with Ethereum:
This video was filmed in July 2019 as part of The Open University Business and Law Festival, during The Open University's 50th Anniversary celebrations. #OU50 Following the announcement from Facebook that they will launch their own cryptocurrency (Libra) in 2020 interest in blockchains and claims about their potential continue to grow. Karen Foley interviews John Domingue and Dr Robert Herian, who will very briefly explain what this technology is and then explore its implications for the legal arena. Their shared viewpoint is based on experiences in implementing and deploying blockchains in a variety of contexts and working with and advising a wide variety of players including startups and large companies and the European Commission.
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
How does blockchain work and has its usefulness been over or under estimated? John Domingue and Sajida Zouarhi show how blockchain is being implemented in a real-world setting. Blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, has an almost unlimited number of applications beyond finance. From digital identities to kidney transplants, blockchain technology solves the problem of intermediary trust between parties without a central authority.
This event took place on the Monday 24th September 2018
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
11th October 2022, University of Patras, Greece
Alexander Mikroyannidis gave a keynote talk at the 7th panhellenic scientific conference “Integration and Use of ICT in Education”, organised by the University of Patras in Greece. The event was very well attended by researchers and educators from higher and secondary education. Participants exchanged best practices on the effective use of ICT in different stages of the teaching and learning process. Alexander’s keynote talk was entitled: “The Role of Web 3.0 and Blockchain in the Future of Education”. In his talk, Alexander discussed the potential impact that emerging decentralisation technologies, such as Web 3.0 and Blockchain, can have on the future of education. In particular, Alexander presented the pilot that he has led in the context of the European project QualiChain. Within this pilot, Alexander has investigated the use of decentralisation technologies towards providing lifelong learners with transparent and immutable educational accreditation. A key output of this pilot is the Badged Open Course (BOC): “Decentralising Education Using Blockchain Technology”, which introduces Blockchain technology and its potential for decentralising and transforming education. The course is available on the Open University’s OpenLearn Create platform and is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0, which allows the reuse and adaptation of the course materials for non-commercial purposes. Upon completion of the course, learners earn a free statement of participation.
6th October 2022, Amsterdam
John Domingue attended the EDUtech_EUROPE 2022 conference. The event brought together more than 3000 educators, 250 speakers and 200 edtech providers from across Europe to present stories, showcase innovation and inspire educators across the region. There were four event themes: T1: Schools Leaders and Hybrid Learning T2: Schools IT & Digital Leaders and Digital Pedagogy T3: Higher Education Leaders - Leaders and People T4: Higher Education IT & Digital Leaders and Next Gen Learning. John Domingue took part in the T4 Panel with Pierre Boulet, Vice President of Digital Transformation at University of Lille entitled: Digital Credentialing: the 21st-century approach to documenting learning. It was moderated by Rajarshi Chakraborty, MD of Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics. Their discussion focused on: Giving students control over secure, validated and machine-readable credentials An expendable solution to learning documentation Articulating your vision and designing pilots for innovative blockchain and NFTs. Browse the conference hashtag #EdutechEurope to learn more about the event.
9th February 2019, Tokyo, Japan
METI has been holding discussions on the applicability of the technologies to the domains of academic degrees, courses and career certifications as well as management of research data, taking advantage of its project titled “FY2018 Industrial Technology Survey”(Research for Applicability of Blockchain Technologies to Universities and Research Institutes to Promote Mobility of Domestic and Overseas Human Resources and Secure Reliability of Research Results as well as Research for Winning of Standards therefor). In light of the discussion results, METI will organize a Blockchain Hackathon, aiming to further promote social implementation of the technologies.
We have collated a list of online courses from external providers. You will need to contact those providers for more information on their courses if you require it.
Please note: as we are a research department we do not offer any blockchain courses ourselves.
Professor of Computer Science (Project Champion)
Research & Innovation Software Manager
Research Software Engineer
Lecturer in Law
PhD Research Student
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.