What's ChainEd?

ChainEd is an intermediate course in CryptoEconomics for people who want to build on a basic knowledge of blockchain. We seek to teach students to critically engage with key ideas in cryptoeconomics.

We use crypto incentives to manage educational activities. An example, a student stakes money which they lose if they don't complete assignments. And tutors stake for the privilege to mark work which they then get paid for, but they lose their stake if they fail to mark on time.

Learn cryptoeconomics with our course

This course works through key topics in cryptoeconomics whilst actually using some of the blockchain techniques that it explores. So by doing the course and using its materials, you gain a practical understanding of the subject matter.

Here's an outline of the course in action, with buttons that let you actually take part and run the blockchain functions in question.

Note: None of the smart contracts used in this project are live - functions below are illustrative.

More about the course »

This course introduces students to a number of key themes in cryptoeconomics. It also presents interesting design patterns and theoretical speculation on related subjects.

It does not purport to be a comprehensive text, rather offers people a guided tour through thiss burgeoning area of theory and practice.

Familiarity and confidence with the topics on this course act as a strong basis for a student's continued activity with the topic.

How does the course work?

To begin, you create a publicly viewable profile stating why you want to take the course and what you hope to achieve. This helps prove identity and maintain qualification standards.

As a student, you have to stake money to ensure you complete course. You lose stake if you miss deadlines.

What does “stake” mean? Staking means putting a deposit forward to prove your commitment to something. I can stake 10Eth on a cryptoeconomics course for which I get back 1 Eth for completing each one of 10 modules. Staking 10Eth at the start signals my commitment to completing the course, as I will only get back my 10 Eth if I complete the course.span>

People can stake on each other’s behalf. For example, I could stake the cost of the course to give you the course as a gift.

To pass modules you need to submit answers to questions set by the system. You must also submit a new question based on the course material. Your question may be added to the course for future students to answer.

Your answers and course work are marked by a randomly selected group of tutors. Tutors are paid from the fees you pay to take the course.

Tutors sign up with a stake to commit to be available to work over the course period. This helps ensure your work will be marked.

Tutors can earn reputation as an NFT – NFT refers to a Non-Fungible Token. Typically, this kind of token cannot be divided into smaller pieces. They can also be programmed not to be exchanged at all and so act as a marker of some kind e.g. a qualification.

Module 1 - Blockchain paradigms

Keywords: Web 2.0 versus 3.0. Decentralization, ideology, value, currency, reputation, governance.

Reading 1: New Markets In The Arts #1: Property Rights

“Blockchain technology… As a movement, [has] been rife with seemingly disparate narratives: people adopting its cocktail of hashes & cryptography as a Rorschach test for their beliefs. It’s simultaneously the most anarchist, most libertarian, most egalitarian, most socialist, most freeing, most authoritarian technology.” – by Simon De La Rouviere

Reading 2: Why Progressive Decentralization is blockchain’s best hope

“Immutability is blockchain’s greatest strength and biggest barrier. Progressive decentralization could be the answer.” – by Arthur Camara

Module 2 - Cryptoeconomic theory

Keywords: Incentives, stake, stablecoins.

Reading 1: Filecoin's Cryptoeconomic Constructions

“Public blockchains rely on a combination of cryptography and incentive structures that make a system work without centralized control. Cryptography makes some harmful actions practically impossible, while game theory discourages others. Analysis that focuses on this set of mechanisms is called cryptoeconomics. A properly-structured cryptoeconomic system can determine whether a network becomes valuable and self-sustaining or struggles to get off the ground.”

Reading 2: Crypto’s Business Model is Familiar. What Isn’t is Who Benefits

"valuable crypto services now have the unique opportunity to redistribute that value directly to the users who generate it. This is the same basic principle of defensibility in traditional Web 2.0 platforms: attract users, build network effects, and increase defensibility through switching costs." – by Jesse Walden