A new group is offering students a front-seat view of an emerging technology that is changing the way businesses track ownership and transactions electronically in real time.
Blockchain is a public, chronological, decentralized digital ledger. Put simply, the blocks are pieces of information, and the chain is the public databases where there information is stored. Verifying transactions via blockchain is faster and more secure than other methods currently available. Cryptocurrency Bitcoin and distribution platform Ethereum are two well-known users of blockchain.
Formed in April 2018, Oregon Blockchain is a student-run initiative with a goal of campuswide reach for education and innovation in the blockchain space. The group hopes to recruit students from across different disciplines to think about how blockchain will impact business and have a greater understanding of blockchain generally.
In June, the University of Oregon announced it is one of 17 universities worldwide in the University Blockchain Research Initiative—a multiyear, multimillion-dollar program founded by Ripple to support academic research, technical development, and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments. Oregon Blockchain benefits from this gift through conference and curriculum rollout support.
Oregon Blockchain believes blockchain’s impact will be felt in six core areas: supply chain; financial markets; government; luxury assets, including sculptures, real estate, and collectible cars; advertising and journalism; and healthcare.
They also say the Pacific Northwest “will be a central hub for this technological revolution.”
Oregon Blockchain has been busy, completing a summer academy with Democracy Earth Foundation and piloting an advisory project with Blockibles. Fall term activities included the University of Washington Blockchain Expo, the Global Blockchain Summit, and Democracy Earth Beta Launch.
Most recently, it hosted Outside the Block on November 17 at the Benson Hotel with the goal of highlighting the growing blockchain ecosystem in Oregon and the surrounding region while creating a tangible bridge to connect students to global leaders in the community. There were also speakers from Microsoft, GE Healthcare, Public Market, ODEM, and more—as well as panels, booths, and networking opportunities.
Adam Faris, a current business student who serves on the Oregon Blockchain leadership team, described the event as a massive success.
“There was a diverse audience of students, industry professionals, and enthusiasts—all connecting and engaging in meaningful discussion surrounding the space,” he said. “The Oregon Blockchain leadership team of Connor Bussey, Ian Oakerson, Vivek Sharma, Juliyen Davis, Chase Dun, and myself, all learned an immense amount from hosting this event and received great constructive feedback from attendees so that we can improve for next year. Stay tuned!”
Next up for Oregon Blockchain is a curated career fair, more collaboration with Pacific Northwest universities, and a curriculum roll-out.
—AnneMarie Knepper-Sjoblom ’05, Lundquist College Communications