Driving Blockchain Technology: Cardano Foundation’s Activities Part 8

15 February 2024 • Activities & Updates
Renagh Mooney
Global Communications Director

Empowering communities through blockchain education

A comprehensive understanding of blockchain empowers individuals, developers, and organizations to leverage the technology’s distinct, decentralized capabilities. This awareness not only facilitates engagement with the broader ecosystem but also encourages active participation in its development. Consequently, the Cardano Foundation consistently advocates for and engages in educational endeavors, aiming to demystify blockchain and decentralization concepts for a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

During last year, the Foundation continued to engage with post-secondary institutions and generated community discussions through efforts like the “Let’s Talk Cardano” webinar series. The Cardano Academy also stands as a notable example of furthering an understanding of blockchain technology.

Delivering blockchain education

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Earlier in 2023, the Foundation launched the Alpha Program of the Cardano Academy, inviting select users to access and trial the new platform. Following this initial soft launch, the Foundation proceeded with the full-service launch in December 2023. The Foundation is pleased to announce that for the Cardano Blockchain Certified Associate (CBCA) course, users will soon be able to obtain the Associate Certification—with exam bookings available in the first half of 2024.

We also made Cardano Academy content available to Petrobras, the government-owned energy giant in Brazil. Through this partnership, the Foundation will spearhead educational workshops for Petrobras employees, expanding understanding and expediting the adoption of blockchain technology. During the sessions, participants will examine the vast potential of blockchain, explore its various use cases and applications, and complete interactive quizzes covering related topics. The Cardano Foundation hosted two workshops in the Metaverse to mark the program's initiation, one of which delved into global and Brazilian regulatory considerations.

Additionally, the Foundation and Cardano Academy are providing Petrobras with CBCA content for employee training initiatives. Upon successful completion of the blockchain course, participants will receive a certificate. Additionally, the first 500 Petrobras attendees of the Cardano Academy will collect a unique NFT. This NFT, developed in collaboration with the Petrobras Education Board, will dynamically evolve, reflecting the progress of participants in their training.

Bringing blockchain education and research

Engaging in academic pursuits and research within the realm of blockchain proves crucial for advancing comprehension of its underlying principles, cryptographic mechanisms, and distributed consensus protocols. This academic exploration not only fosters a nuanced understanding of blockchain technology but also facilitates the development of sophisticated solutions to address its inherent challenges. As such, the Foundation engages in rigorous academic inquiry, as well as sponsoring and contributing to blockchain research.

Notably, Manvir Schneider (Research Scientist at the Foundation) presented the paper “MACS: A Multi-Asset Coin Selection Algorithm for UTXO-based Blockchains" at the 6th IEEE International Conference on Blockchain 2023. Additionally, Schneider, along with Mel McCann (Vice President of Engineering) and Reza Ramezan (Research and Education Lead), authored a paper titled “A Survey on Coin Selection Algorithms in UTXO-based Blockchains,” which is under review at a peer-reviewed journal.

The Foundation also nurtures relationships with post-secondary institutions through in-person and virtual engagements as well as sponsorships. For example, over three weeks, the University of Zurich's (UZH) “Deep Dive Into Blockchain” Summer School program hosted over 40 esteemed academic and industry professionals from around the globe, delivering sessions both online and on-campus. These sessions focused on comprehensive blockchain education, from its fundamental workings to future applications of decentralized technology.

The Cardano Foundation sponsored 12 students for this program while also introducing Cardano to 70 students — 40 in person and 30 virtually. To commence the Foundation’s involvement, Alexandre Maaza (Sustainability Lead) first provided an introduction to Cardano and the Cardano Foundation’s work. Thomas Mayfield (Team Lead of Decentralized Trust and Identity Solutions) then went on to discuss several fundamental properties of blockchain protocols such as block data structure, transaction models, staking and rewards, real-world use cases, and getting started as a developer on Cardano. To conclude, Mateusz Czeladka (Senior Java Developer) presented on smart contract development with Aiken using the Yaci DevKit. With Czeladka’s assistance and a previous showcase, students completed tutorial exercises.

In another session, Dr. Claudio Tessone of UZH noted how the Cardano Foundation contributed to bringing students from all over the world to the Summer School. CEO Frederik Gregaard then took the stage to deliver a keynote that highlighted the uniqueness of the Summer School program and its ability to bring non-technical people and experts together. Ultimately, he noted, Cardano is about bringing people together; not just that, but the ethos of blockchain actually envisions decentralization in a scenario where people must come before code.

Following Gregaard's session, both NMKR and MuesliSwap teams presented, culminating in thought-provoking discussions about the possibilities and advantages of blockchain, including in the context of finance and the arts. Expanding our commitment to comprehensive blockchain education, Ramezan further enhanced our academic footprint by delivering a half-day session on Cardano's technology during the Blockchain Summer School program hosted by the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.

Education through engagement

In the second half of 2023, the Foundation continued its “Let’s Talk Cardano” series, exploring topics in a format that fosters discussion on topics important to Cardano users and others in the blockchain ecosystem. Additionally, these sessions allow the Foundation to share useful information with those not yet involved in the industry, providing participants with an opportunity to connect with solutions providers.

One such webinar reflected on Switzerland for UNHCR’s year-long collaboration with the Cardano community. The session, led by Switzerland for UNHCR’s Alvaro Cosi (Head of Communications & Innovation) and Ruxanda Cornescu (Communications Associate), examined the integration of blockchain and Web 3.0 technologies in humanitarian initiatives, highlighting Web 3.0 challenges and aspirations.

The next session showcased Zero Citizen's efforts in combining technology with environmental sustainability. Led by project CEO Ben Bonner and CTO Thomas Langlois, the webinar delved into the use of blockchain for sustainable solutions, including tokenized carbon credits and fractionalizing renewable energy assets, reflecting Zero Citizen's role in ClimateTech.

For the following webinar, Peter Van Garderen of Orcfax Ltd. discussed the crucial role of oracles in DeFi. The session combined theoretical insights and practical demonstrations on integrating the Orcfax oracle data with Cardano DApps, highlighting the role of decentralized oracles in the DeFi ecosystem.

The last “Let's Talk Cardano” session of 2023 examined the inner workings of Genius Yield's DEX, a decentralized exchange built for the Cardano ecosystem. In this webinar, Genius Yield’s Marvin Bertin and Dr. Lars Brünjes discussed the DEX's functionalities, including a live trade demo and insights into Smart Order Routers, emphasizing its role in decentralized trading and the future of blockchain finance.

In hosting sessions like the “Let’s Talk Cardano” series, the Foundation continues to advance blockchain awareness for a diverse range of stakeholders. Additionally, platforms like Cardano Academy, partnerships with the likes of Petrobras, and a post-secondary presence reinforce our focus on empowering individuals and organizations through comprehensive blockchain education. As we work to further emphasize exploration, collaboration, and community involvement, the Foundation encourages all community members to participate in our educational efforts—furthering Cardano as a resilient public infrastructure.