Abstract Cubes


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

Proactive job hunting and course finding through badges and smart contracts
Proactive job hunting and course finding through badges and smart contracts

IoT and RDF

Introduction to our RDF experiments
Introduction to our RDF experiments

Security and Legal

Multi-sig Payment Demo
Multi-sig Payment Demo
View all experiments

Publications

  • Mikroyannidis, A., Domingue, J., Bachler, M. and Quick, K. (2018) Smart Blockchain Badges for Data Science Education IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), San Jose, California, USA, IEEE Education Society Publications
  • Mikroyannidis, A., Domingue, J., Bachler, M. and Quick, K. (2018) A Learner-Centred Approach for Lifelong Learning Powered by the Blockchain EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology, Amsterdam, Netherlands, pp. 1403-1408, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
  • Sharples, M. and Domingue, J. (2018) Blockchain en Educacion: Cadenas Rompiendo Moldes, in eds. Bartolomé, A. and Moral-Ferrer, J. M., Colección Transmedia XXI. Barcelona: Laboratori de Mitjans Interactius
  • Jan, Z., Third, A., Ibanez, L., Bachler, M., Simperl, E. and Domingue, J. (2018) ScienceMiles: Digital Currency for Researchers Workshop: 3rd International Workshop on Linked Data and Distributed Ledgers at The Web Conference, Lyon, France, International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee, kmi Member Submission
View all publication

Media

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


Could blockchain technology improve our elections?

Lecturer in Law, Dr Robert Herian, active in the Citizenship and Governance Strategic Research Area at the OU.

Credit Dr Robert Herian, The Open University


View all related media

Talks

Webinar Slidewiki's Open Education Trials & Semantic Blockchain

In this webinar, Alexander Mikroyannidis and Allan Third present the applications of Blockchain in education and the importance of the Semantic Blockchain. They also present their work in the H2020 SlideWiki project, which supports the collaborative authoring of open courseware.

This event took place on the Tuesday 14th August 2018


Decentralised Semantic Web @ International Semantic Web Research Summer School 2018

This in depth tutorial, presented at the 2018 International Semantic Web Research Summer School (ISWS), looks at the possibilities for a decentralised semantic web focusing primarily on the relationship between blockchains and linked data. The first part of the talk is an extensive explanation of what blockchains are and how they are used. This is followed by links to ongoing decentralised linked data research including Tim Berners-Lee's SOLID and Ruben Verborgh's Linked Data Fragments.

This event took place on the Tuesday 17th July 2018


View all talks

Events

Blockchain Europe Roundtable Logo

Blockchain Europe Roundtable

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.

Blockchain: hope or hype? Logo

Blockchain: hope or hype?

24th September 2018, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS

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. But how does the blockchain work? And has its usefulness been overstated? Join John Domingue and Sajida Zouarhi...

Tommy Flowers Institute Conference on

Tommy Flowers Institute Conference on "Repurposed Innovtion"

18th September 2018, Adastral Park, Ipswich, IP5 3RE

We will be looking at how ideas from different industry sectors can be unexpectedly applicable in the ICT sector. The agenda will mix up industry and academic experts, drawing upon unexpected technologies.

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)

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.
Zeeshan Jan Photo

Zeeshan Jan
PhD Research Student

Michelle Bachler Photo

Michelle Bachler
Project Officer

Robert Herian Photo

Robert Herian
Lecturer in Law

Alexander Mikroyannidis Photo

Alexander Mikroyannidis
Research Associate

Umar Mir Photo

Umar Mir
Research Associate

    Tabbasum Naz Photo

    Tabbasum Naz
    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
      Multi-sig Payment Demo
      Multi-sig Payment Demo
      Latest Media

      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.

      OU News

      Recent Talk

      Webinar Slidewiki's Open Education Trials & Semantic Blockchain

      In this webinar, Alexander Mikroyannidis and Allan Third present the applications of Blockchain in education and the importance of the Semantic Blockchain. They also present their work in the H2020 SlideWiki project, which supports the collaborative authoring of open courseware.

      This event took place on the Tuesday 14th August 2018

      Upcoming Event
      Blockchain Europe Roundtable Logo

      Blockchain Europe Roundtable

      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.

      Twitter