UC Berkeley has launched its new Blockchain Lab, a space for students to discover and work with real-world blockchain technologies and use cases. Co-leading this lab is Steve Chen, creator of EchoLink, a qualifications-authentication Blockchain project.Whiles working with a mobile technology firm in NYSE as an engineering manager, Chen saw an opportunity in building value and efficiency by using the blockchain technology to record and store credentials of engineering graduates, giving birth to EchoLink. As he co-leads Berkeley’s Blockchain Lab, the founder is expected to use his entrepreneurship and enterprise technology experience to lead students into the future of Blockchain.
The Berkeley Blockchain Lab has ambitions to match
At the helm of affairs at Berkeley’s Blockchain Lab is Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET). The SCET, to provide a better blockchain environment, will give a unit to students of UC Berkeley to help them use EchoLink’s project to gain technology and entrepreneurship experience and credentials.
Since its inception, SCET has provided strong foundations for Berkeley to thrive in the entrepreneurship ecosystem by instituting projects such as the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership, the Global Venture Lab, SkyDeck, and the Engineering Leadership Professional Program among others.
Berkeley’s Blockchain Lab has big ambitions to achieve. Populating its first project ecosystem will involve the development of Decentralized Applications (DAPPs) by leveraging blockchain technology and Ethereum. At the core of this will be:
- Off-Chain Data Inputs
- Distributed Storage and
- Web-Based Blockchain Query Systems.
Secondary to these are the building and deployment of Dapps capable of processing large amounts of data, as well as developing credential-based applications such as decentralized degree certificates and reducing the cost of running Dapps.
So does EchoLink
Though the partnership offers UC Berkeley’s students a blockchain playing field, EchoLink has equal ambitions to achieve. EchoLink seeks to create a parameter that can measure the quality of education across the globe and with consistency.
How? The startup is developing a utility token, the EKO, which will serve as a medium of exchange on EchoLink. The token, among other functions, will be used to pay for fees and transaction costs among participants and serve as a standard token in the international educational ecosystem. Data providers of EchoLink, who are made up of students and schools from different origins (private, public, and alliance blockchains), will also get EKO as a reward.
UC Berkeley’s Blockchain Journey
“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road”
UC Berkeley wants to be controllers of the steamroller and it’s an institution that knows how to play the game. It first came up with the “DeCal”, a 2-credit Blockchain course, which gained strong backing from the 567 ‘Blockchain at Berkeley Student’ community. It is a blockchain community with Slack Channels, physical meetups, and a closed Facebook group where everything about blockchain is discussed and developed. In March 2016, Berkeley launched a competition titled; The Blockchain Technology Collider’ which saw students from finance, engineering, mathematics, and economics all participating to win the $5,000 prize that was kept on the competition. And it was a success.
On a cultural note, Berkeley is a strong educational institution that will surely bring innovation in this field. With its strong reputation in computer science and over 20 Nobel Memorial Prize Laureates in Economics, there’s no doubt its students will occupy the blockchain development and economic sector in future.
Know of any other institution that is pushing the blockchain technology to new heights? We’ll like to know more.
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