Article By Rebecca Campbell
A public blockchain platform is teaming up with King’s College London’s student-run society, KCL Blockchain, to launch an education initiative in a series of free four-week-long workshops.
Zilliqa, which is aiming to make decentralized blockchains the building block of future enterprises and applications, is offering its Blockchain A-Z program to all enrolled students at KCL, with each session lasting two hours. It’s open to all students of all backgrounds from engineering and humanities to law and business management.
Speaking about the initiative, Xinshu Dong, CEO and co-founder of Zilliqa, said that as the technology continues to mature, they have witnessed the arrival of use cases that have contributed to an “increasingly vibrant landscape,” and that it’s important that education is able to maintain pace with these changes.
As the name suggests, Blockchain A-Z opens the door for participants to acquaint themselves with the fundamentals of blockchain, and helps them launch a fully functional application on the blockchain by the end of the workshops, Dong said.
The first session, taking place on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, will focus on an introduction to the blockchain, smart contracts, Zilliqa and the workshop structure. Subsequent workshops will be on April 2, with an introduction to business use cases for blockchain; April 9, programming and launching a complete app on the blockchain; and April 16, which is a demo day.
Designed as a hands-on workshop, it will be capped to between 30-50 students and will be conducted by Saiba Kataruka at KCL who is the on-site Zilliqa developer marketing lead. Kataruka is also a former alumnus of the University of Oxford and is responsible for leading Zilliqa’s global blockchain education initiatives for students and experienced developers.
“For those starting from scratch, we hope that Blockchain A-Z will equip them with the necessary foundational knowledge to work in one of the most exciting areas of the tech industry today,” Kataruka added.
Zilliqa is also inviting students participating in Blockchain A-Z to apply for their Ecosystem Grant Programme with a grant pool of $5 million. Launched last June, the aim is to support and encourage individuals and teams worldwide to build tools and applications for the Zilliqa platform.
Setting Students Up
Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest from universities in blockchain technology. For Dong, this interest has materialized in the willingness to develop curricula across their faculties that addresses different aspects of the technology.
However, what universities often fail to take into consideration is the fact that for a technology that’s very much in its nascency, course content can quickly become outdated. Topics that were pertinent a year ago may no longer be relevant today, he said.
According to Dong, Blockchain A-Z is aiming to give students the opportunity to interact with an industry player while granting them practical exposure to the perennial problems that the industry is still working on solving today.
“By going beyond the theoretical knowledge found in existing course material, engaging in an open dialogue with an actual blockchain company gives students a more realistic understanding of the current industry landscape,” Dong added. “Being prepared for a career in blockchain not only entails having the necessary technical knowledge, it also involves having a strong grasp of the industry as a whole, whether that’s in terms of trends, key players, as well as more practical matters, such as project funding and employment opportunities.”
As part of Zilliqa’s participation in the Future of Blockchain, an ongoing competition open to some of the UK’s top-ranking universities, they have begun discussions with the Oxford Blockchain Society in order to continue the Blockchain A-Z series there.