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YouTube Premiere: Blockchains, Fact and Fiction – a legal perspective

Monday, September 2, 2019 – 13:00 to 13:45

Join us for a YouTube Premiere at 1pm on Monday 2 September, when we will premiere our specially recorded video featuring academics from The Open University discussing the answers to these questions.


Video Jump Points:

What are Blockchains?

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
Abstract Cubes

Experiments with the Ethereum Blockchain

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:

Education

PeerMiles – recognising and incentivising peer-reviewers
PeerMiles – recognising and incentivising peer-reviewers

IoT and RDF

Introduction to our RDF experiments
Introduction to our RDF experiments

Publications

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Media

Open University in £40m campaign to create more computer scientists

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


John Domingue – The Future of Education

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


View all related media

Talks

Blockchain: Hope or Hype? - John Domingue & Sajida Zouarhi

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


Towards the decentralisation of personal data through blockchains and linked data

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


View all talks

Events

Blockchain Hackathon 2019 Logo

Blockchain Hackathon 2019

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.

Blockchain Expo Global 2019 Logo

Blockchain Expo Global 2019

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.

View all events

Courses

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.

View all courses

Team

John Domingue
KMi Director (Project Champion)

John Domingue Photo

I’m KMi’s Director and I’m interested in how blockchains can be used within higher education and corporate training and also the relationship between semantics, big data and blockchains. Within the learning area I see a number of scenarios where radical improvements may occur including: embedding micro certification within blockchains; the development of educational currencies to support the crowdsourced accreditation of ‘soft skills’ such as collaboration, communication and leadership by peers; and new disruptive models for teaching and learning where intermediary layers are removed resulting in dramatically reduced costs and increased openness. Interoperability between blockchains and the automation of a number of tasks associated with the development of blockchain applications (DApps) through semantic technologies is a second focus.
Michelle Bachler Photo

Michelle Bachler
Research & Innovation Software Manager

Niaz Chowdhury Photo

Niaz Chowdhury
Research Associate

Robert Herian Photo

Robert Herian
Lecturer in Law

Pasquale Iero Photo

Pasquale Iero
Research Assistant

    Zeeshan Jan Photo

    Zeeshan Jan
    PhD Research Student

    Alexander Mikroyannidis Photo

    Alexander Mikroyannidis
    Research Associate

    View full team

    Consultancy

    How can we help you?

    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.

    Pricing

    Our Research Consultancy starts from as little as £1000 per day and we will always enter into initial conversations without any fee.

    Contact Us

    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.

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    Latest Experiment
    PeerMiles – recognising and incentivising peer-reviewers
    PeerMiles – recognising and incentivising peer-reviewers
    Latest Media

    Open University in £40m campaign to create more computer scientists

    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.

    Business Weekly

    Recent Talk

    Blockchain: Hope or Hype? - John Domingue & Sajida Zouarhi

    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

    Upcoming Event
    Blockchain Hackathon 2019 Logo

    Blockchain Hackathon 2019

    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.

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