The period starting in December 2018 until now, October 2019; the first year of our DLT4All project, funded by the European Commission, coordinated by the University of Nicosia (UNIC) along with the capable consortium Gnomon, South-East European Research Centre (SEERC), University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), INSOMNIA Consulting, Università degli Studi di Torino (UNITO), and Sviluppo Como – ComoNExT, has been quite exciting. DLT4All aims to address the lack of understanding regarding Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) and their applications among European entrepreneurs and SMEs, students, investors and incubator managers. Here is a look at what the project achieved in the first year of its implementation.
3rd – 4th December 2018 – DLT4All Kick-off Meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus
The first activity of the newly formed, newly funded consortium was to organize a kick-off meeting in Nicosia in the premises of the project coordinator UNIC on 3rd and 4th December 2018. During the meeting, the roadmap of the implementation of the DLT4All project, namely the creation of an 8-module online and off-line course on blockchain education aimed at the target audience was defined, different committees formed within the consortium and everyone’s roles and responsibilities further defined. This meeting also helped all partners get acquainted with each other and form relationships, which is a crucial element of any successful collaboration.
Beginning of 2019 – Defining the audience
After the meeting in Nicosia and into the new year, the DLT4All consortium worked on the important task of stakeholder mapping, in order to define the audience they wanted to address and appropriately target them using different communication channels. In the meantime, a dissemination strategy was identified, the project website was finalized and the project social media accounts were made operational. All these activities were in anticipation of the first step towards building the 8-module blockchain and DLT curriculum: DLT4All Lab Events.
DLT4All Lab Events
The first step in the DLT4All curriculum development was the Lab Events, which took place between May and July 2019 at the home cities of each of the project partners. Each partner held a lab event focused on the specific thematic area of blockchain and DLT education that had been assigned to them. The events also featured a general feedback session on the project as a whole, including a questionnaire about the consortium’s approach to blockchain and DLT education as a whole. By asking the same questions to different audiences in different countries, the aim was to get diverse perspectives and feedback. These sessions have been immensely useful and will be the guiding hand of the DLT4All project in our endeavour to further define and flesh out the course curriculum.
Now let’s take a look at all the lab events in different countries:
15th May, Brussels (BE) – Lab Event on Distributed Organisations, EBAN
The first DLT4All lab event was organized by EBAN in Brussels on the thematic are of “Distributed Organisations”. The special guest speaker was Mr. Edward Vali, General Partner at Accelerate Venture Partners, an investment and advisory arm of a private family office with a primary focus on transformative technologies, Blockchain applications, and tokenized business models. During the event, there was an interactive feedback session on Decentralized Autonomous Organisations learning module plans, which allowed the participants to influence what will be included and discussed in future material. Mr. Vali also held sessions on:
- How universities can teach about DLT technologies and Blockchain
- How investors (and start-ups) can use these concepts to benefit investments (and innovations).
A detailed post-event press release about the conclusions from the discussions held during the event can be found here.
The results of this event were made into a thematic priority report to be used as a baseline for the curriculum development of Module 8 – Distributed Organisations.
29th May, Lamazzo (IT) – Lab Event on Peer-to-peer database design, ComoNExT
ComoNExT – Innovation Hub hosted a round table discussion at its headquarters (via Cavour 2, Lomazzo CO) on Wednesday 29th May to answer the questions of what blockchain is and how it can be a facilitating factor for the digital transformation of businesses. The day-long event was moderated by Maurizio Melis, a scientific journalist and the host of the “Smart City” program on Radio24.
The day included a panel Discussion between industry experts on how to use blockchain technology and for which processes and an interactive session with participants moderated by DesktopRemoto to discuss and debunk the myths related to Blockchain and the management of peer-to-peer databases as well as a lot of opportunities to ask questions and network.
A newspaper article (in Italian) talking about the event can be found here.
The results of this event were made into a thematic priority report to be used as a baseline for the curriculum development of Module 1 – Peer-to-Peer database design.
3rd June, Santiago de Compostela (ES) – Lab event on Consensus Mechanisms, USC
The lab event on Consensus Mechanisms was held on 3rd June 2019 at the Campus Vida of the University of Santiago de Compostela. The discussion was centred around the creation of case studies regarding Consensus Mechanisms in relation to blockchain and DLT technologies: any of the different consensus mechanisms that have been implemented in practice or proposed in theory fall within the two broad categories of Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS) mechanisms. The design of these mechanisms affects the trade-off between the incentives needed to maintain a decentralized blockchain and the security against malicious attacks that can compromise the blockchain’s integrity.
The event asked for contributions from the participants on the topic during interactive workshop sessions and included a part on the global vision of the DLT4All project.
You can find the conclusions from the event here (in Galician).
The results of this event were made into a thematic priority report to be used as a baseline for the curriculum development of Module 3 – Consensus Mechanisms.
4th June, Nicosia (CY) – Lab event on Blockchain Based Decentralised Applications, UNIC
Institute For the Future – University of Nicosia hosted a DLT4All lab event on Blockchain based Decentralized Applications on its campus in Nicosia on 4th June 2019. The event included a session on Blockchain fundamentals meant to serve as an introduction to the uninitiated, followed by more in-depth discussions on decentralized applications (dApps), what they are, their current uses and level of development. The discussion included examples of real-life cases of dApps use and a discussion on current challenges.
During the day-long event, the participants were able to learn more about the DLT4All project, connect with local Blockchain community, develop an in-depth understanding of the life-cycle of developing dApps, understand the adoption of the technology and have an open discussion on how dApps can transform their needs.
The results of this event were made into a thematic priority report to be used as a baseline for the curriculum development of Module 7 – Blockchain based Decentralized Applications.
12th June, Thessaloniki (GR) – Lab event on Smart Contracts and Property & Privacy Rights, SEERC and Gnomon
On June 12th SEERC and Gnomon co-organized the DLT4All Thessaloniki Lab covering two of the project’s thematic priorities: Right to Privacy/Property on Blockchain and Smart Contracts. More than 40 people attended the event, representing the local academic, startup/investor, incubators and professional communities.
The event started with a brief presentation of DLT4All by SEERC and an overview of Distributed Ledger Technologies and relevant research and innovation initiatives by the Information Technologies Institute of Thessaloniki. Next, the relationship between Blockchain and Right to Privacy/Property was presented by SEERC with an emphasis on recent GDPR legislation, while Gnomon presented the advent and potential capabilities of Smart Contracts. The final session was a panel discussion with the active involvement of the audience, representing the academic, business, legal and start-up worlds, in which the discussants debated the relationship of Blockchain and society, emphasizing legal, technological, political and environmental aspects.
The results of this event were made into two separate thematic priority reports to be used as a baseline for the curriculum development: Module 5 – Smart Contracts & Module 6 – Property & Privacy Rights.
17th June, Turin (IT) – Lab event on Digital Signatures, UNITO
DLT4All partner University of Torino held the lab event on the thematic priority of Digital Signatures on 17th June on its campus in Torino. The day included a general introduction to the DLT4All project and the feedback session on its methods and priorities, followed by an introductory discussion on the topic of Digital Signatures. Afterwards, the participants were invited to take part in an interactive session on the topic to ask their questions, identify knowledge gaps and how the teaching of the topic could be shaped.
The results of this event were made into a thematic priority report to be used as a baseline for the curriculum development of Module 4 – Digital Signatures. University of Torino is also the leader of the associated work package and will bring together all the thematic priority report to shape the methodology and content of the curriculum development efforts.
July 30, 2019, Valencia (ES) – Lab event on Encryption Techniques, INSOMNIA
July 30, 2019 Insomnia Consulting organized the first laboratory event (Lab) on Blockchain technologies, held within the framework of the European project DLT4ALL, of which Insomnia is a partner.
Insomnia presented the project itself and the tasks in which Insomnia is directly involved. Entrepreneurs, SMEs and students have participated in the LAB and helped identify in a participatory manner the needs and uncertainties in a sector as little known powerful as Blockchain technologies, and encryption techniques in particular. Firstly introduced the Blockchain Technologies, DLT and its applications were introduced. Afterwards, the discussion move to different encryption techniques and their uses and applications. The lab was organized in a way that all participants could contributed regardless of their level of expertise.
The results of this event were made into a thematic priority report to be used as a baseline for the curriculum development of Module 2 – Encryption Techniques.
June 2019 – Consortium Meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece
The DLT4All consortium partners held the second technical meeting of the project on 20th and 21st June in sunny Thessaloniki. Hosted by SEERC in their building in downtown Thessaloniki, the partners came together to discuss the work done so far to develop the learning elaboration on the 8th thematic priorities of the project. Curriculum ideas and audience feedback from the lab events that took place in the country of each partner was discussed. At the end of the two days, the partners agreed to keep on developing their ideas in order to build a curriculum, and harmonize the methodology over the course of a 3-day workshop to be held in Como in December.
Using the feedback gathered from the lab events and the methodology that will be devised by the partners, DLT4All will deliver a learning platform with 8 dedicated modules and supporting case studies, online/offline training programme, evaluation, MOOC-style training, etc. Open to all, this agile platform will equip European students, entrepreneurs, investors and incubator managers with the necessary skills and knowledge they may be lacking.
Call for External Evaluators – July/August
In keeping with the requirements of the project and in order to ensure fair evaluation and accountability, Gnomon launched on 26th July a Call for Tenders to find an external evaluator for the project. The call was open until 4th August. Gnomon conducted a selection process based on evaluation criteria shared with the consortium. Innovatia Systems was selected to do the evaluation.
Innovatia Systems is a consultancy established in 2011, based in Thessaloniki, Greece. Having a strong background in innovation theory, strategic management and data analytics, Innovatia Systems has been supporting clients in public administration and higher education to elaborate, implement and evaluate evidence-based policies or strategies for knowledge-led development, institutional development and capacity building. Moreover, Innovatia Systems has been working closely with Greek Universities and Public Research Organizations in the field of commercialization of their research outputs through the creation of more than 10 spin-off companies and through the elaboration of feasibility studies for incubators, competence centres, and research infrastructures. Since 2014, Innovatia Systems has also been working with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre to support Lagging Regions in Europe in fine-tuning their S3s and build capacity on smart specialization in the fields of Governance, Human Resources for STI, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Innovatia Systems have started preparing the evaluation blueprint, and will be responsible for the independent, external evaluation of the DLT4All project.
The first year of the project may be coming to a close, but things are just heating up! Following the creation of the Curriculum Development report based on our work and the feedback received from lab event participants, the consortium will come together in Como in December 2019 to have a 3-day workshop in order to develop the methodology to be used for the learning development efforts and the content of the online and offline blockchain course. We will also, of course, plan for the new year 2020, which will include the Academy events to further our goal of developing an all-encompassing curriculum, other project meetings and many exciting activities.
In short, STAY TUNED!
DLT4All project consortium